Choreography & Artistic Diretor
A spontaneous combustion of nothing suggests a rich and sudden flow of creativity, a blank slate and a multitude of possibilities at hand. Spontaneity speaks of uncertainty and quick changes. Combustion is a forceful event that spreads quickly. Nothing is a concept we can hardly grasp.
What is a combustion of nothing? How important is it, and how forceful can it be? Is there a combustion or is there not? How can something that does not exist combust? - The forming of the universe started with nothing, and the result is of incomprehensible complexity.
The title contains a strong contradiction, which serves as a metaphor for the absurdity of life. It reflects on the importance of small things and the immense influence they can have on our lives. Seemingly unimportant thoughts, memories and oddities of the individual become a catalyst for more prevalent situations or even for the shaping of a personality.
‘SCoN’ starts from nothing. There are no preconceived ideas or plans. Unpretentious, unmasked and therefore personal: creativity will find its way.
I start with interviews. The dancer is the point of interest. Her or his past, spontaneous thoughts and personality are the inspiration for movement sequences. I work with improvisation and association and develop individual solos with each dancer. The dancers’ desires to interact with each other and the environment is developed in tandem with the exploration of common denominators and differences within the group.
Interviews of all dancers are filmed and the films are projected on a large screen that spans the entire width and height of the back wall of the stage.
The dancers’ stories and experiences will define the space and the environment within which they interact. Costumes and props reflect on their individualities, significant characteristics and moments in their lives. What makes us who we are? What is the essence of you, me, her, him? What connects us all and connects us to the audience. The piece is based on individual truths which in return lead to conclusions about universal truths.
"Spontaneous Combustion of Nothing" explores the nearness and distance between people inspired by individual life stories. The dancers interview each other and the resulting film is projected on the big screen behind them throughout the piece. The color orange dominates the set. Orange is associated with a thirst for action, sexuality, longevity and obsession. While exploring the possibilities and hindrances of freeing the human mind of fears and personal restrictions the piece creates a dichotomy of hazard and safety. Orange is the color of bio hazard and the color of safety reminding others of our presence. Clothes and props such as lamps, parachutes and suitcases are used to define space and individualities.
Life keeps going no matter what happens to us, lives are lived, experiences are made, people meet and separate, are born or die. We each are a small entity and part of a very large system: life.
We are self centered and our perception is uniquely our own. It is impossible to feel what another human being feels. Yet we try.
“Spontaneous Combustion of Nothing” seeks the nearness of one another and explores our distances and their origins. “Spontaneous Combustion of Nothing” tends to think that we live and die without stirring too much commotion. The important thing that we have been waiting for, the fame, the enlightenment, the happy ending, immortality, heaven or hell is not going to happen. What really matters is the life we live right now. We make something of nothing and something will dissolve into nothing. “Spontaneous Combustion of Nothing” is not a big deal, it is rather about you and me, her, him. We tell small stories that we can relate to in our own ways and that sometimes can have a large impact on us.
In “Spontaneous Combustion of Nothing” we do what we feel like at the moment, resisting conformity and what is expected of us, allowing for an honest self portrait.
Supported by The Academy of Dance Arts and Wanda Plemmons, The Winston-Salem Foundation, Margaret Scales and Graydon Pleasants,Dance New Amsterdam New York City, Bob and Florence Turner,Studio 'Fit & Well' (Berlin, Germany), mad duck productions Graphic Designs, O'Kelly Design Studios, Swiftwater Media,
Premiere: February 22-24, 2007
Dance New Amsterdam, NYC (work in progress duet version, quintet version to be premiered 2010)
Duration: 17 minutes (duet), 60 minutes (quintet)