"We are creating the dance world of the future by blurring the lines"Eine Woche lang proben das Bundesjugendballett (BJB) und DanceWorks Chicago (DWC) gemeinsam am LICHTHOF und präsentieren anschließend das Ergebnis: Outside of the Box - A Dance Journey. Mit dem LICHTHOF sprechen Tänzerinnen und Tänzer beider Kompanien über kollaborative Energien, die Choreografien in Outside of the Box und stilistische Unterschiede und Gemeinsamkeiten. Im Interview: Sarah Stockman, Kody Jauron, Cole Vernon, Matt Wenckowski, Imani English und Liv Schaffer von Danceworks Chicago und Pascal Schmidt, Hélias Tur-Dorvault, Giorgia Giani und Nicolas Gläsmann vom Bundesjugendballett. Die Fragen stellte Rachelle Pouplier.
LICHTHOF | Has this been DanceWorks Chicago's first trip to Germany?
Sarah (DWC) | This is my third trip to Germany with Danceworks. We flew in last week, did performances in Cottbus and Erfurt and then came to Hamburg.
Cole (DWC) | This is the highlight of the season for us.
Kody (DWC) | I feel like being overseas is like a different appreciation of art in general, of being able to share what we have with a different audience. Especially, the exchange with the Bundesjugendballett is completely different from what we normally do. It’s a unique challenge but anything that takes you out of your comfort zone will only boost creativity.
LICHTHOF | What can we expect from “Outside of the Box”?
Pascal (BJB) | The basic concept of “Outside of the Box” is that the pieces, which were choreographed by us, will be danced by Danceworks. And the BJB will be dancing the choreography from DWC’s repertoire. At the same time there is no pressure. It will turn into whatever organically develops.
Hélias (BJB) | The whole project has a long story behind it. Some of the pieces that are part of “Outside of the box” were our first creations for the BJB from last year. We turned them into a long evening piece and carried this piece around with us. It evolved with us. Now we are transforming it in our collaboration with DWC; to see how we can develop the choreography together.
Matt (DWC) | For me it’s like the title says: it's very outside the box. Two different energies are coming together to create something new.
Giorgia (BJB) | There will be many very strong and touching pieces. There are some that are very deep like the Beethoven and the Schostakowitsch. They will be worth seeing.
LICHTHOF | Is there a message you would like to convey with “Outside of the box”?
Sarah (DWC) | It is about the coming together of so many different people from around the world. Because even though the dancers from the BJB live here, they aren’t from Hamburg. So each piece shares something different with the audience.
Hélias (BJB) | Yes, the diversity of individuals is reflected in the diversity of the pieces and styles.
LICHTHOF | How has working together been so far?
Liv (DWC) | Great, it was so much fun. We saw new dynamics and movement qualities. It felt very refreshing and exciting to be doing a piece that is dancer-generated and to be collaborating on a peer-to-peer level.
Imani (DWC) | I had no expectations of what this project would turn into. We were entering with a clean slate. BJB were really articulate in teaching their work and said “Let’s just do this”. They received us with very open arms and tried to make their choreographies fit on us.
What would you say are the differences between the two groups, i.e. in style and technique?
Giorgia (BJB) | DWC are more modern than us but otherwise we’re not so different actually.
Hélias (BJB) | I think the main difference is that the BJB focuses strongly on the classical ballet techniques since we work with people like John Neumeier and use very classical pieces in our repertoire.
Liv (DWC) | The BJB’s ballet is out of this world. I feel like a professional artist but ballet is a thing I kind of do amidst all the other styles. It was very inspiring to see this in class.
LICHTHOF | And what unifies them?
Imani (DWC) | I feel like the energy is very similar to DanceWorks. It is all about community.
Nicolas (BJB) | I think what’s important about young people coming together is that it shouldn’t always be about an experienced person teaching the younger ones. We can learn a lot from young people who are on the same level, who are willing to learn and improve. You can get so much from other people's spirits. Of course, it’s important to have well-experienced teachers but this is what makes companies like the BJB and DWC special: we work with young choreographers and try to find a way together.
Matt (DWC) | Yes, we are climbing the ladder together instead of trying to outshine the others.
Kody (DWC) | Also, both companies put huge emphasis on creativity and not being stagnant in movement. It’s always about a continuous feel rather than just doing positions or taking a class. It’s interesting to find a company that has the same values as ours across the sea, strangely also in Chicago’s sister city.
LICHTHOF | What do you think is the key spirit of your generation and can you express this with your dance?
Cole (DWC) | Our generation brings diversity and individuality to the table. And that is what “Outside of the Box” is about. There are still some companies that say: “You should only do this”. But more and more companies are opening up, including modern influences like “Krumping”. It is impossible to focus on just one thing because there is so much going on.
Kody (DWC) | Choreographers these days are looking for the ability to collaborate and to bring individuality to the group. I think that is what our generation’s dance is about. Looking back at modern history, especially in ballet, there were many rights and wrongs and a correct shape. I feel like today it’s more about accepting what you have; honouring your gift and then bringing it all together to use it like a tsunami.
Sarah (DWC) | Our generation and our world is more connected than it has ever been before and so bringing people together to create something - that’s what our world is right now.
Liv (DWC) | We are creating the dance world of the future by blurring the lines that would traditionally separate a company like BJB and DWC. Whether it’s training or location – we are completely transcending any borders that exist and are therefore creating a future that is likely to be more collaborative and communicative.
LICHTHOF | Do you ever find it hard to get young people enthusiastic about dance?
Nicolas (BJB) | I think that’s why we have to do things like this. Art needs to change to be comfortable with the people who are young right now. We have to move in their direction and not just do the things people loved a hundred years ago - which were amazing and it’s important to keep them alive - but things can grow around this, too.
Imani (DWC) | I teach dance. In the US it’s often hard to get young students enthusiastic about dance unless there is competition involved. So the main motivation is to beat the other team. That makes it almost more like a sport and ruins the art of it. I want to teach young people that dance is about sharing and being a unit than about pushing someone else down.
LICHTHOF | Do you think that you will achieve this with “Outside of the Box”?
Matt (DWC) | Absolutely. Especially with LICHTHOF being such an intimate space, there will be more opportunities to connect with the audience and the dancers. People will be closer to us. It is nice to feel each other.
LICHTHOF | What do you think you will get out of the project and use it for your goals in the future?
Matt (DWC) | With a project like this I want to really notice how I am taking a step forward, feel how I am growing as an artist.
Imani (DWC) | I want to aspire to keep doing more things like this. Develope the dance world into a place where you can find all the perfections and imperfections of yourself.