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Interview with Lucy Suggate and Sònia Gómez

In 2012 MOM/ELVIVERO proposed Lucy Suggate and Sonia Gómez to collaborate in an artistic project. Dance Pals was the first phase of their work together within the Carte Blanche programme in the framework of the modul-dance project, invited by Dansehallerne (Copenhagen) and Graner (Barcelona). The inquisitive middle is a production of the TNT Festival (Terrassa), Sonia Gómez-Lucy Suggate and MOM/ELVIVERO. With the collaboration of Dansehallerne (Copenhagen), Graner and Sâlmon< Festival (Barcelona). Lucy Suggate is supported by Arts Coucil of England.

This interview was done by Graner during their Carte Blanche residency in Barcelona (April 2013).More modul-dance videos on
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Interview with Leja Jurišić

Leja Jurišić talks about Ballet of Revolt during this interview done in October 2012.

Art has always been a response to the return or repressed unconscious elements at individual and social level. Every crisis should be a reminder to us of the importance of thinking about the future. A crisis almost always results from earlier failures to deal with an emerging problem or to anticipate a likely eventuality. In retrospect, we often recognize that the crisis in history was perfectly preventable, but we have to show it again and again and again!

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Interview with Tina Tarpgaard

Danish choreographer Tina Tarpgaard was proposed for the modul-dance project by Dansehallerne Copenhagen and was selected in 2010. In this interview, done during the modul-dance conference that took place in Tilburg in October 2012, she talks about her experience within modul-dance and the project developed, entitled Living Room.

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Coraline Lamaison. By Bertram Müller

Coraline Lamaison_Narcissus


By Bertram Müller, Director of Tanzhaus NRW Düsseldorf.

The production process and the guest performance of Narcisses by Coraline Lamaison (France) was an excellent and instructive example of a European coproduction within the frame of the modul-dance project. The respective parts of the trilogy, which deals with the phenomenon of female narcissism in different ways, originated in three distinct places and premiered in three different places as well, in the last instance with the duet Narcisses-2.0, featuring the magnificent dancers Annabelle Chambon and Els Deceukelier. In the run-up, as a result of the second part of the production which originated in France, a great flutter and a fierce debate arose in the press and on the Internet in Düsseldorf because two real wolves were envisaged for that piece. In France that did not entail any problem either from the legal standpoint or for the enthusiastic audience. In a drawn-out debate with animal protection societies, the government veterinary department and the press, the fact was pointed out to the choreographer and the director of the dance centre Tanzhaus NRW that, regarding the stage appearance of animals and particularly of wolves, different and substantially stricter rules apply in Germany than in France. For a wolf to appear, a petition would have to be filed. As a result, the choreographer prepared a suitable German version which, even without the wolves, won warm acclaim and enthusiasm. It was a didactic play about immoral cultural feelings, laws and the fact that the freedom of art in the European countries has different limits. Exceptionally enjoyable was the charismatic British performer Kate Strong, who worked for many years in Frankfurt under William Forsythe and with the Volksbühne, the same as Annabelle Chambon and Els Deceukelier, who are considered essential protagonists in Fabre’s work. Not only the press, but also the audience had warm praise for the depiction and interpretation of female narcissism, terming it existential, humorous, incisive and brilliant. With her three-part production, the choreographer Coraline Lamaison has convincingly shown that, within the frame of modul-dance, she can deal with an extremely topical subject, female narcissism, in an exceptionally exciting production on a highly aesthetic level that confronts the different cultural habits of perception and is consequently of cross-border significance.

Indeed, this production has, as few others, so enthused and convinced many of my colleagues and me myself that I can most sincerely recommend it here to all organizers of today’s contemporary dance.

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Modul-dance experience. By Perrine Valli

Perrine Valli_Je pense comme une fille enleve sa robe © Dorothée Thébert (2)My experience with modul-dance began in 2010 at the first meeting held at the Maison de la Danse in Lyon. A group of about forty dance artists and professionals gathered there to get acquainted with each other. As opposed to what often happens, modul-dance endowed itself with the means to create a “true network” by inviting all these people to meet. Occasions rarely arise to create strong ties between structures and artists, and modul-dance came to allow just that.

What immediately struck my interest was the European dimension of this project. My company is based in two countries: Switzerland and France, and my work is deeply marked by this artistic “double life”. In each project I ask myself how these two countries, these two cultures, these two artistic worlds will influence my work. Even if they are neighbours, the politics, codes and ways of thinking of these countries differ, and this has enriched my artistic research. For example, Je pense comme une fille enlève sa robe is a piece that reflects on prostitution since this activity is legal in Switzerland and forbidden in France. In my research, I have met prostituted persons and worked in associations in both countries to understand how their practice is influenced by the political and cultural context of the countries where they live. Consequently, far from being provocative, this piece simply poses some questions and shows how the body and ways of thinking are highly subjective.

Dance has this “magical power” of conveying questions, emotions or sensations through the body, and of transmitting this body language beyond frontiers. For me, module-dance is the only network, as far as I know, which sets itself in this perspective of communication and exchange across countries, and that endows itself with the means required to do so... it is a great opportunity to form part of it and this is what has interested me the most.

I’ve been able to take advantage of the three modules:

- Production: at the ADC in Geneva. This theatre has the tremendous virtue of programming certain pieces for a long stay. I’ve been lucky enough to dance ten evenings in a row, allowing me to build a solid piece. In each successive performance I took the liberty of trying out new things: I changed a movement here and there, prolonged some scenes and eliminated others, listened to the audience’s feedback and if certain aspects seemed interesting to me, I worked further on them... at night! I worked under excellent conditions with a financial support that was of great help in this respect.

- Residency: at the Maison de la Danse in Lyon. I was working on a project that arose at the CulturesFrance residency “Villa Médicis-Hors les murs”, which I did in Tokyo. I met two Japanese dancers there and we were quickly struck by the difference between the professional situation of Japanese and European dance artists. For example, at that time they were working on a piece presented in a theatre with about 400 seats, and each dancer had the obligation to sell 35 tickets. Not only were the dancers unpaid, but they also had to reimburse the theatre for the tickets that went unsold! Conversely, they were amazed to learn that I was paid simply for doing research for 4 months in Japan. Despite their difficult financial situation, I was struck by the dynamic spirit of the Japanese dancers –who are sometimes much more active than some of their European counterparts–, combining personal projects, daily dance courses, creations, performances and side jobs. That made me want to create a project on these exchanges and on these cultural differences. We set to work on the creation of this piece in Lyon. When Airi and Kazuma saw the words “Maison de la Danse” at the entrance, they couldn’t get over their surprise: how could such a big building be devoted solely to dance? That residency was very enriching and very pleasant, especially thanks to the two Japanese dancers who, just the opposite of the French artists, raved about everything: they loved to dance in the big beautiful studio that was made available to us and to be able to use it for as many hours as we wished. They were surprised to receive per diems for our meals and delighted that we were provided accommodation which, on top of it all, was located right in front of the Maison de la Danse. That was in May 2011, just after the big earthquake, which we talked about a lot during the 7 days of the residency, and thanks to these people I came to understand a great deal of things about Japanese culture. Deproduction is performed in English and it is a piece that has been very well received by the public. It presents on stage, in a tone infused with humour, the experiences that the three of us had between Tokyo and Lyon.

- Presentation: at Mercat de les Flors in Barcelona. We have presented Je pense comme une fille enlève sa robe. It was the first time that I performed this piece in Spain and the audience was very receptive. After the performance, several people stayed on to ask me some questions. It was highly enriching to be able to talk about prostitution and the different relationships with the body, with people who live in a different country with a different system. These exchanges and reflections make it possible to give the piece a dimension that extends beyond the stage and this is a part of dance that interests me very much. We ended up by spending the evening with this Spanish audience, dancing and drinking sangria until late!

My latest experience with modul-dance took place in Tilburg this autumn on the occasion of the annual modul-dance conference. I found that it was extremely important that artists of different generations and partners were able to meet again in order to strengthen our ties. We got the chance to get to know one another better and to make new acquaintances. I thought it was fantastic to be able to exchange ideas about the good and bad aspects of our reciprocal experiences and to share them with partners during those three days. I consider it important that artists can take part in the development of this network in order to keep it from becoming a “show market” like so many others that exist today. I appreciate the fact that modul-dance seeks to create a true space-time continuum that allows artists and professionals to look for ideas together with a view to improving the operation of the network.

Victor Hugo said “Expression has its frontiers, thought has none”, and this is precisely the experience that I would like to continue to enjoy in modul-dance... a “ping-pong” of art, ideas, experiences, shows and artists bouncing back and forth between all these countries.

Picture: © Dorothée Thébert

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In September 2011, Fearghus Ó Conchúir wrote the following article focused on his experience during the research he developed at Dance Gate Lefkosia Cyprus.

My abiding memory of the research time I spent in Nicosia was of the last evening spent with some of the delegates of the Dance/Body conference on the Turkish side of the city. We followed the academic Stavros Karayanni there to a cafe in a beautiful old square that once a month hosted a ‘pink party’ for gays and lesbians. There, Stavros danced a delicious, friendly belly-dance and I felt in that moment the embodiment of the conference theme: Dance/Body at the Crossroads of Culture.

Here was dancing where politics, gender, sexuality and ethnicity shimmied and swayed. And it felt good to be there.

My time in Nicosia was under the rubric of research module with modul-dance. Having used research at the Art Stations in Poznan and a residency at The Place to help me make my new work Tabernacle, I had originally intended that a research visit to Dance Gate in Nicosia would be part of that process too. It didn’t work out that way but when I was invited to speak at the Dance/Body conference, it made sense to combine it with a period of research there.

While I didn’t have a studio in Nicosia during that time, it didn’t matter. I was recovering from a knee surgery so couldn’t dance. Besides, having come directly from premiering Tabernacle in the Dublin Dance Festival what I needed was time to assimilate and reflect on that process. Doing it in such an stimulating context as the divided city of Nicosia, given that Ireland has its own history of division, helped many thoughts to settle in my head and opened up some new avenues for thinking. Arianna Economou of Dance Gate arranged for me to stay in a house directly on the green line that separates Greek Nicosia from what they call ‘the other side’ or Turkish-occupied Nicosia. Having a checkpoint directly outside my door, hearing the call to prayer from the Turkish mosques, seeing the rubble of bombed buildings and the guns of young soldiers reminded me how fraught the encounter with otherness can be.

And yet I was also delighted to find that the no-man’s land of the green line has created a haven for plant and animal life that has a protected corridor across divided Cyprus. There is space for growth and possibility in the fissures between people.

There were many practical benefits to being in Nicosia too. Because the conference was supported by modul-dance, there was a gathering of the partners there. It was a bonus to be able to meet many of those people to whom I’d scarcely had a chance to talk when we first gathered in Lyon last year. Because I spoke at the conference, I had an opportunity to explain a little more about what motivates my work and it felt that this extra information was useful in letting the partners get to know me. With the partners who are supporting the residencies and tour of Tabernacle in November, it was much more concrete to be able to talk through face-to-face the details that we have discussed by email a dozen times.

It was also inspiring to see the work of fellow modul-dance artist Alexandra Waierstall. The extract from Mapping the Wind that I saw made me want to understand her process and priorities. We’ve only just begun a conversation but it made me realise how keen I am to understand the work of all the MD artists and what a pity it is that the opportunity to do so is limited to these chance crossings. These opportunities for exchange between artists and MD partners are what I hoped would come out of modul-dance but it was luck that made them possible in Nicosia. The research module wasn’t supposed to turn out like that. I had intended to do it in the Spring. But having this time to think after an intense creation process, to be stimulated by the environment and the conference delegates, to meet fellow artists and MD partners was very beneficial.

I look forward to the next phase of modul-dance activity when we undertake residencies and presentations of Tabernacle this November at Mercat de les Flors, Kino Siska and The Place.

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Playlist with interviews focused on the [8:Tension] Young Choreographers' Series @ ImPulstanz 2014

With the [8:tension] Young Choreographers’ Series the festival audience gets an insight into the most challenging artistic approaches of a new generation of choreographers.

Interviews produced by participants of the meta_media lab@ ImPulsTanz 2014
led by Marlon Barrios Solano
Lab members: Franzi Kreis, Rocio Marano, Charlotta Ruth.

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Modul-dance experience. By Helena Franzén

In 2011 I was privileged to be selected by modul-dance to create the performance Slipping Through My Fingers which premiered at Dansens Hus in Stockholm in September 2012.

In this project I deepened my collaboration with three dancers I have worked with for some years now; Katarina Eriksson, Moa Westerlund and Aleksandra Sende, but I also introduced a new dancer to the group; Elizaveta Penkova.

By my side was also Jukka Rintamäki, the composer I have worked closely together with for the last nine years. This time we were happy to invite Johan Skugge, a composer collaborating with Jukka. The duo performed live on stage, playing lap steel guitar and piano, combined with pre-recorded sound.

Slipping Through My Fingers by Helena Franzén (trailer 3min) from Helena Franzén on Vimeo.

Being a modul-dance artist enabled me to - for the first time - work together with my dancers and musicians outside Sweden creating the piece. The possibility of making new contacts with other artists and of course meeting a new audience is very valuable and supported me to grow as a chorographer.

My collaborators in the different “modules” has so far been two residencies at deVIR/ CAPa in Faro, Duncan Dance Research Center and presentation at Dansens Hus, Stockholm and Mercat de les Flors, Barcelona.

In Faro we started off the creative process. It was a great experience to begin the work in a new surrounding. This week in March we somehow got the chance to meet each other from scratch, since we were all there together under the same circumstances. We became our own masters of our time and the space. We realized how important the atmosphere of the space is and how it affects the qualities of the movements: the quiet, grey light created a strong, contrast to the intense light on the outside. This was a source of inspiration for the light design that I passed on to my light designer, Markus Granqvist. The calm surrounding and the friendly atmosphere in Faro made our group tighter and made us work very concentrated. Jukka Rintamäki found some new sounds on his lap steel guitar and recorded some improvisations that we also used later in the piece, the sounds transformed during the process and got deconstructed and manipulated many times during the process.

In April I had a week of residency in Athens, at The Isadora & Raymond Duncan Dance Research Center. This time I went on my own. It was a very intense week and I had the time to rehearse the solo I created for myself that was a part of Slipping Through My Fingers. I also had the great opportunity to give two classes to professional dancers and got to meet some of the local dancers and choreographers. The last day of my stay I presented a part of the solo work and talked generally about my work in an open showing. It’s very important to continue the discussions about the working conditions in the dance field and how we can survive in the profession.

Dansens Hus in Stockholm was my partner of production and presentation and offered a very generous period in their rehearsal studio and also a longer time on stage, preparing for the premiere. Their support was genuine and important.

Slipping Through My Fingers opened in 28th September, and I was very happy to receive a very positive feedback from both the press and the audience at Dansens Hus.

In November we took part of the SÂLMON< festival at Mercat de les Flors in Barcelona. This was a great experience to us all. It was my first time to perform in the south of Europe and we got a very good feeling coming from the audience. My work is probably different from the work that is created outside Scandinavia in the sense that it’s visually strong and maybe more quiet in the expression. It would have been interesting to have a talk with the audience afterwards and actually discuss the work and listen to the reactions and raise even more thoughts about what is defining us as choreographers. Do we have some recognizable qualities because of our nationality that define us as artists? Do I belong to some Scandinavian tradition in my way of creating and in my aesthetic choices? All those questions actually have grown during my experience with modul-dance.

I’m very happy to hear that the collaboration within modul-dance continues also after the year has finished, that I am still a modul-dance artist and can continue to network and work on new contacts. One year is very short to develop a network and I’m looking forward to seeing all modul-dance people soon again!

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interactive dance event

Friday 26th September at 19:30 GMT.

audience/choreographer/dancers/sound/light/video/story/technology all combine to create new ways of experiencing performance.

Please Switch On Your Mobile Phones is a research project conducted by TaikaBox and MOON, with funding from Nesta, AHRC and ACW and culminates in the third public beta test in Stiwdio Stepni, Y Ffwrnes, Llanelli and online via

log in to to join in. 

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