Thought, poetry and the body in action

Program text of a workshop by Vera Mantero in Tanzwerkstatt Berlin, Summer 2001

Programme note 1 Aug 2001English

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Mantero’s process of work is in close relationship with her understanding of the world and her political and philosophical views on it. Thought, the necessity and almost obligation to think, is an intrinsic part of the work. Thinking our way of life, thinking society, thinking the systems in which we are involved. Which also means questioning, rethinking, and experimenting in action alternatives to that way of life. The work is a tool to think and people attending the laboratory should be genuinely interested in thought. A non-hierarchical perspective of relations is fundamental to her. As is the idea that one individual is much less capable of achieving a vision than several individuals who join to think and understand something together. Therefore her working process is unconceivable in any other way than as group thought and group work. Believing that in western culture individuals are highly deprived of several dimensions in existence and that that is a major factor for our cultural and ecological crisis, enlarging our possibilities of experience (in terms of states of consciousness, relations – with the surrounding space, objects and individuals – and imaginary) is an important objective in the work. Maybe in other words: the politics of sensibility, spirit and the erotic; a need not only for social justice but for creative justice.

It is also a purpose of the laboratory to study the creation of movement and the composition of performances in close relation to each individual’s own thoughts and personal ways of seeing and feeling things. Working with what, for each one, is fundamental, astonishing, fascinating, intriguing and revolting. Using the work to grab the moment, in each one and in the surrounding world. Using multiplicity, simultaneity, dissonance and contrast as compositional tools which allow to group together different points of the reality surrounding us. Improvisation plays a large role in finding and working the materials. Work is also done on the use of all possible instruments present in the body: dance, movement, gesture, action, speaking and singing voice, writing and the different uses of text. Relaxation, breathing and free association are some means to be used in order to find the movements and actions going on inside each one. Some of these means are explored separately first in order to incorporate them later in longer and more complex improvisational and compositional processes.

Getting inside a particular state of consciousness is important. Awareness and use of space, and the exploration of objects and materials is also focused upon. "Literature and philosophy can take us further (!). Irony and empty hands will take us there (!!)".