Atelier The Relevance of Dance at Dansmakers Amsterdam: program

EDN Atelier: The Relevance of Dance
Dansmakers Amsterdam
11-13 March 2016

During this atelier we will question, together, how we can make dance more relevant in our society, and what dance can do for our society in return. We kindly invite you to discuss these questions with us, by focusing on new audiences, participation and education.

In Dutch society, and perhaps also in other European countries, people often feel like contemporary or experimental dance is difficult and that they should understand the dance in order to experience the dance. However, the body can be seen as a means of communication on its own, whereby dance can speak to a bodily experience of the audience rather than just a cognitive understanding.

During three days, we will share thoughts about dance and talk about the accessibility and openness of dance, in light of participation, commitment, interaction and education. How to reach new audience and commit them to dance and performance? And who is, or might be, this new audience?

At daytime we will address the main question during lectures (by Dutch and international speakers), open discussions, interventions, panel-discussions, interactive workshops which will focus on providing hands-on tools and by sharing best-practices. In the evenings, we will, together, experience innovatory and exciting performances by Michele Rizzo and Euripides Laskaridis.

Dansmakers Amsterdam, European Dancehouse Network and Future Europe – Europe by People Festival.


Tickets full atelier + performances: 80 €

Tickets full atelier: 70 €

Tickets atelier 11 March + performances: 35 €

Tickets atelier 12 March + performances: 35 €

Tickets atelier 13 March: 12,50 €

Please, follow the link to register:


Friday 11 March

12:00 – 12:30 h. Opening.
12:30 – 13:30 h. Lunch.
13:30 – 14:30 h. The Transferable Skills of the Dance Artist. With Guy Cools (in dialogue with Sara Wookey).
14:30 – 15:30 h. Artist talk on dance and museum collaborations. With Sara Wookey.
15:30 – 16:00 h. Best practices: Dancing Museums. With Kristin de Groot.
16:00 – 16:30 h. Coffee Break.
16:30 – 16:45 h. Intervention by Michele Rizzo.
16:45 – 18:00 h. Dancing science: The relation between audience and performer. With Kristen Krans and Tom Postmes.
18:00 – 18:30 h. Presentation of the results of the International Choreographers Week (ICW).
20:30 – 21:30 h. Film: Positions (Greek Choreographers).
21:50 – 22:30 h. Performance: Relic by Euripides Laskaridis.

Saturday 12 March

10:00 – 13:00 h. Workshop. With Euripides Laskaridis.
13:00 – 14:00 h. Lunch.
14:00 – 15:00 h. Kinesthetic Empathy. With Christian Keysers and Valeria Gazolla.
15:00 – 15:30 h. Coffee break.
15:30 – 17:30 h. Best practices: Moving Futures. With Eve Hopkins, Suzy Blok, Kristin de Groot and Kirsten Krans + Stitching Pra. With Monique Masselink + Dansnest. With Nana van Moergestel and Ischa Havens + Ongoing. With Pierik l’Istelle among others.
20:30 – 21:30 h. Performance: HIGHER by Michele Rizzo.

Sunday 13 March

10:00 – 12:00 h. Panel discussion: How to enlarge the relevance of dance? With Anita van Dolen, Natasja van ’t Westende, Mirjana Smolic and Monique Masselink. Moderated by Euripides Laskaridis.
12:00 – 12:30 h. Best practices: Dance for Health. With Ankie Til and Andrew Greenwood.
12:30 – 13:30 h. Film: Ps Dance!.
13:00 – 14:00 h. Closing.


The Transferable Skills of the Dance Artist • Guy Cools

Artistic autonomy and the potential for art to have an impact in other domains (whether political, social or economic) aren’t mutually excluding points of view but complimentary aspects of “being an artist”. It is the artist who decides if and how her skills are transferable to other domains. For the dance artist such skills include body awareness; the skills to navigate (public) spaces; communicative and social skills, necessary to collaborate in groups. In his talk, Guy Cools will illustrate these transferable skills of the dance artists, in dialogue with Sara Wookey, with examples of best practices as researched and collected for the Erasmus-project of the Dance Department of the Fontys Hogeschool voor de Kunsten.

Dr. Guy Cools is a dance dramaturg. He has worked as a dance critic and curator and as a production dramaturg, with amongst others Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui (BE), Akram Khan (UK), Arno Schuitemaker (NL), and Stephanie Thiersch (DE). His most recent publications include Body:Language (2012), The Ethics of Art (2014) and In-between Dance Cultures (2015).

Artist talk on dance and museum collaborations • Sara Wookey

In 2014, the research project The Experience and Value of Live Art took place at TATE Modern. The aim of the project was to engage young people in methodologies of choreographic practices as a means of learning and exploring ideas of performance within the art gallery and museum. Sara Wookey was intensively involved with this project, for which she worked with a.o. TATA learning. During the atelier Sara will talk about this project and its results. She will also take a larger picture view of what it means for dance to be presented in visual art cultural institutions through the lens of expanded audience and artistic practice. As part of her participation she will be sharing her new publication WHO CARES? Dance in the Gallery & Museum, that will be available for sale, and her current creative research practices. More information can be found at:

MA Sara Wookey (USA) is a dancer, choreographer, consultant and researcher based in London. Her current projects include work with Tate on The Experience and Value of Live Art and Associate Role: Curating and Young People and mentoring for Dance UK. She has presented her own choreographic work at the Hammer Museum, MCASD, REDCAT, PICA, Performance Space Sydney, and the New Museum in NYC.

Best practices: Dancing Museums • Kristin de Groot

Dancing in gallery spaces is hot, mostly with the aim to present dance in an unusal space. Dancing Museums is different, the project places dance in museums, aiming to define and implement new methods to engage audiences and enhance the journeys which people make when walking through the rooms of historical artefacts and art spaces. Drawing the public’s attention to contemporary dance as an inclusive, communicative artform, five choreographers will research new ways to approach the three dimensional body in relation to old masters paintings. They will work over a period of two years in collaboration and in dialogue with video artists and the education staff members of the museums, searching for new ways to engage the audience and take them into a rich experience.

Dancing Museums is a collaboration between Dansateliers (NL), La Briqueterie (FR), Siobhan Davies Dance (UK), D-ID Dance Identity (AU) and La Scena Contemporanea Bassano del Grappa (IT) Museum partners are: Museum Boijmans van Beuningen (NL), Le Louvre and Mac/Val (FR), The National Gallery (UK), Gemäldegalerie Wien (AT), Museo Civico (IT), Museo di Palazzo Sturm (IT) and Arte Sella (IT)

Kristin de Groot is currently Director of Dansateliers, dance house for research and development in Rotterdam. She puts her energy – and finds her reward- in supporting the growth of (emerging) choreographers, dramaturges and other related young professionals. She co-creates possibilities for them to further develop themselves, their practice and their network and strongly advocates for the promotion of the visibility of the choreographers’ work.;

Intervention • Michele Rizzo

Michele Rizzo started his interest in arts and performance in Italy, where he studied piano, dance-technique and architecture. In 2011 he graduated from the School for New Dance Development in Amsterdam. Recently he finished the Masters of Visual Arts at the Sandberg Institute, Dirty Art Department. For his performance HIGHER, Michele started his research in a surprising, but perhaps obvious, place: the club. Michele combines club-dancing with visual arts and performance, and uses clubbing as a great inspiration for his performance works. During this intervention Michele will refer to clubbing as inspiration, as a ritual and as a way of connection with other human-beings. He was awarded the 3 Package Deal Dance 2015/2016 and is visiting artist at ICK. His performance HIGHER will be presented on March 11th at 20:30.

Dancing science: The relation between audience and performer • Kristen Krans and Tom Postmes

Every performer and audience knows: During a performance you can often “feel” if the audience is involved with that what is happening on stage. But what is this feeling based on? This was the central question during a joint research-project of Random Collision and behavioral-scientists of the University of Groningen. To better understand how the relation between performers and audience is established, Kirsten Krans and Tom Postmes combine insights of scientific theories and knowledge of group formation with research by choreographers and dancers during a collective  creation process. During this lecture Tom Postmes and Kirsten Krans will share the results of their collaboration. On the one hand there are concrete answers on the question that is asked: we have a better understanding of how dance as a medium can connect people. On the other hand this project illustrates how fruitful it is to research scientific theories together with (young) choreographers, dancers and audience.

Prof. Dr. Tom Postmes is a behavioral scientist at the University of Groningen. He researches human behavior in (virtual) groups and communities, large crowds, but also in organizations. Central to this research is the influence of personal and social identity; the relation between individuality and the group. Drs. Kirsten Krans is director of Random Collision, based in Groningen and also working at the University of Groningen with the aim to develop, support and expose promising, young, choreographers and to connect dance and science.

International Choreographers Week (ICW)

From March 5 to 9, the International Choreographers Week (ICW) took place in Tilburg. During a week, a selected group of talented choreographers participated in a five day international programme organized for the sixth year by Tilburg Dansstad (Partnership between De NWE Vorst, DansBrabant, Factorium, Theaters Tilburg and Fontys School of Fine and Performing Arts).

Film: Positions • Greek Choreographers

In December 2015, the annual EDN meeting took place in Athens at Duncan Dance Research Center. On this occasion, DDRC, founding member of EDN and host of the event, presented a “map” of contemporary dance in Greece, that allowed the EDN partners to “slide” into the city, the country, the actual dance landscape in a fresh and clear way. This map has been drawn as a series of events of a fragmentary and discontinuous nature which characterizes the local artistic community as well as the current social and political reality.

Among these events, the video screening Positions, presents choreographers whose work is in discourse with the socio-political condition of the last years. “How this situation has affected their thinking and work, their thematic content and their collaborations? Have they delved into areas that they wouldn’t have visited otherwise?” Far from focusing on final “products”, this video mainly reveals procedures and dynamics, detecting and depicting multiple artistic voices in research of new materials, new ways of performativity, collaborations and presentation.

Choreographers presented: Tzeni Argyriou, Ermira Goro, Maria Gorgia, Zoi Dimitriou, Lenio kaklea, Giota Kallimani, Iris Karayan, Euripides Laskaridis, Medie Mega, Mariela Nestora, Dimitris Papaioannou, Ioanna Portolou, Kostas Tsioukas.

Performance: Relic • Euripides Laskaridis

Relic is something that has survived the past, something that’s left behind; be it a memory, an object, a language or a being. In a makeshift room, decorated in a haphazard DIY fashion, a performer puts his notably awkwardly shaped body under the magnifying glass. Magic comes from the mundane and references to cabaret, vaudeville and slapstick abound.

Greek artist Euripides Laskaridis is preoccupied by ideas about transformation and ridicule. By testing the limits of our acceptance of the incongruous and unfamiliar, performer and audience alike will experience a moment of transcendence.

Euripides Laskaridis is a stage director, short-filmmaker and performer. In his artistic exploration he grapples with ridicule and transformation. He founded the Osmosis Theatre Company in 2009 and has since presented their work in various settings in Greece, such as at the Athens and Epidaurus Festival, the Greek National Theatre, the Embros Theatre Occupation and others. As Osmosis grew in meta-crisis Greece the need for the company to reach out and connect cross-border became imperative. Euripides was a Best Actor nominee at the 1998 Greek Theatre Critics Association Awards and has been performing since 1995. After he moved to New York for his MFA in Theatre Directing in 2000, he began directing short films and theatre. Outside Greece, his work has been hosted at international festivals and venues such as the New York City Fringe, Judson Church, Dixon Place, and the 11th Biennale of European & Mediterranean Artists. His first short film, won the 2007 Jumping Frames Award in Hong Kong, and garnered a Cinedans special mention that same year in Amsterdam. His second short film was officially selected at the 14th Thessaloniki International Documentary Festival in 2012.

Director, choreographer, performer, set design: Euripides Laskaridis / Consultant to the director: Tatiana Bre / Costume: Angelos Mendis / Sound design: Kostas Michopoulos / Light installation: Miltos Athanasiou / Music consultant: Kornelios Selamsis / Dramaturgy consultant: Alexandros Mistriotis / Lighting consultant: Eliza Alexandropoulou / Assistant director: Ioanna Plessa / Special constructions: Marios Sergios Eliakis, Ioanna Plessa / Creative production: James Konstantinidis, Natasa Kouvari / Photos: Miltos Athanasiou.

The music themes heard during the performance are: Dá-me um Beijo by Elis Regina, Kapia Mana Anastenazi by Vaggelis Perpiniadis, Somewhere in Time by John Barry & Roger Williams.

Kinesthetic Empathy • Christian Keysers and Valeria Gazolla

Do we simply see dance, or do we feel dance? Brain science over the past 20 years has started to unravel what happens inside of us while we see the movements of others. Valeria Gazzola and Christian Keysers are two world-renowned brain scientists working in the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience in Amsterdam, and author of the book The Empathic Brain. They have played a key role in discovering that the parts of our brain that normally control our own movements and sense our own body move also become vicariously active while we view the movements of others.  In this lecture they will allow us to look inside of our brains and discover the basis of our empathy: how our brain lets us move and feel with the people around us.

Prof. Dr. Christian Keysers (DE) studied mirror neurons. His work on the neural basis of empathy has led to publications in the most prominent scientific journals and has made him one of the youngest people to attain the rank of Full Professor. Head of the Social Brain Lab of the prestigious Netherlands Institute for Neurosciences of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. Valeria Gazolla (IT) studied Biology in Italy and completed her PhD in Groningen, with a thesis entitled Action in the Brain: Shared Neural Circuits for Action, Observation and Execution. Social Brain Lab is the name of the research group led by Christian and Valeria. The topic of their research is based on Christian’s book The Empathic Brain.

Best practices: Moving Futures • Eve Hopkins, Suzy Blok, Kristin de Groot, Kirsten Krans

The Moving Futures Festival is a traveling festival, initiated by five collaborating talent-developers in dance, that presents work of talented and relevant dance makers. The second edition of the festival tours through 10 cities in the Netherlands. Every partner works on a strong local rooting by working together with stages, partner-institutions, amateur-associations, dance-academies, schools and universities, and other relevant institutes. Each program is based on the situation and strengths of the particular city. Moving Futures works on building a (new) audience by making them not only viewer, but also participator. This produces 10 tailored editions of a dance-event with a variety of dance performances and a rich contextual program of workshops, talks, interviews, meetings, meals, films and a dance party. This local grounding not only contributes to the success of the separate editions, but also to the goal to give the programmed makers more visibility and support.

The five talent developers are Dansmakers Amsterdam, Dansateliers Rotterdam, DansBrabant Tilburg, Generale Oost Arnhem and Random Collision Groningen. They joined forces to make the relevance and the power of expression of contemporary dance visible for a larger audience. One of the joint projects of the network is the Moving Futures Festival.

Best practices: Dansnest • Nana van Moergestel and Ischa Havens

Dansnest creates site specific dance. The “location” is the starting point for research with professional dancers. The location is public and serves as a meeting place: a street, plaza, park, hall and so on. The idea of the performance depends on the location: it’s the source of inspiration and the place for artistic experiment to develop the choreography. The process starts with observing space and translate it into dance by following the natural flow of movement, behavior, architectural lines and finding the field of tension that arises between the dancers in relation to the environment and the people. This interaction shows the identity of the location and reveals details that usually remain unnoticed. After the experiment Dansnest connects her work, under the guidance of experts, to different dance levels, stakeholders and the public by participation, education and talent development.

Nana van Moergestel and Neel Brans are choreographers with Dansnest. Both originated from the youth dance; Aya and De Stilte. They collaborated with dancers and choreographers from LeineRoebana, Vloeistof, Retina Dance and very frequently with Andreas Denk/Plan-d. Ischa Havens is Bachelor Language- and culturestudies, performer, choreographer and teacher at Dansnest since 2008.

Best practices: Ongoing • Pierik l’Istelle

The vision of the Ongoing foundation entails a society that induces the participation of all layers of our population in an artistic way. Ongoing, founded in 2012, is focused on the elderly of our society and seeks to connect and participate, to be active and together. The cooperation with a variety of dance production houses and festivals, and the composition of the artistic team are part of the vision. Dancing projects are organized with dancers in the age of 45 to 70, to be enjoyed by a wide audience. With dancers of an older generation, the musicians and guest choreographers are of a younger generation to create a cross-over of generations and experiences. Ongoing tries to connect the historical to the contemporary and future visions. With performances, public workshops and masterclasses, Ongoing shows how the older generation participates in our society, and how dance creates a medium to share and create visions.

Pierik l’Istelle is founder of Ongoing. She is a dancer, choreographer, teacher and has been the director of a highschool, and has been working in the art-education field for over 30 years. Since 2012 she works as a choreographer on her own dance productions for Ongoing.

Performance: HIGHER • Michele Rizzo

HIGHER is a dance ritual inspired and based on the experience of clubbing and club dancing. Such form of dance, which is not easily ascribed to any category, taking the cultural role of a social dance and also at times featuring various techniques, styles and influences, is extremely explicative of what ultimately is the purpose of dancing, intended as a human form of expression.

Philosopher Julia Kristeva once said: “As to be human embraced political, sexual, religious, familiar identity, we are undergoing a time of major identity crises. We need to find a language that transcends the human in order to over come such crises and awake a new Renaissance. This language can be dance”. Michele Rizzo interprets this cathartic power of dance, as its being a form of prayer and celebration of existence, and he found in the club a place for such transcending activity, which entirely matches the often used association of clubs to churches, however obscured by the most common understanding of clubbing as a mere recreational activity.

In this performance, while trying to transfer the magical essence of the club in the theatrical/representational context of the black box, and trusting in dance as the practice that compensate for the fact that we can never be each other, the performers attempt in becoming one.

Concept and Choreography: Michele Rizzo / Music: Lorenzo Senni / Performance: Juan Pablo Camara, Max Goran, Michele Rizzo / Light design: Michele Rizzo / Production: Frascati Theatre and ICK Amsterdam / Special thanks to Lucas Heistinger, Bogomir Doringer, Katerina Bakatzaki.

Panel discussion: How to enlarge the relevance of dance? • Euripides Laskaridis, Anita van Dolen,Natasja van ’t Westende, Mirjana Smolic and Monique Masselink

Dance is difficult, complicated and inaccessible… Right? Or not!

On Sunday morning, from 10:00 to 12:00, an interactive panel discussion about the central question of the atelier will take place: How to enlarge the relevance of dance? Discussion leader is the Greek Euripides Laskaridis. Although he isn’t educated as choreographer, he has a background in architecture and theatre, he feels welcomed by the dance-community. He sees dance as a very open and accessible discipline. Together with panel-members  Anita van Dolen (Stadsschouwburg Amsterdam/Julidans), Natasja van ’t Westende (Dancing on the Edge), Mirjana Smolic (dramaturge/actress/coach) and Monique Masselink (dramaturg/director, a.o. Simpel Verlangen), Euripides will address several questions and moderate the panel. For example: How can we enhance the importance of dance in society? How can we create a larger community for dance, build more audience and reach new target groups? And why is it important to ask these questions?

Best practices: Dance for Health •  Andrew Greenwood and Ankie Til

“Change people’s life through movement”. With this slogan, Dance for Health is committed to improve the quality of life, especially for people with Parkinson but also with MS or arthritis, through dance. Dance for Health develops movement-programma’s and brings knowledge and experience from both the artistic and medical world together.

Marc Vlemmix and Andrew Greenwood established Dance for Health together in 2012. Marc is a passionate dance lover and Parkinson-patient. Andrew comes from the danceworld and worked as a ballet choreographer. Together they developed a method to make people with Parkinson move more freely and better with dance. This method is based on the model of the Mark Morris Dance Group and the Brooklyn Parkinson Group from New York, and is improved with the help of all participants. During the atelier, Andrew and Ankie Til will give us a peak inside Dance for Health and refer to both the theoretical and practical side of the method.

Film: Ps Dance!

Step inside the halls of five NYC public schools and celebrate dance! Ps Dance! is the new documentary that captures what happens when students have dance in their curriculum. The journey is one of imagination, curiosity, hard work and discipline. In these studios, dance is for every child.

Ps Dance! is a documentary revolving around the influence of dance on the daily learning of more than 100 students on Public Schools. Created by award-winning dance filmmaker Nel Shelby, dance ambassador Jody Gottfried Arnhold, and dance education consultant Joan Finkelstein, PS DANCE! shows that dance can be viewed as core curriculum at all levels. 16 students are being followed during their classes and share their experiences. Master Dance Educators Catherine Gallant, Ana Nery Fragoso, Michael Kerr, Ani Udovicki and Patricia Dye demonstrate and discuss how a rich dance education develops artistic, social, academic and life skills in their students from elementary through high school.