The Absent Body

“…art forms are connected with different forms of time. At the moment I have the feeling that art is a manifestation of death, connected to a secret, when people are aware of the mechanisms of absence. Trance is related to that.  And dance is…”
(William Forsythe in an interview with Johananes Oldentahl in “Tanz Korper Politik”)

Presence and absence have always been connected to dance as an art form. The body as a medium between transcendence and materialization. In most cases dance is supposed to be a way of disappearing. Even in dance history, the hard core within that history, dance itself is absent.  A possible dance history has been substituted by another history; the history of the body.

At the beginning of the 21st century the body has found itself in the midst of pain, fear, chaos and war. Being endlessly attacked and constantly de-centered and above all trapped between fleeting physical-material acts within a confusion of bodies, concepts and strategies. We find ourselves encaged in all the diverse media´s imaginable and we stand inside all the possible spaces at once in all bodies we can think off. Within the works of contemporary choreographers like Forsythe, Charmatz, Le Roy and Stuart the absence of the body is as present as it is absent. 

Is there a connection to the revival of the hidden body in religion? To the renewed interest in shamanism and body rituals?  The discussions about the non-image in Judaism or Islam, the replaced body, the sacrificed bodies, ghosts and energies?  As a contribution in the discussion and research The School for New Dance Development (SNDO) in collaboration with the Lectoraat AHK presents between 21 May and 8 June 2007, a series of workshops and lectures called The Absent Body.

Choreographers Benoit Lachambre, Nicole Beutler and LaRibot will research with students of the SNDO the theme of the absent body in three intensive workshops.
Dramaturge Igor Dobricic; dance maker Carolien Hermans, ex-monk and theatre personality Hans Christiaan Klasema; writer on dance and author of the book ‘Absence’ Gerald Siegmund; curator of art and performance gallery De Appel Ann de Meester; professor in dance theory Maaike Bleeker and choreographers and SNDO teachers Robert Steijn and Ria Higler will lecture on the theme.