The dance festival Moving Futures, an initiative of ICK Artist Space, Dansateliers, DansBrabant, Random Collision and De Nieuwe Oost, which normally travels through various cities in the Netherlands, took place online this year. From April 22 to April 29 2021, the festival was held online in Korzo’s Studio X. Of the diverse program, Rosa Poels attended a couple of presentations. She discusses her first experiences with the (online) Moving Futures festival and how it became a traveling festival for her after all.
Keren Rosenberg – Punk Your Spirit
The festival opened on Thursday night with a film adaptation of Keren Rosenberg‘s Punk Your Spirit. I waited in Studio X for the showing to begin, while music was played and the Moving Futures logo appeared on screen, announcing that everything was being set up for Keren. It felt like I was waiting in my theater seat for the curtain to open, knowing that at that very moment the last things were being prepared on stage. The work began and a close-up of Keren Rosenberg came into view, who pulled me through the screen into the theater. Her captivating gaze caught me immediately and made me curious about the rest of the play. Along with the music, the dancers built up to a climax and it was a challenge to sit still. This rising line in terms of energy weakened for me in the transition to the guitar solo by Richard van Kruysdijk, which made me lose my attention. In this section, I missed the connection with the dancers, who were now no longer in the picture. Nevertheless, it was an intriguing work, in which the alternating editing throughout the whole work built up the tension and gave an extra dimension to the online experience of the performance. I watched Punk Your Spirit on a large computer screen with headphones and in a dark room, which contributed to the strong degree to which I was absorbed in the work. The choreography and music came to me as if I was live in the auditorium.
Tripple Bill: Lois Alexander & Fubunation
Saturday night I watched the Tripple Bill which consisted of Lois Alexander‘s Neptune and Black Venus, and Ruins by Fubunation from my couch on my laptop. The combination of Neptune with a lecture by Alexander and the aftertalk with her and the two creators of Fubunation taught me to look at the work in a different way. Hearing the creators speak about their work gave it a deeper meaning. They took me into their experiences as black women and men in a world full of inequality, prejudice and discrimination. However, unlike physical aftertalks, it still felt less like a live aftertalk because only the creators and discussion leader Christian Guerematchi were speaking, which made me less tempted to participate.
Sigrid Stigsdatter Mathiassen – Cold Hawaii
On Wednesday, I watched the registration of Cold Hawaii by Sigrid Stigsdatter Mathiassen. Her emotions, expressed through movement and words, strongly came to me. Like with Punk Your Spirit, I experienced this recording as well as if I was live in the same room. The moment the blood came out of Sigrid’s mouth, I felt my stomach turning. Although I watched the performance from my bed, I was glued to my screen. I remained curious about the rest of the piece, despite or maybe even because of the uncomfortable feeling that the blood and her words created in me. Stigsdatter shows that dance recordings do not need to be a limitation in emotionally connecting with an audience.
Keren Rosenberg – Going Primal
The last work of the Moving Futures festival, Keren Rosenberg’s Going Primal, I would describe not just as a performance but as a performative experience. During this closing of the festival, I finally felt the connection with other Moving Futures audience members. First of all, as an audience, you were loosened from your rhythm of sitting at home and couch-hanging by the Body House workshop that introduced the work. Rosenberg looked into the camera, saw the audience through Zoom and spoke to us. It was as if I was in the auditorium, dancing on stage with the dancers of ArtEZ. And I had an audience at home as well. I participated in Going Primal from the living room and occasionally my family would sneak around the corner to see what I was doing. After the Body House workshop, I watched Going Primal from the couch. Because of the preceding workshop, I felt connected to Rosenberg’s movements and she took me into a rave with the dancers. I also felt the connection with the other participants in their own space. The dance party that unfolded, with a manipulation of images from around the world, reinforced this connection and was a festive conclusion to this traveling festival.
Even though this edition of the Moving Futures festival may not have been what one envisions for a ‘traveling’ festival, for me it was still a journey. A journey along different creators, themes and recording studios, but also along different locations in my home. Unconsciously I watched each performance in a different place. This was a nice change, but next year I hope to be again physically in the same space as the performers. This online edition has aroused my curiosity for live work of the new makers and I hope to experience these in the near future.
Rosa Poels is a student in dance dramaturgy and theater studies. From March-June 2021, she did an internship as an artistic assistant at ICK Artist Space.