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The Experience

The Experience - Fourth wall down

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With the world full of commodities, consuming has become a reflex action, almost a synonym for living. However, more and more people are searching for authentic experiences. The more intimate these are the better. Dance is ideally suited to provide such experiences.

The basis of my work is about the removal of the fourth wall (the invisible wall separating the performers and the public) and creating the possibilities for an Authentic Experience which is shared by both the artist and the audience. An experience that initiates from the visceral reflexes and not only intellectual analysis.

One of my major interests has been to create site-specific perfomances, that facilitates this removal of the fourth wall and brings the public and artists closer both physically and emotionally. The challenge here is maintaining the highest artistic and technical qualities from the formal stage and placing it in an unconventional space.

Traditionally, dance performances take place in rigidly structured environments, with the proscenium as a firm barrier between performers and audience. This is still today the more common way of presenting dance. Though the social cultural landscape has evolved in most urban cosmopolitan scenes these dance performances are more often attended by like-minded people from similar backgrounds. Genres are not often mixed or combined. When done it is still most often presented in the traditional setting of a passive audience sitting in a darkened room looking at the performers from a distance. However, with the recent resurgence of popularity for dance, the re-imagining of how dance is presented is an inspiring motivation. Dance is not only about the movements, it is also about the space. In site-specific pieces the how and where the dance is presented makes a difference to how it is perceived. There is a fundamental difference between watching or seeing dance to experiencing dance. When dance is taken out of the usual context of the theatre room with a proscenium stage it provides for a profoundly different way to perceive dance.

Unlike the traditional theatre where the audience is fixed and their attention is focused on the stage, in my site-specific works the audience is sharing the same space as the performaers and is placed in the middle of what is happening. The piece becomes intimate and interactive, shifting their proximity and perspective. Being in the same space as the performers, the dance resonates intimately and deeply. This creates an emotional resonant response in both the artist and the audience alike. It not only unveils for the public the humanity of the performers. It also highlights the audience’s own humanity.

Seeing dance on a conventional proscenium stage is quite different to being in a salon of a 19th century villa or among statues, around a fountain or paintings and other art work. Or in a theatre foyer or auditorium. Dance on stage is about showing something. In a site-specific piece where the artists are up close the audience is physically engaged and not just passive observers. Their bodies and feelings are affected by the performer directly. The moment becomes a shared experience. These are moments of discovery where the "observer" ceases to be just an observer and becomes participant. The resonance is deeply felt. With the fourth wall removed the moment becomes immediately an Experience. Dance in an alternative space gives the audience the feel of living the dance.