EDN visit to TPAM · By Roberto Casarotto

In February 2017 a group of eight representatives of the European Dancehouse Network visited Japan and attended TPAM in Yokohama.

TPAM is a space where professionals from all over the world get together to meet, to know and exchange, to gain information and inspiration, to network, attending diverse performances and events. After twenty editions, TPAM is internationally recognized as one of the most influential performing arts platforms in Asia. TPAM started as Tokyo Performing Arts Market in 1995. In 2011, it moved to Yokohama, renaming itself as “Meeting” instead of “Market”, and renewing the programs as a platform for a wide range of performing arts. It did develop with a specific Asian focus since 2015; involving its members in Asian co-productions and putting more importance on networking and developing cooperations in Asia.

Aymar Crosnier (CND Paris), Bettina Masuch (tanzhaus nrw), Eva Martinez (Sadler’s Wells), Marc Olivé (Mercat de les Flors), Mitja Bravhar (Kino Šiška), Roberto Casarotto (Centro per la Scena Contemporanea-Bassano del Grappa), Un-Magritt Nordseth (Dansens Hus Oslo), Walter Heun (Tanzquartier Wien) attended a very rich programme of initiatives, participated in speed networking sessions with artists and professionals, developing new connections and dialogues, being introduced to representatives of Asian funding bodies and supportive organizations.

Throughout the 9-days period of TPAM, more than 50 artists/companies were presented, more than 200 performances proposed to audiences. More than 300 meetings, discussions and seminars were held. More than 700 People from around 40 countries who professionally engage in performing arts as artists, festivals directors, venue producers, facilitators, company managers, presenters and in other forms of work, participated.

EDN was actively involved in the Symposium The Possibility of Dance House Network in Asia – Learning from the Activity of the European Dancehouse Network (EDN) at BankArt. Walter Heun and Bettina Masuch presented the Network, the dancehouse model, and participated in conversations with Shinji Ono/Chief Producer of the Yokohama Arts Foundation, Director of the Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse number 1 and Anna CY Chan, Head of Dance at the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority.

The Symposium highlighted the importance of identifying common needs in the dance contexts and the desires to exchange experiences and to research together the dynamic changes of the social and cultural circumstances where dance is being developed and created. Themes realted to audience engagement, active participation in dance, public spaces for dance, forms of cooperation, where part of the open questions and answers with the numerous audiences that attended the event.

The EDN experience is inspiring professionals active in Asia, there is a will to create a network of Asian dancehouses and to build collaborations, exchanges and dialogues amongst professionals and organizations across the continents.

A special meeting with Japanese Artists was organized by Shinji Ono at Red Brick Warehouse number 1, for the EDN representatives. They could be introduced to Iwabuchi Teita, Kawamura Mikiko, Kuroda Ikuyo, Moriyama Mirai, Neji Pijin, Okuno Miwa, Seki kaori, Yamada Un, Yamashita Zan, Yokoshi Yasuko and get to know their works and projects. The structure of the meeting and preparation of the artists was very successful and put the bases for future collaborations and possible invitations.

The cultural differences, the specific political contexts and different artistic scenes invite us to think carefully on how to start and develop a dialogue with professionals, who are very engaged in guiding the Asian organizations they work for, towards transcontinental exchanges and collaborations, towards the idea of connecting and networking.

Identifying common needs helps to define a common ground where to build ideas and cooperations, exchanging knowledge and practices is a way to get to know each other and to consolidate partnerships and build networks.

Discussing and sharing international experiences in the artistic development, audience engagement, professional development of creative producers and dance makers, interdisciplinary projects, ways of producing and presenting dance,  seem to be territories where the knowledge of EDN can encounter new opportunities to be enriched and continue to grow.

The encounter with very inspired and inspiring persons active across the Asian countries, with whom, we perceive, that we share common values for the development of the culture of dance, has been fundamental for the establishment of the first exchanges and to discuss about sustainable and long term relationships.

Roberto Casarotto
Director International Dance Projects at Centro per la Scena Contemporanea Bassano del Grappa
26 May 2017