Anne Linn Akselsen, ““Documentation project – teaching contemporary dance. Conversation with Janet Panetta.”, Talk, Departments of Dance.
Anne-Linn Akselsen in interview with Janet Panetta, related to the research project “Contemporary dance – a workbook”, about different methods for teaching contemporary dance or teaching dance to contemporary dancers.
Janet Panetta is a legend in teaching ballet for contemporary dancers. She has developed strategies for how to convey this classical technique to dancers from various backgrounds, and she always manages to get across the importance of the basic elements in ballet as universal tools – The principles of alignment taught in the exercises and combinations have been developed to build a firm technical foundation and to allow freedom of movement. Rhythm, line and weight all become learning tools that can be transferred to other styles of dance.
This interview is the first of many and this work created the base for the research project that aspires to document and create written traces of the different strategies and methods for teaching contemporary dance today, and in this case, how to teach this specific technique to contemporary dancers.
Contemporary dance is a broad, collective term for many different approaches to dance and choreography in the present. When talking about teaching contemporary dance, we often talk about invention, and development of new approaches to understand and develop physical practices. This project aims to map different practices and approaches to contemporary dance – exploring how artistic practices is translated into a conveyable language, and how practices from other artistic and scientific fields have been used to create methods for teaching contemporary dance. In collaboration with the artists, who are the driving forces and authors of their respective practices, the project aims to contribute to a more open culture of sharing of methods and practices and give a broader understanding of the complexity of the art form. The discourse around issues such as “what is technique”, and how we relate to new and traditional forms, can through this research project potentially get a broader theoretical basis, as well as provide documentation on artists’ experience with this work.
The research project will be based om interviews and reflections and will eventually culminate in a book.