In June 2018, we were fortunate enough to spend three weeks working in O Espaço do Tempo, a beautiful old monastery located in Montemor o Novo in Portugal. The piece we were working on, titled DANCE, had already started materialising during two previous residency periods in Finland and Belgium, and the time we spent at O Espaço do Tempo provided us with a great opportunity to develop the work further. Like the name of the place suggests, it gave us exactly what we needed at the moment: space and time, along with the opportunity to share the process with insightful visiting artists and people working at the residency.
The core idea, and problem, of DANCE was to make a dance piece that would not be about something, and to make room for dance as a pleasurable, intellectual, and political activity in itself. Our working group at the residency consisted of three people: a choreographer, a dancer and a musician/designer. Our goal was to work on the choreographic and philosophical principles of the material in order to arrive at a general idea of the piece before we started to rehearse with all six of the dancers in August. The piece, which premiered in October, really seemed to benefit from this kind of approach, as it gave us the opportunity to concentrate on the rehearsing and dancing of the material during the final rehearsal period.
During the residency, we worked in two different studios out of which the one with wooden floors suited our work perfectly. On the last working day of the residency we had a short showing followed by a group talk with the residency staff and other visiting artists. This, along with the previous conversations we had had with others, provided us with new ways of thinking and writing about the work. It also gave us one experience of how the work interacts with its audience, and how this presence alters our own experience.