- A Choreographer’s Score: Fase, Rosas Danst Rosas, Elena’s Aria, Bartók by Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker and Bojana Cvejić, and: En Atendant & Cesena: A Choreographer’s Score by Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker and Bojana Cvejić, and: Drumming & Rain: A Choreographer’s Score by Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker and Bojana Cvejić
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In the past decade, a growing discourse has developed among choreographers, dance artists, and their collaborators, who are eager to articulate their processes, practices, and working methods through different types of writing and publication. Artists’ books, objects, and online platforms—from Thomas Lehmen’s Schreibstück (2002) and FUNKTIONEN tool box (2004), to BADco’s Whatever Dance Toolbox (2011) in collaboration with Daniel Turing, and the Forsythe Company’s project Motionbank (2010–2013)—have contributed to what we may describe today as the “publishing of choreographic ideas,” as proposed by Scott deLahunta (2015). Jeroen Peeters, editor of Are We Here Yet? (2010), which focuses on the work of Meg Stuart, emphasizes the discourse intrinsic to dance making, while Mårten Spångberg invites artists to “write their own history,” with projects such as The Swedish Dance History (2009–today),1 to give but one example. Alongside these developments, practice-as-research, which involves dance making and writing, is becoming more established within university settings; and presentations of/on artistic research are now common in conferences, symposia, and other sites of knowledge exchange. We could argue then that the development of an artist’s theory of knowledge, which scholars such as Susan Melrose (2007) have been encouraging since the early 2000s, is now well under way both within and without the academy.
Against this backdrop, it seems timely for performance theorist and musicologist Bojana Cvejić and choreographer Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker to have embarked on the ambitious project of publishing three volumes on key dance works by the latter, from her early choreographic pieces to some of her most recent creations. Cvejić belongs to a generation of makers and thinkers for whom dance practice and theory often operate in a continuum: her understanding of the artist’s discourse is key here. With this project, she is able to use the unique elements of De Keersmaeker’s work to point toward new directions in choreographic research and writing. De Keersmaeker has admitted that the emphasis on the experience of the live dancing body has often been an excuse for dance artists not to articulate their working methods,2 and it is this challenge of articulating one’s own poetics as an artist that she seems to be taking on here. As Cvejić points out, if dance wants to be taken seriously and be able to take itself seriously, then we need to defend its epistemic value; so it is imperative for dance makers to share their methods of practice with a broader, more heterogeneous readership who can then start to understand “what dance means in relation to how it is made” (2012, 8).
With this aim, these volumes present a combination of newly written texts and videos, as well as “archaeological” findings, as Cvejić calls them (2012, 10), such as interviews, illustrations, archival [End Page 80] videos, personal notes, and sketches from creative processes, and documents related to performances of the works (program notes, reviews, etc.). The rationale for this approach lies in the complementary nature of such materials, as is well...