What can be the role of documentation in our dance agency?

Reflection, Inscription, Transmission
These three nouns are core to this discussion within this Half 6 session. The perspective of the talk will depart from the personal experience of our HALf6 special guest Berta Bermudez as a dance documentalist, and its potential to reveal important knowledge of our dance practice.

The agency implicit in the act of documenting is based upon skills of reflection, analysis and synthesis. These skills are similar to the actions (we) dancers do, when dancing. Dancing and documenting are for me similar processes that differ in the ways results are exposed and transmitted.

Throughout human history, written documents, after their validation become memories and knowledge. The reading and regarding objects with the purpose of distilling knowledge from them, has become the learning patterns for all human education. Writing and reading seam essential in our society, to knowledge acquisition. In counterpoint all actions and experiences we do on a daily base, are built upon embodiment. It is within this reality, where our dancing agency is based upon. The fact that knowledge is acquired through reading and writing and memories become artifacts, through texts, images, audio etc…and seams that only them are valid to recall our memories and validate them, but not our mental and embodied memories.

Dance, counts with complex manners of inscription; the body and artifacts. Both ways of inscription; demand previous reflection in order to be created and are meant to be transmitted. Only the medium of inscription is the main difference. What is then relevant in our society to consider something knowledge, the medium of inscription or the content? Why has a document or artifact have a different value than a body? What is the agency of the body and the artifact?

In any way, the reflection process allows to order our experiences and events while making them prevail longer in our memories. Both the body and artifacts allow our memories to keep the agency of dance alive through time. Thus, why not invest more in our practice of reflection and inscription (in artifacts and body)? What can then become the role of documentation for our dancing practice?

This HALf6 edition is part of the second part of the Artist in Residence programme Training the Future: Context, Difference and Awareness in Dance Education that runs from 2 to 6 September 2019. Students and teachers of the Expanded Contemporary Dance, Modern Theatre Dance and Urban Contemporary (JMD) study programmes take part in this event organised by Angela Linssen, Bojana Bauer and Gerleen Balstra and co-curated by Bauer and Linssen.

Berta Bemudez

Bertha Bermudez is a dancer, researcher and interactive artists. With a degree in Dance and Cho-reography, Bertha has been part of the main leading European dance companies and has worked with renamed choreographers such as Maurice Bejart, William Forsythe (Frankfurt Ballet), Saburo Teshigewara, Nacho Duato and repertoire of Jiri Kilian, Hans van Manen and Ohad Naharin (Spanish National Dance Company in Madrid). As freelancer, she has worked with Rui Horta and Paul Selwing Norton. Between 1999 and 2014 has worked as a dancer, assistant and researcher with the company Emio Greco | PC, with Emio Greco and Pieter C.Scholten at the ICKamsterdam Choreographic Center based in Amsterdam.

Since 2005 Bermudez shifted into dance research, coordinating different research projects on dance notation and documentation with the support and help of ICKamsterdam and the ARTI group at AHK. Between 2009 and 2014 Bermúdez has combined her artistic work with dance research, inter-disciplinary projects and the artistic direction of the Las Negras Productions Foundation where she carried out artistic dance and film projects. Since 2014, Bermudez combines her PhD on per-forming Archives at the UvA, with her work as advisor, coordinator, artist and documentalist for various projects such as; Mova research group, IRCAM Paris, Amsterdam School for the Arts, Na-varre Council of Culture, Music and Performing Arts Archive of Navarra, The Dance House of Guipuzkoa Dantzagunea and with Dantzaz a dance company based in Errenteria where she works as coordinator and documentalist since 2016