Choreographing for me is organizing movements
in time and space. You can call it moving architecture, you could
define it as celebrating your humanity. The human body is your instrument when you
dance. You use it in its mechanical way, in an emotional
way, in a social way. And in a spiritual way. And in a sensuous way. It’s so much a part of my life, and of my
way of relating to the world. The choreography ‘Vortex Temporum’, which is
based on the music of the French spectralist composer Gérard Grisey, was originally made
for black box. It’s a sextet for three strings, two winds,
and a piano. Work/Travail/Arbeid is the rewriting of that
black box version, for the totally different space and time of a museum. The original version that lasts one hour is
now expanded to a longer cycle of nine hours. Things are much more liquid in time, it’s
liquid movement and liquid space. And the spectators are somehow part of that. This is not easy music. This music
is very layered, there is no common beat you know, the beat is totally exploded, it
becomes liquid. The harmonies are extremely dissonant. To choreograph to this kind of music, which
is of such a complexity, I considered it really as a challenge. You know, how do you dance to that? To match the complexity of that music I took
the decision of linking one dancer to one instrument. And to work layer by layer. To put those layers
on top of each other, you see different combinations of people linked to different instruments. This whirling spiral, this vortex, is the
basic form that generated the vocabulary and it organized the space. Here in MoMA, it’s extremely noisy. There is an activity of the people which is
quite vibrant, quite New York-ish. But what is crucially different is we go away
from the frontality. Normally when I work I will sit in the middle
at the front, and I choreograph from that frontal position. Because of this vortex, stemmed from the spiral,
I was constantly walking around trying out different perspectives. You can come close, you have access to detail,
you can eventually go in the middle of the space. You can sit yourself in a corner. You are not in this fixed relationship between a spectator and the performer. In the last ten years I also started to question
the very nature of movement. Without laws and rules, what helps me to create
that counterpoint, to get complexity and readability, and its still anchored immediately to the
music. What I like so much about dance is that you
can embody the most abstract ideas. Layer by layer, you can rethink the very nature
of movement. That slow work process of constructing the
building, is somehow deconstructed in Work/Travail/Arbeid. And it’s a lot of work.