From May 29 to June 16 2007, a 3-week intensive dance course and international symposium
Dance Across Borders (DAB) was held in Bard College, New York, with choreographers and
dancers from 13 different countries participating. The topic of the symposium was
“The Body Politic”. The event was organized by an international association of dance
artists, brought to life in 1995 in New York. What makes DAB special is the diverse way
it’s participants approach the creation of contemporary dance, the use of body and sound,
and the development of the staging process. It is an cooperation-orientated open structure
directed at the research, analysis and description of different creative perspectives and
approaches, focusing especially on the choreographer’s inner reflection on the thought
processes and working methods. DAB is purposely independent of the choices of the
producers and curatos, and of profit-based judgmental approaches to the dance art.
The current symposium examined the extent of the limits, may they be geographical
or based on ideals and preconceptions, that we can overcome.
This year, the key topics of the symposium were body, community and politics. Each invited
choreographer showed an approximately 20-minute long performance in Theatre Two
of the Fisher Centre for the Arts of Bard College, gave a theoretical speech in the panel
on one of the given topics, and gave a master class or workshop on the implementation of
his/her creative principles. Fine5 Dance Theatre choreographers Tiina Ollesk and Rene Nõmmik
showed a new project "Landscaping in Progress" which is influent by aprill 2007 events in Tallinn.
How does our mindscape change by the events around us? Does the landscaping only change the
In addition to the choreographers, 25 dance students and professional dancers participated in the
events organized in the frameworks of the symposium, including the site-specific works of Noémie Lafrance
(USA/Canada) created on spot. From Estonia, Laura Kvelstein and Rain Saukas from
Fine5 Dance Theatre took part in the program and performances. Miss Lafrance transformed the landscapes, the installations and even the walls of the Fisher Centre into moving pictures, which confirms again the
aspiration of the art of dance to defy the laws of physics.
The performances staged during the symposium surprised with their matureness, with a bold presentation of the older generation, with a vastly different handwriting of the choreographers, and, at the same time,
with presentations that could be enjoyed to every detail. The boldness in posing questions, the critical mind and the extremely skillful and integrated use of other media of the choreographers was outstanding. All
that proved the correctness of the DAB manifest, which states that the participating choreographers/dancers are aware of their purpose – being aware of why and how we dance. A very positive feedback about the experimental openness and creator-friendly atmosphere of the 3-week symposium came from both the
choreographers and dancers, as well as the numerous audience. The event, which for the first time took place in Bard College, became an exciting discovery for the directorate of the college, as well as for
several supporters, encouraging them to take steps towards organizing the next festival, why not in Tallinn – the European Capital of Culture 2011? DAB favours a creative understanding defying internal and external limits in our complicated polarized world, and helps create mental ties between the professionals of different countries and nationalities. The participation of Fine5 Dance Theatre in DAB was supported by the
Foundation of the Cultural Endowment of Estonia and The Estonian Ministry of Culture. The producer of “Landscaping in progress” is the Independent Association of Dance.