– 21 January 2020 Improvising to Collaborate – Collaborating to Improvise research presentation with Martin Sonderkamp during the annual research week at the University of the Arts Stockholm
– June 2019 Bodies in the Making interactive danced lecture with generous participation of Norah Zuniga Shaw, Soundance Festival Berlin
-13 June 2019 Learning to Improvise – Improvising to Learn interactive danced lecture with generous participation of Alexandra Macdonald and EPFL master students, during the Symposium on Higher Education Learning through Performance Practices, EPFL Lausanne, Switzerland
-23 March 2019, IMPROGINEERING or Move Towards the Unknown, Fall Into a Gap, and Find a Body There, together with Simon Henein, international conference Society of Artistic Research SAR, Zürich.
-25 January 2019 Improvisation and Engineering, Eawag, The Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science & Technology, Zürich, Switzerland
-7 September 2018 IMPROGINEERING interactive lecture performance together with Simon Henein and Joelle Valterio, Conférence Européenne de l’Improvisation (CEPI) Haute Ville, Puget, France
See on the website of epfl.ch:
-30 January 2020 Dancing Age(ing): an Ongoing Practice and a Danced Lecture conference on intersectionality, Royal Conservatoire Antwerp, dance department, Belgium
-26 September 2019 Dancing Age(ing) Interdisziplinäres Dialogforum Mensch und Endlichkeit, Goldegg, Austria
-9 May 2019 Dancing Age(ing): Strategien der Aneignung oder des Sich-Befremden-Lassens? Ein getanzter Vortrag, University Leipzig, Institut for theatre studies, Germany
-29 November 2018 Dancing Age(ing) – Performing Ambiguity, conference Cultural Perspectives on Ageing, Schloss Herrenhausen, Hannover, Germany
– 27 June 2018 Performing Ambiguity a danced lecture, Chichester University, UK
-5 May 2018 Improvising Age(ing): a danced lecture, Kiev, Ukraine
– 14-16 February 2018 Die Vieldeutigkeit von Alter(n) performen: a danced lecture
6. Werkstattgespräch des interdisziplinären Arbeitskreises Ambivalenz: Altern und biographische Übergänge, Goethe Universität Frankfurt am Main, Germany
-25 October 2018 Ties & Bonds, together with Alex Nowitz, conference Alliances & Communalities, University of the Arts, Stockholm, Sweden
-7 April 2018 Learning. Teaching. Dancing. An interactive danced lecture, Tanzfabrik Berlin
-29 November 2017 live acts, moving bodies, and the sharing of time and ideas: a danced lecture, artistic research conference, Swedish arts council, Stockholm
– September 2017, Searching for the Fountain of Age – a danced lecture, Colloquium on Artistic Research in Performing Arts (CARPA 5), Theatre Academy and the Academy of Fine Arts, Uniarts
See publication: https://nivel.teak.fi/carpa5/susanne-martin-searching-for-the-fountain-of-age-script-of-a-danced-lecture/
-7 July 2017, Improvising Age(ing) or dancing around the fountain of youth and the fountain of age – a danced lecture and workshop, Dance & Somatic Practices Conference, Centre for Dance Research (C-DaRE) Coventry University, UK
-29 June 2017, Dancing Age(ing) as Artistic Research – Embodied Practice and Artistic Research: Debating European Artistic Doctorates in Dance and Performance, Seminar organised by Artistic Doctorates in Europe (ADiE), RESEARCH PAVILION: UTOPIA OF ACCESS, Biennale di Venezia 2017, Research Pavilion, Theatre Space
-29 April 2017, Dancing Age(ing): Strategies for Rethinking Age(ing) in Contemporary Dance, ENAS Conference: Cultural Narratives, Processes and Strategies in Representations of Age and Aging, University of Graz, Austria
– 7 Dec 2016, Performing Age(ing): Sliding through Time – a danced lecture, Academy of Music and Drama, University of Gothenburg, Sweden
-1 Dec 2016, Performing Age(ing): Sliding through Time – a danced lecture, SITE, artistic platform and production house for contemporary performing arts, Stockholm, Sweden
-29 Nov 2016, Performing Age(ing): Sliding through Time – a danced lecture, swedish research council’s symposium on artistic research, Linnaeus University Växjö, Sweden
02 August 2014 – Staging Age
Lecture-Performance at Festival Performing Presence – Improvisation Xchange Berlin, Venue: EDEN Studios, curated by Jenny Haack, see also website berlinartsunited.com
Set in the context of contemporary dance this thesis investigates how improvisation practice and performance making participate in a critical rethinking of age(ing). Advancing the notion of an age critical dance practice, the research draws on the theoretical frameworks of age studies – a multidisciplinary field of critical inquiry informed by, largely speaking, feminist and poststructuralist theories. The age critical dance practice developed in this thesis, in turn, enters into conversation with the discourses established in age studies and dance studies as a way to incorporate age critique into dance.
The thesis is a Practice as Research project consisting of a written thesis, two solo performances (The Fountain of Youth, premiered 2013, and The Fountain of Age, premiered 2015), and employs immersive dance based research methods such as the development of a Solo Partnering practice (as documented on DVD). The research also remodels the method of qualitative interviewing into a performative method that allows the participating expert practitioners to tap into their unique improvisation and performance expertise when addressing their particular understanding of age(ing).
Through the development and analysis of improvised practice and performance making, alongside in-depth performative interviews, the findings of this research point to ways in which improvisation and performance embody age critical potential. The long-term, open-ended and agentic artistic processes that improvisation experts develop all share a range of characteristics that serve to challenge the established youth-orientation in dance and constitute an implicitly critical position to dominant understandings of age(ing) in dance. Consequently, the thesis argues that improvisation practices ‘do’ age(ing) in ways less prone to dualistic stereotyping and reiterations of (self-) discriminatory age(ing)-as-decline narratives that dominate our culture as a whole. The research also suggests strategies in performance making that enable representations of age(ing) in ways that collide with, resist, or complicate normative expectations on age(ing). The dance works presented in this thesis allow the dancer to articulate shifting perspectives and experiences, creating ambiguous meanings and disjunctive narratives of age(ing), and thereby making explicit a critical position towards the grand narratives of age(ing).
In conclusion, this research argues that specific approaches to a long-term, open-ended dance practice, alongside critical images and new imaginations of age(ing) in performance, allow dance to evolve as an age critical arts practice.
Susanne Martin and Alex Nowitz
Premiere: July 7, 2016, at festival Improvisation Xchange Berlin – berlin arts united at Dock 11, Berlin
Duration: 60 min
An interdisciplinary dialogue between two artistic research projects, one based in dance, the other in voice/live electronics
(spoken language English)
In this three-part performance Susanne Martin and Alex Nowitz each share, explain, and perform aspects of their respective research for the other and for the audience. Susanne’s research “Dancing Age(ing)” rethinks age(ing) critically in and through improvisation practice and performance. With “The Multi-Vocal Voice” Alex traces the potentialities for the contemporary performance voice without and with technological means, i.e. live electronic instruments. Finally they enter into a duet improvisation in which they allow their ideas and modes of performing to merge, interact and possibly inspire each other.
21. November 2013: Werkstattgespräch kulturelle Generationenarbeit, Berlin
Titel: 18800 Bewegungen und 1000 Worte, an deren Ende wir alle 30 Minuten älter sein werden – Ein getanzter Vortrag
12. October 2013: Symposium of Society for Dance Research at Middlesex University. London ‚New Visions on Dance‘
Titel: Dancing Age(ing): An improvisation-based performance of 18800 movements and 1000 words during which we grow 30 minutes older
12.-14. September 2013: 4. Werkstattgesprächs des Interdisziplinären Arbeitskreises Ambivalenz
„Ambivalenz und soziale Praxis“ Inter- und intrapersonale Potenziale ambivalenter Erfahrungen
Institut für Soziologie, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster
Titel: Performing the Ambiguity of Age(ing) – Ein getanzter Vortrag
6. – 9. June 2013: ‚Tanzkongress‘ im Tanzhaus Düsseldorf
Titel: Dance in a Critical Discourse on Ageing / Tanz im kritischen Diskurs über das Altern
Respondent: Katherine Mezur
1. June 2013: ‚Contact Samstag‘ – One festival day with CI classes, outstanding CI teachers, evening jam, organic food, chill out, lecture, discussions
Titel: The Fountain of Youth: Dance in a Critical Discourse on Ageing
AREAL geöffnet, 31. August 2013, 17.30 – 21.00 Uhr, Uferstudio 11
The AREAL_Artistic Research Lab Berlin is a network initiative of dancers, choreographers and dance reseachers, supported by Tanzfabrik Berlin. AREAL runs monthly labs for its members as well as regular Open Studios to share and discuss diverse artistic research practices in dance with the public.
Das AREAL_Artistic Research Lab Berlin ist eine 2011 mit Unterstützung der Tanzfabrik gegründete Netzwerk-Initiative von Künstler_innen mit transdisziplinären, forschungsorientierten Arbeitsansätzen im Bereich Tanz und Performance. Beim Open Studio gibt ein Teil der Gruppe Einblicke in die laufenden Arbeitsprozesse. Mit Geöffnet schafft ein Teil der bei AREAL mitarbeitenden Künstler_innen einen Raum für parallele Arbeitspräsentationen mit kurzen Phasen der Hervorhebung einzelner Ansätze. Während einer durchgehenden Installation wird der Ausstellungsraum zirka halbstündlich mit kurzen Einführungen, Experimenten und Performances bespielt.
Folgende Künstler_innen des Netzwerks Geöffnet geben dabei einen Einblick in laufende Arbeitsprozesse: Joa Hug, Andrea Keiz, Paula Kramer, Susanne Martin, Crosby McCloy, Katja Münker
Photos: Paula Kramer, Crosby McCloy
My PhD research engages with the premise that Western artistic dance can be seen as holding an interesting multi-layered position in relation to age(ing). On one hand, it most often focuses on youthful physicality and therefore takes part in an unquestioned marginalisation of ageing bodies, which, according to critical age studies (Woodward 1999, Gullette 2004, Lipscomb/ Marshall 2010), pervades Western culture as a whole. On the other hand, it is a potential site of experiencing and presenting human bodies in new and unexpected ways. Therefore dance may also enable ways of appreciating our bodily being beyond a narrow focus on athleticism and an attractiveness, which is commonly assured by youthfulness.
My research focuses on improvisation-based dance making. My main argument is, that improvisation-based dance forms and their specific working methods may offer ways of practicing and performing dance that have the potential to challenge previously unquestioned understandings of age(ing) in the field of dance and possibly beyond.
The research unfolds from the hypothesis that it needs an in-depth engagement with the practice of improvisation-based dance and the working conditions negotiated in the practice to reveal if and how such an age-critical potential might be realised. My research approach, therefore, uses artistic practice as the primary mode of enquiry, interacting with and framed by an analysis of other artists’ approaches and the theoretical insights of critical age studies, which challenge dominant representations of the ageing body, a stereotypical understanding of the life course, and a gendered bias in regard to the social impact and consequences of getting older.
So far my research, approached as an evolving embodied Practice as Research mode of enquiry in dance, is realised by actively intertwining three distinct but interdependent modes of research engagement.
1. Modes of Artistic Enquiry
I have developed ‘Solo Partnering’ as a long-term improvisational studio practice and ‘Performing Age(ing)’ as a specific choreographic process. Both practices grapple with the theme of age(ing) creatively whilst further offering propositions for re-thinking working methods/ structures for mid-life dance artists.
2. Modes of Documentation
Through a detailed written practice logbook and video documentation of my working processes and performances I have implemented documentation methods that trace the practice and allow me to reconstruct and reflect the steps taken in my practical enquiry of Solo Partnering and Performing Age(ing) in the written part of the thesis.
3. Modes of Contextual and Theoretical Reflection
The development of a critical, reflective position towards my research subject allows me to articulate the presumptions, creative strategies and age critical potential inherent in/ developed by my artistic practice. This critical position is gained through examining critical age studies, other artists’ approaches, relevant literature on dance, as well as through interviews with acclaimed older dance makers, participant observations and the on-going drafting of ideas and questions arising throughout the research process.
Photos Lars Åsling, Graphic Sophie Jahnke
The Shadow and The Fountain of Youth – Two Dances on Staying Alive
As a new step in their long-term collaboration Bronja Novak Lindblad (Göteborg) & Susanne Martin (Berlin) have created each a solo on the same subject: the facts of getting older and sustaining in the world of dance. ”The Shadow” by Novak and ”The Fountain of Youth” by Martin are two creative and quirky responses to the exciting challenge of moving forward in time.
Premiere: 19 April 2013, Atalante, Gothenburg, www.atalante.org
Additional performances: Dance and Theatre Festival Gothenburg, Sweden, 2014. Venue: 3e våningen
Sound: Anna Gustavsson
Light: Thomas Dotzler
Production: Big Wind/ Sofia Åhrman, www.bigwind.se
Supported by: Swedish Arts Council, City of Gothenburg, Tanzfabrik Berlin
The Fountain of Youth
Photos Lars Åsling
A solo/ dance/ piece/ lecture/ performance by Susanne Martin
Duration: 45 min
Additional performances: Grove Theatre, Middlesex University London, November 2014
The Fountain of Youth
Is a dance on forever-youngness and on being old enough to tell the story differently
The Fountain of Youth
Is an untrustworthy lecture on trusting an ever-changing body
The Fountain of Youth
Is also a core part of my doctoral research in dance, dedicated to exploring and questioning dominant views on ageing dancing bodies through my own improvisation-based dance practice and performance making
Salon Guest: Amos Hetz
04.09.2011 at Tanzfabrik Berlin
Amos Hetz is a dancer and movement teacher, looking for expanding his movement vocabulary through the use of the Eshkol Wachman Movement Notation and the heritage of the somatic learning. He composes solo dances, dance-collaborations, and movement games. For the last 22 years he was artistic director of the „Room Dances Festival“ in Israel.
Amos: „I understand my movement apparatus as a big orchestra of many limbs, in which each limb has its own character. It is calling me to listen to my imagination, as well as to my memory, and to my movement interests that are moving as well. The interest in the small gesture, and in the coordination between the different limbs is the motive behind all my movement activities: performing, teaching and conducting dance projects. I am swinging between the integrated movement and differentiated gestures. This process of moving my awareness from the extremities to the spine and to the shift of weight is bringing me closer to be one.”
Notes from Gabi & Susi, taken during the Salon
Born 1933 – Still dancing
Can I say ‘old’ performer or is it rude? old = mature? – young = immature?
Something about time and presence – Something about just looking interesting in whatever you do, because there is some life experience behind it – Something about not being so influenced by others anymore
Amos is dancing behind the pillar, choreographing perception, resonance – What do we do when we run out of time here? – Everyone wants to be 27 and wise and beautiful – The perception of time: Is one’s perception of time relative to one’s own age? – Interest in the small, the less – When is an artist old? What does old mean? – The anxiety of not being fulfilled gives the sense of feeling late
„I’m already concerned with ageing at 31“ – Velocity, speed – is there space for ‘Entschleunigung’? – Still dancing: Anna Halprin, Steve Paxton, Simone Forti, Deborah Hay
Susanne: I love to see older people on stage, and I would like to become one of them myself. There are several ways to contribute to that. One is that I’m looking for ways and strategies for myself that allow me physically and creatively to keep going performing dancing as a life long practice. Another is that I’m studying the strategies and underlying concepts and ideas and circumstances of older performers who have an improvisational focus in their performance work. Because that is the field I’m working in and know the most of myself, and that is the field where I met the most exciting artists and choreographers. One of them is Amos Hetz. I met Amos through one of his choreographic projects, “Vexations” in which I participated twice (1997? and 2010).
During Vexation I experienced him as an old artist with a very specified and detailed aesthetic and interest, who nevertheless invites performers very different from himself to collaborate in his performance score. And the score he proposed, although tight and rigorous, still had gaps and spaces for our divers choreographic practices. I experienced the whole 12-hour performance, not only as a composition and meeting of all our aesthetics and motivations, but as an active negotiation between all of us. But especially between him as the director and us bringing along our own individual universes.This openness and effort of negotiation and dialogue seems to me one key of how to keep a dance practice alive through decades, through changing fashions and changing artistic values.
„Material zu Rosi tanzt Rosi“ Eine Soloimprovisation
Freistil at Tanzfabrik Berlin 6. 4. 2008
Was macht Tanz lesbar für die Zuschauer?
Was ist der Text eines Tanzes?
Wie erhalte ich meine Freiheit in der Improvisation, wenn ich mit klaren thematischen Grenzen und Narration arbeite?
“Neuigkeiten aus der Rosi-Welt“ eine Improvisation von Susanne Martin
Freistil at Tanzfabrik Berlin 3.5. 2009
“Rosi tanzt Rosi“ ist ein Solo Projekt, dass sich durch 2 Jahre Masterstudium zieht und auch mein Abschlussstück bilden wird.
Für Freistil gibt es das Neueste von Neuen aus Rosis Welt.
photos David Bergé
Performances at Critical Path, Sydney and Lucy Guerin Studio, Melbourne in January 2009 during the residency at Critical Path, and as semester-presentation for MA SODA at HZT Berlin at Uferstudios Berlin
„During her stay in Sydney and Melbourne she will work on her solo Rosi tanzt Rosi, dealing in it with the notion of narration in solo dance, narration in Improvisation, with aging, the female solo as 20 century’s dance, mask work, character work. She will have a work in progress showing and a practice based research weekend with interested colleagues on these subjects, both in Sydney and in Melbourne.“ (program Melbourne)
In giving Rosi more and more history and detail without wanting to arrive at a coherent, possibly real life person, I’m at the moment seeing her as living through, as carrying with her the whole time span of twentieth century. In my process with her I meet female liberation, expressionism, World War II, entanglement with fascism, migration and survival of the first half of the century, as well as the conquest of uni-sex athleticism, of feminine seduction, of informality and quotidian movements of the second half. And I meet the end of these kind of female dances; Rosi as phased out model, a pathetic last subject on stage. (Feb. 2009)
Photos Rita Roberto
Performances: July 2008 at Uferstudios Berlin as part of MA SODA research showings and
August 2008 at HALLE Berlin as part of the International Dance Festival Tanz im August
Supported by: HZT Berlin
Rosi tanzt Rosi is a piece, a process, a movement towards a fictional character; it’s also my continuous research subject/object throughout my MA studies (Solo/ Dance/ Authorship at HZT Berlin). When she appeared first she was a dream figure, a projection born out of the sexual fantasies of Claudia (solo 2005). Then she became a real person, a dancer, somebody that is professionally impersonating the erotic fantasies of her audience (and by now in this job since 40 years). Then she became an ageing Rosas dancer; then an highly honoured soloist celebrating her retirement from stage at the age of 60 (January 08); then she was object to dance science (February 08). Now she’s returning to stage.
Rosi tanzt Rosi ist ein Stück, ein Stück Prozess, die Annäherung an eine Figur, auch mein roter Faden durch mein Studium. In ihrem ersten Erscheinen war Rosi eine Wunschfigur, die Projektion sexueller Träume von Claudia (Solo von 2005). Dann wurde sie zur realen Figur, eine Tänzerin, eine Person, die berufsmäßig Projektionsfläche erotischer Fantasien ist – mit inzwischen 40 Jahren Berufserfahrung. Dann wurde sie zur in die Jahre gekommenen Rosas-Tänzerin. Dann wurde sie zur hochverehrten Solistin, die zu ihrem sechzigsten Geburtstag ihren Bühnenabschied begeht (Januar 08). Dann wurde sie zum Objekt der Tanzwissenschaft (Februar 08). Jetzt widmete sie sich plötzlich (ein Comeback?) der Improvisation.
Photos Andrea Keiz
Duration: 10 min.
Performances: 3./ 4. Jan. 2008 at Sophiensaele Berlin during the festival Tanztage 2008
Supported by: HZT Berlin
„Ist das nicht ein bisschen…….?“
„Aber die Leute lieben sie“
„Irgendwann muss doch mal Schluss sein …. Du hast schon den Artikel gelesen……? (…) und zeugt ihr Tun eigentlich von einem fortschreitenden Realitätsverlust oder eher von selbstbewusst zukunftsweisender Verschiebung tanzästhetischer Grenzen oder handelt es sich um profane ökonomische Verzweiflung? (…)“
„Na hybrid halt, postmodern, das könnte Kult werden“
In der Fortsetzung der Familiensage „JULIO “ (2006) ist „Rosi tanzt Rosi“ eine weitere Charakterstudie. Im Gegensatz zu den liebenswerten Laientänzern Klaus und Claudia bei „JULIO “ ist Rosi eine Vollbluttänzerin und das Stück eine Hinwendung zu Choreographie im traditionellen Sinne.
A piece about longing, ageing and the music of Julio Iglesias
Photos Antonella Travascio
JULIO is a patchwork project. It has been presented internationally in different versions and lengths. The two solos can also stand for themselves and have been performed independently. The group version with guest lecturer and singer is at the moment only available in German language. The guest appearance of Julio Iglesias unfortunately had to be cancelled for budget reasons.
Supported by: Berlin – Senatskanzlei – Kulturelle Angelegenheiten, Fonds Darstellende Künste e.V., Tanzfabrik Berlin
Group Version – 90 min – German language (English/ Spanish):
premiered in Tanzfabrik Berlin, April 2006, with Eliane Hutmacher, Olaf Stuve, AnnA Stein, Susanne Martin and a film by Andrea Keiz and Susanne
Solo Version – 60 min – English or German (Spanish):
premiered during Notafe Dancefestival Viljandi, Estonia, July 2006, with Susanne Martin and a film by Andrea Keiz and Susanne
Photos AnnA Stein
Press: “ein kurzweiliges und herzwarmes Stück über die verschwommenen Wahrheiten der Unterhaltungsmusik, über Sehnsüchte und Selbstfindung und darüber, dass man für letzteres doch nie zu alt ist.“
“The overall effect resonated ambiguously and intriguingly between blunt comedy and poignant character study”
“Martin hits the right note. The result is tenderly comical, smilingly human. A Chaplin for the 21st Century.”
Old Herr K. Müh talks silently about his outset for a more sensuous life. The elderly Claudia shows talkative her ever concealed desires. The referee opens the possibility to think gender anew, while the kitsch singer next to him counterpoints him. A documentary film about old tourists in Mallorca hopes to find the individual fragility, oddness and claims to love inside the stereotyped mass concept of a controlled “luxury of the minimum” for pensioners on the “German island”. During a jazz dance duet with a friend (Amigos) Herr Müh twists around again every clarity on identity, and the evening is framed by a silent observing view on a hotel swimming pool in the photos of AnnA Stein. During all this appears again and again the music of Julio Iglesias as Leitmotiv.
Der alte Herr K. Müh erzählt stumm von seinem Aufbrechen in ein sinnlicheres Leben, die alternde Claudia zeigt wortreich die verhinderten Begehren, ein Bildungsreferent eröffnet die Möglichkeit Geschlechtlichkeit neu zu denken, während die Schnulzensängerin ihn konterkariert. Der Film Golden Playa über Seniorenpaare und Singles auf Mallorca hofft in der stereotypen Massenhoffnung vom kontrollierten Mindestluxus für Rentner auf der „deutschen Insel“ die individuellen Brüche, Verschrobenheiten, Liebesansprüche und –erinnerungen ans Licht zu holen. Im Jazztanzduett mit einem Freund verdreht Herr Müh noch mal alle Klarheiten von Identität. Der Abend wird eingerahmt von der still beobachtenden Aufsicht eines Hotelswimmingpools in den Fotos von AnnA Stein. Zu all dem taucht leitmotivisch immer wieder die Musik von Julio Iglesias auf.
Old Herr K. Müh talks silently about his outset for a more sensuous life.
The elderly Claudia shows talkative her ever-concealed desires and invites the audience for a kissing experiment.
The film Golden Playa, about winter tourists in Mallorca, hopes to find the individual fragility, oddity and claims to love inside the stereotyped concept of a Mediterranean holiday island.
In between we see the very personal music video Music For Lovers.
During all this appears again and again the music of Julio Iglesias as Leitmotiv.
A film by Andrea Keiz and Susanne Martin, 17 min
spoken language: German, with English and Spanish subtitles
In this documentary film (arty as well) I wanted to give the word to the old themselves. With the video artist Andrea Keiz I spent two weeks during winter season in a typical “German” hotel in Mallorca, contacting older people, interviewing, having conversations. Embedded in the background of a holiday paradise for German pensioners and petty bourgeois I interviewed old couples and singles about love, relationships and longings.
The film was made for and presented during the piece JULIO and supported by Berlin – Senatskanzlei – Kulturelle Angelegenheiten, Fonds Darstellende Künste e.V., Tanzfabrik Berlin