Last night I attended an event run by the newly launched Roehampton Dance Network. The title of the evening was “blurred and the future of dance”, and comprised screenings of some screen dance projects, and then a conversation led by Seke Chimutengwende on the future of dance, concluding with a micro-lecture by Simon Ellis, exploring ‘what’s next?’
Sitting at Chisenhale – as always, very taken by the mottled brick backdrop – I found it funny that the artists involved were prodded to struggle to articulate a sense of the future, I continue to retreat into the past – my past, our past, and a past I can only begin to imagine because I have no better a grip on it than I do on the future.
I wonder whether my obsessions with things which have already happened stems from a fear of the unknown; that I keep close that which I can compute and shy away from the fantastical land of what may be, simply because I am terrified that I may end up having got it wrong. (Got the market cornered on failure anxiety, even if I say so myself.) I like to think, however, that perhaps my ongoing fling (or is it simply an infatuation?) with bygone times is more from a sense of only with knowing and having known a past, can we grapple with the present and begin to intimate the future (Seke briefly touched on this in his discussion). After all, in the future lies only the unknown, an unknowing, a blank. We hold a sense of collective memory; we don’t hold a sense of collective unknowing.
As I stand, hoverboard under my arm, peering into the future, I can’t see much. I’m wearing the rose-tinted spectacles of nostalgia, and I burn to make sense of today by making sense of yesterday. What I hope however, is that dance continues to be a uniquely human activity. I don’t want to make work that is overtaken by technological fads; not work that begins to separate the dance from the human; not work that is meaningless spectacle. I want to dance with people, make dances about us as people.
How’s that for a Monday manifesto? Maybe these are just ramblings of a crazy woman, who longs for a ‘simpler time’. Or a different time. Or no time at all. Or has no time at all. Or is of no time at all…I suppose sitting on the threshold of a new work, with only ideas about the past to inform me, no wonder I am confused about the future. Maybe the blank future, like a blank page, is too much, too intimidating, too filled with the unknown. I’m going to make some scribbles on the page, do some doodling, and then maybe reassess – perhaps the future’s not so blank after all.
More information on blurred and RDN can be found here: http://www.roehampton.ac.uk/News/Roehampton-Dance-presents-blurred-and-the-future-of-dance/