Thursday, March 19, 2015

How would you imagine a #dancingmuseum?

French choreographer Boris Charmatz is taking over the spaces of Tate Modern on 15-16 May, with the goal of turning it into a musee de la danse, a museum of dance. I am so there to watch it happen.

I still remember the first time I heard Mr Charmatz speak. It was at a poorly-attended event at Southbank Centre, where a number of artists had been brought together to present ideas, works in progress and the like. He just stood up and started talking, leading us to imagine what a musee de la danse would look like if there was one right here at the Queen Elizabeth Hall. "I was looking at the skaters underneath here, and thought that they would fit in well within a musee de la danse. I would put people in that green space you can look down on from the foyer too..."

He went on with more ideas like that. He was refreshing. His French accent was charming. Now it's kind of happening, in a re-hash of his takeover of MoMA in New York in 2013.

In some marketing copy, the Tate asked "how would you imagine a #dancingmuseum?". Well here is a first list of what I'd like to find in that kind of museum...

  • Surprises! Pop-ups, silent discos, loud tea dances...
  • The freedom to jump, slide, scamper and walk throughout the museum in whatever way I want
  • A giant ballet barre, with a class open to anyone every morning the museum is open (like they do at the Biarritz dance festival. Theirs tend to be on the seafront, which is pretty neat)
  • A room with the spinning segment of Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker's Fase being performed continuously, never stopping (well, with a break when two new dancers have to take over). Opposite them, on the other side of the room, are two whirling dervishers.
  • A giant digital artwork whose tracing lines change with the flux of people walking outside or through the main foyer.
  • Virtual reality glasses, giving people the feeling of being on stage during Act 2 of Swan Lake, or a Cunningham piece, or a flamenco juerga or a Pina Bausch piece or some other overwhelming dance experience.
  • A viewing gallery over the room with the virtual reality glasses, so that I can watch people making their way around their virtual space, and maybe crashing into one another
  • Headphones with a voice describing a dance or a movement. People can think of it as instructions and try to recreate the move, or just sit and try to imagine it in front of their eyes.
  • Parkour runners here, there, and everywhere (see point 2 above)
  • Dancers dancing here, there and everywhere, and telling me about what they are doing - the explanatory label next to the artwork? It's them.
  • The opportunity to learn one step

As Boris Charmatz's event gets nearer, I might add some more ideas. Anything you would add?

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