Thinking bodies, moving minds

Dancehouse Diary is an attempt to take you on an intimate journey though dance as art of movement. Every three months, we will bring you news about the artists who work at Dancehouse. We will each time outline a topic, closely or loosely connected to our programs and, since dance is also the art of moving though other arts and fields, we will invite guests with various backgrounds to contribute. In a way, we let the most ephemeral of art forms occupy the blank page and those who are inspired by its movements, to share their thoughts with us. We want to create the space where not only bodies move, but the minds as well. We wish to circulate some brain-food that asks how dancing bodies can tell us about the world we live in and how they can inspire us to move more meaningfully within our inner or outer spaces.

But why would you read it, especially if you are not a dance maker and not even merely a dance lover?

This year, Dancehouse (you know, that unassuming Victorian building situated in Carlton North, in between busy Lygon and chic Rathdowne) has not only stepped into a new year but into its 20th year. Initially an artist-born and an artist-led initiative, Dancehouse is still here, 20 years after, the house and heart of many independent dance projects.

Some would say it’s great work and for some others, it would go understandably unnoticed. And still, very few venues in the world dedicated to contemporary dance can boast such a long life. These past 20 years mean that Dancehouse has been the space where dance artists have worked, grown their ideas into shows, and have sent out their messages to audiences and the wider world. It means that for 20 years, industrious artists and generous stakeholders have invested funds, energy, time and trust into this adventure. It also means that people out there genuinely believe in the power of the moving body to convey meaning.

The great Merce Cunningham said that one really had to love dance as it gives nothing back in exchange (no poems to be printed, no paintings to be hung on the wall) just that single fleeting moment when you feel alive. With its more lasting pages, this Diary attempts to anticipate or prolong that moment. It is also a modest tribute to all the dance makers who, as Hervé Guibert – a French dance-spellbound journalist very nicely put it – dance in order to save our gestures and movements from death. Last but not least, it is a reflection on the artist’s power to be a social sculptor, as Beuys believed, though movement, action and thought, thus inspiring us to live more creatively.

And so, now that we have worlds at our fingertips, scores of friends in our computers but such cramped spaces in our hearts, this Diary is that of those people who can sculpt our inner architectures, and maintain our body and mind alert, mobile, alive…

Will you read it now?

Angela Conquet , Artistic Director of Dancehouse