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BRIAN HARTLEY

features

Kingdom

BRIAN HARTLEY

Kingdom

Interview with Internationally


acclaimed artist Jorge Crecis
Jane Cuppage speaks with the choreographer whose new
methodology works on performers consciousness

nternationally acclaimed artist Jorge Crecis is a Spanish

You hold degrees in both sport sciences and contemporary

dancer who holds a degree in sport sciences and has

dance; which came first?

studied contemporary dance at the Real Conservatorio

I guess sports came first really. I did a bit of flamenco and

of Madrid. Jorge has worked as a professional dancer and he

Spanish dance when I was a teenager. The breakthrough with

has been commissioned by companies in the UK as well as

contemporary dance happened in my second year of sport

globally. Jorge has also been involved in education; he has

sciences. We had dance as a subject for a term and I really

been a full-time lecturer at London Contemporary Dance

enjoyed it. I started to perform with the University dance

School and a guest teacher at Beijing Dance Academy, China

group and the following year I started at the conservatoire.

and Conservatorio Superior de Madrid, Spain. Currently


he is a PhD candidate at Goldsmiths University of London

Did one degree lead on to the other naturally?

focusing on methodologies for training and replicating

Yes, I would say that they complemented each other

higher states of consciousness for dancers in performance.

organically. sports sciences is so broad that students tend

RichMix in Shoreditch recently hosted Jorge to explain

to get lost in the myriad of subjects to study. When I started

his methodology When Performance Goes Right. The lecture

at the conservatoire, sport sciences helped me to focus my

demonstration included a performance of 36 which is a visual

studies and start thinking about how to apply everything I

example of his methodology. ISTD took the opportunity to

was learning to dance. It also allowed me to tackle the study of

ask Jorge about himself, When Performance Goes Right and

dance from a very particular, analytic and pragmatic point of

how his methodology applies to dancing.

view, which I believe has shaped my approach to dance since.

My
qualifications
have definitely
helped my
trajectory. At
the beginning
it was very
hard. The
workload was
heavy, but the
effort paid
off

How has having a degree level dance

experiencing experiences. This not only

qualification helped your work?

improved my ability as a performer, but

My qualifications have definitely helped

also increased the level of consciousness

my trajectory. At the beginning it was very

of my daily routine. I was convinced that

hard. The workload was heavy, but the effort

this experience could form the kernel for a

paid off. As a dancer I could offer a very

training methodology directed to increase

unique approach to the choreographers I

awareness for performers.

was working with. As a teacher, it opened


the doors of institutions such as London

You describe choreographing a dance

Contemporary Dance School or the Beijing

piece not as choreography but rather

Dance Academy. I was also equipped with

that you devise experiences. What is the

useful tools, not only to teach technique,

difference?

but to mentor future dancers. Now as a

The original meaning of choreography

choreographer and researcher it has allowed

comes from the Greek khoreia (dance) and

me to reach the next level; a PhD candidate.

graphein (to write). Within the western


tradition of dance-making it has been

Has your background in sports sciences led

conventionally understood to mean the

to your new choreographic performance

creation and organisation of movement. I

technique?

do not create steps, movement or gestures.

Yes, definitely! Technique allows the focus of

I like to devise the situation that provokes

very specific aspects of the same topic. Such

the movement, the dancers then set the

examples are dance release, somatic dance,

material to solve the problem I have created.

contact improvisation, etc. In my work, I

Therefore the movement vocabulary is a

like to talk of pragmatic dance: actions and

by-product of the situation. For instance,

gestures have a rational and a matter-of-

in one of the sections of 36, the dancers

fact purpose. This is similar to sports; the

must reorganise the space configuration of

use of games and playful attitude to tackle

36 bottles of water in less than 8 seconds.

performance.

A more recent example is Kingdom,


commissioned by Scottish Dance Theatre.

Can you explain how this new

The dancers have to construct, with 80

performance technique came about?

bamboo poles and almost 600 metres of

In 2004 I had the opportunity of dancing

rope, what will later be the scenography.

alongside Ziya Azazi, a Turkish-born dancer

In this case I found it fascinating to see

and well known contemporary Dervish.

the dancers totally immerse themselves

During the months we toured, we usually

in the action and it is very rewarding to

met and spun together. I found that

see their satisfaction when they can jump,

spinning gives me the time to experience

climb and swirl around the structure they

movement fully, in perfect corporeal

created. In both cases I didnt create the

equilibrium. The simplicity of the gesture

movement behind the purpose, I devised

with the rhythms of the music generates

the experience that the dancers have to

an extremely pleasant flow. Spinning for

embody. The resulting movement material

30 minutes to an hour allows the spinners

from that experience is just so absorbing

consciousness to remain grounded. Whirling

and captivating!

Dervish dance practice facilitated me to


extrapolate the process of being aware of

Goes Right is a training methodology aimed at enhancing the


associated state of consciousness of any kind of performer.
The methodology is divided into three different stages, which

JESUS ROBISCO

are illustrated in the table below:

The internationally acclaimed piece 36 was recently

ENTERING
PERFORMANCE

DURING
PERFORMANCE

EXITING
PERFORMANCE

Acquiring necessary
skills

Games are a serious thing

Cooling down

Collateral training

Problem solving in real time

Meaning makers

Demystification of

The doer

Retro-feedback

the act of performing

performed in Shoreditch, it was described as a problem


solving piece. What benefits do you think problem solving

Through these three different stages When Performance

has for dancers, while they dance?

Goes Right provides a number of tools that will direct the

36 involves using 750ml plastic bottles filled with water, the

performer towards discovering, tracing and finally training

equivalent to throwing a hammer. The bottles are thrown

the ideal performative state of mind, associated with peak

and caught approximately 1,000 times over a period of 20

performance.

minutes; a bottle is thrown every 1.2 seconds. The distance that


the dancers cover during the piece is on average 12 kilometers.

Would you advise that dance teachers take on this way of

36 captures the spontaneity and competitiveness of sports

thinking about dance?

in order to push the performer into a unique performative

When Performance Goes Right has been created as an open

state of mindful awareness or problem solving in real time. No

structure because it reveals a path, but not necessarily the

matter how set a piece may be, there are always small and big

path for dancers to train their performative presence. I would

unforeseen circumstances that the dancer has to tackle. This

only advise for others to try it. If it works for you, it can be a

readiness and this awareness is directly related to the state of

valuable tool in your hands. If it does not work for you, it will

mind associated to stage presence, therefore problem solving

be necessary to carry on searching for tools that will help you

in real time is part of the training.

and your students to achieve the best results they can. My


experience is that by opening the way we think about dance,

Stage presence is usually referred to as a natural ability;

it can only benefit us all.

you believe it is a craft to be improved. Can you further


explain this?

What is next for you? Will you continue with your current

A few years ago it was a common belief that creativity could

project, or is there something else you would like to

not be taught. Drawing from neuroscience, philosophy and

explore in the dance-world?

cognitive sciences it has been proven that stage presence

I think studying and training the development of stage

is associated to a very specific state of mind. More recently,

presence is a lifetime hobby! At the moment I am working on

sport training theories are directed to exercise those

a new piece, Through & Out, for 5 performers that will be re-

associated states of mind. However, by practicing whirling

created in partnership with Greenwich Dance for 500 600

Dervish dance, I realised that it is possible to replicate that

people. It is a cross-over between dance and rope-skipping.

state of mind at will. Therefore I have been developing my

Hundreds of dance-skippers, (including professional dance

work over the last 10 years in order to devise, test and fine-

artists and a local community cast from across South East

tune different approaches to help the performer to locate,

London), will unite in electrifying motion with unpredictable

replicate and enhance that particular state of mind. It is

outcomes in one epic event, in the iconic surroundings of

important to stress that it is a training method as with any

Greenwich Park within the UNESCO World Heritage Site. An

other kind of training needs time and consistency to show

immersive audio experience will take the audience into the

results. Dancers are naturally disciplined, therefore with time

heart of this action.

and dedication results are clearly visible. When Performance

Jane Cuppage