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Guest post from Philippe Jacque/Within Practice

Dear reader,

My name is Philippe Jacques and I am newly arrived to Malmö from Canada. Before moving, I worked for the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School as an artistic coordinator, choreographer, and teacher, while creating and dancing independently. I moved at the beginning of September due to love and, as an artist, it is a pleasure to have become a part of the supportive dance environment in this city (still looking for work though, if you know of any opportunities! J)

Through the help of DansCentrum Syd and the Swedish Arts Agency, I had the opportunity to participate in the Within Practice conference in Stockholm; three and a half days of workshops on the subject of dance practice accompanied by performances. It was an enlightening few days.

It was a total of seven workshops with the first being guided by the participants themselves in an open source manner. Participants ranged from university students to professionals in the field of contemporary dance and dramaturgy.

The open source was the inaugural event of the week, and invited participants to, within allotted times, if they wished, share a practice they have been working on or would like to work on. For the purpose of breaking the ice, I believe it was successful due to the spontaneity and the self-led interactions within the format.

The rest of the week was broken into two workshops per day, in either the facilities at DOCH School of Dance and Circus, or at SITE, a new facility in Stockholm. The practices we experienced were characteristically experimental and did personally cause quite a bit of thought. Highlights for me would be working and discussing with Salva Sanchis the balance of intuition and conscious decision-making while improvising, and working with Jaamil Olawale Kosoko on mapping the transgressive body[1], the capacity for becoming and reinventing identity presentation as a way to negotiate and navigate through culture. We did so specifically through the use of costuming in this workshop. I was anxious at the start of Jaamil’s workshop, as it required abandonment of identity to build another, and I was terrified of whom this new person would be. However, due to the safe environment that Jaamil produced, it actually became a very freeing experience. Both of these practices, as well as ideas from the workshops of Caroline Byström, Alice Chauchat, Chrysa Parkinson, and Arkadi Zaides, I will reutilize as a dance artist.

In the overall experience, one thing surprised me; more time was spent discussing, theorizing, rather than moving. I specifically use the word moving rather than practicing, as theorizing was a large part of many of these practices. This balance is something new to me, and it did help to deepen understanding of certain practices in an intellectual capacity. However, I believe (from a personal standpoint) at certain times we could have utilized more time to practice physically our newfound intellectual understanding.

However, as a whole, it truly was an event series that caused much thought on dance practices, and it was a candid introduction to contemporary dance in the region. I definitely hope there will be more of these community events to attend in the near future. Thank you to DansCentrum Syd and to the Swedish Arts Agency for having made this opportunity possible, and I look forward to sharing this knowledge with my new community!

 

[1] Jaamil Olawale Kosoko, Within Practice 2018 Program

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