Harnessing the Dark Energy

Posted on 08 August 2011 by Deborah Friedes Galili

This is the second guest post by Ori Josephine Lenkinski, who is writing from Impulstanz in Vienna.

“I want to change the world using the tools of choreography,” said Marten Spangberg. Seated outside in the center of the Impulstanz compound, surrounded by the loyal attendants of his prolifically titled workshop Exorcism: The Dark Energy, Spangberg talked at length about his educational ideology, the MA program he runs in Stockholm and just about anything that came into his incredibly well informed mind.

I decided to attend Spangberg’s impromptu additional workshop after having heard many strange rumors about his thoughts, opinions and methods from fellow danceWEBbers who participated in his first and only officially planned workshop here entitled Geo Trauma. Then, I witnessed his opening speech at a book release party for his blog-turned-manifesto Spangbergianism and felt that he may perhaps have some questions I can try to answer in the next ten years. For more about this or about him, visit www.martenspangberg.org.

As far as I have managed to understand this week, what The Spang, as we call him, is getting at when he talks about this elusive dark energy is the willingness one has to take a stand. “Take a position,” he says over and over again. If I am reading his message correctly, he is saying that we don’t have to be open and positive all the time. This notion, for me, this week, in this very neo-liberal, artsy-fartsy environment is a heavenly breath of fresh air, or perhaps fresh cynicism or the lack thereof. It doesn’t matter exactly, only that it is fresh and well put.

It is now the end of my third week here in Vienna. Performances viewed: 28.

For the past four days I have been taking part in Keith Hennessey’s workshop Turbulence: A Dance About the Economy. Tomorrow night we will perform the product of five days of hard work put in by thirty dance practitioners for the greater Impulstanz audience. Many questions have been raised about what we will do during our one hour show, most of which have yet to be answered in any concrete way. It will be an improvisation with a few set notions. One thing I know is that there will be extreme behavior on stage, the likes of which I will only be able to explain after the fact.

It has come to my attention, certainly in response to the goings-on in Hennessey’s very unconventional workshop, that it is more precarious a position these days to be an audience member than to be on the stage. As dance artists, we ask so much of our viewer. We ask them to come to the theater instead of eating a lovely meal or watching reality television. We solicit their money for tickets and refreshments. We demand of them to be shocked when we urinate on stage or run around making guttural noises for fifty-five minutes, never approaching anything that looks remotely like a dance move, because a big part of the reason we are doing any of these actions is to surprise our watchers out of their comfort zone. We want to show that we are really committed, really serious and terribly willing to go to the far edges of our own boundaries to make our point, whatever that point may be. Then, we expect that they will not be appalled or disheartened by our unladylike behavior and understand how absolutely necessary it was to our piece. We hope that they will walk out of the theater and say to one another, “What great composition! Brave statement! Bravo,” and continue to dutifully follow us on facebook and obviously come to our next event.  And even if our audience completes this entire set of requirements, we will still complain about them to our friends back stage. We say that they are square, conformist or, the worst of all, rich.  How is it that the artist has become the spectator to the audience?

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    This post is as gripping as it is inspiring. Your last paragraph on being an audience vs being on the stage is just brilliant (and I’m weighing my words). While I’m on the verge of ending (at last) a similar look upon our FTA experience, your words sure will help me in finalizing it. Donc merci merci l’amie pour ces précieuses pensées.

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    […] Articles on Dance In IsraelOutside of Israel: A View of Impulstanz (Ori’s first guest article)Harnessing the Dark Energy (Ori’s second guest article)If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or […]

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