In order to bring a broader view and experience of contemporary dance to Armenia, three emerging artists from the US and one from Europe will teach daily classes in a rented space in July 2016. These classes will provide the foundations for Armenian dance artists to create dance that challenges the norm. The guests will choreograph work for local dancers to be performed publicly. Through performances and partnerships with local residencies and theaters, the dance community will be strengthened.
The contemporary art community in Yerevan has a unique opportunity to build something fresh and new, but the marginalization of art and the lack of exposure to new forms of dance slow potential progress. Economic and cultural realities have created an isolated way of thinking resulting in biases toward classical dance. This leaves contemporary practices in a desired but unattainable place. In addition, audience exposure and engagement is low.
This is a continuation of work started by Audre Wirtanen earlier this year. We aim to develop the contemporary dance community in Yerevan by offering local dancers the chance to learn new approaches to choreography, improvisation, technique, and the experience of working with different choreographers. Local residencies and theaters will also be offered a partnership for curating conversations or events that they see as useful- connecting disparate art spaces and engaging a wider audience
The international choreographers have a studio space they will be working in full time. Classes will be offered every day to professional or university level dancers and actors interested in dance. Content of classes include modern technique infused with anatomy, improvisation, composition, ballet for contemporary dancers, and a class based around watching and discussing important contemporary works. Choreographers will also rehearse with their selected groups to make new work while exploring themes of interest including the brain, computing, politics, and capitalism. AJZ Space and the Institute of Contemporary Art, among others, will curate performances, conversations, and public relations in Yerevan.
We are doing this for the dancers in Armenia, the art community as a whole, and the public who may be interested in seeing innovative work happen in Yerevan. This is also an opportunity for the international choreographers to further their teaching practices, and make work while experiencing a different culture in a different place. An international exchange of learning and making will spark new ways of thinking for those involved.
Access to art and engagement in the arts is essential for social and political development. The project could be a model used to help advocate for parts of Europe that are not able to access progressive social practices. Progressive art making means progressive action in a community. If Armenian artists can utilize the new experience on their own terms and push their own limitations, it would begin to connect Armenian artists with others at new festivals, opening up opportunities not available.
Funding requested from Advocate Europe
The major expenses include travel expenses for the choreographers to Yerevan (4000 EUR), housing and studio rental (1500 EUR), food for the month (700 EUR), translator fees (700 EUR), costuming and performance needs (400 EUR), accounting/reporting (200 EUR) and public relations (500 EUR).