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 Post subject: Jonathan Burrows & J. Ritsema - 'Weak Dance, Strong Que
PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2001 3:15 pm 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
Image <BR><small>Jonathan Burrows Group - Dance Umbrella 1999</small> <P><BR><B>Jonathan Burrows & J. Ritsema - 'Weak Dance, Strong Questions'</B><P>Who is the most highly regarded UK choreographer in Continental Europe? It's an argument that could go on for ages, but being commissioned by William Forsythe of Ballett Frankfurt and Sylvie Guillem must be strong indicators in favour of Jonathan Burrows. <P>He is highly regarded by many UK critics for his innovative dance, but audiences are not easy to find here for his work here. Someone in his team once said that he could get bigger audiences in Estonia than in Manchester. Burrows now lives in Belgium and Dance Umbrella provides a rare opportunity to see his work. <P>Here are the calendar details from the <A HREF="http://www.danceumbrella.co.uk/menu.htm" TARGET=_blank><B>Dance Umbrella website</B></A>. Click on the coloured dates for programme information and on the venue name for theatre details. <P>Here's Debra Craine's take on an <A HREF="http://www.times-archive.co.uk/news/pages/tim/98/10/28/timartdan01002.html?1376249" TARGET=_blank><B>earlier Burrows show</B></A> <P><BR><p>[This message has been edited by Stuart Sweeney (edited September 28, 2001).]


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 Post subject: Re: Jonathan Burrows & J. Ritsema - 'Weak Dance, Strong Que
PostPosted: Fri Sep 28, 2001 10:50 am 
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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><BR>Goodbye tradition, hello the world<BR>On the eve of Dance Umbrella, Nadine Meisner meets Jonathan Burrows and Russell Maliphant, two choreographers now far from their Royal Ballet origins <HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P><A HREF="http://enjoyment.independent.co.uk/theatre/dance/story.jsp?story=96391" TARGET=_blank> <B> MORE... </B> </A>


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 Post subject: Re: Jonathan Burrows & J. Ritsema - 'Weak Dance, Strong Que
PostPosted: Fri Oct 05, 2001 2:06 am 
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<B>JONATHAN BURROWS: ARRIVING AS YOURSELF</B><P>WHO: JONATHAN BURROWS / JAN RITSEMA<BR>WHEN: FRI 5 - SUN 7 NOV<BR>WHERE: ICA THEATRE<BR>TICKETS: 020 7930 3647<P>Here's what one member of the German press wrote about Jonathan Burrows and Jan Ritsema's Weak Dance Strong Questions: <B>'A dance duet which consistently denies all desire and expectation.' Balance that against this: 'Opens up... a huge uncultivated field of unspent and exciting movement.'</B> Hmmm. Burrows himself somewhat nervously avows that anything he might say about the 50-minute performance <B>"would be entirely unhelpful. The nature of the piece is about allowing people their own response."</B> His advice to an audience? <B>"Just arrive as yourselves."</B><P>Burrows, who in younger days was a soloist at the Royal Ballet, is an independent choreographer in his early 40s. Ritsema, a director well-known among theatre-going audiences in Belgium and his native Holland, is about a decade and a half older. He only started dancing publicly a few years ago, picking up experience in projects steered by erstwhile Umbrella participant Meg Stuart. Burrows expresses admiration for his performance partner: <B>"It's quite extraordinary for somebody to come into the complexities and dualities of the dance world and, by cutting right across them, put all those struggles in a different perspective."</B><P>The collaboration with Ritsema, says Burrows, had an organic gestation. Moving in the same circles, so to speak, they began to work together on something that wasn't necessarily planned as a dance performance. They used text in their research, but eventually resisted <B>"the concrete nature of words, because they were sticking us in places we didn't want to be stuck."</B> It turns out the pair were after something purer, more unadorned than (according to one reviewer) even Merce Cunningham has achieved. The use of the word 'weak' in the title makes Burrows very happy, he says, because <B>"a lot of dance is about extremes, whether it is of strength and flexibility or emotion."</B> So what happens in this show? <B>"We dance. There are no other elements."</B> No music? <B>"No."</B> Lighting? <B>"You can see."</B> Uh, okay. <B>"None of these things were decided arbitrarily,"</B> he adds. The point, it seems, is to create <B>"an individual relationship to the event"</B> that allows for <B>"a state of wondering, doubting. Is it this, or is it that? Maybe it's both. There's no certainty."</B> One thing Burrows is sure of: <B>"When Jan and I walk on, each time we risk everything."</B><P>It sounds a bit like a dance version of the old pop-philosophical musing, Is the glass half-empty or half-full? Limited seating practically guarantees sold-out houses, so book early. Each night there'll be a post-show discussion. Burrows, rest assured, will be all ears.<P><P>------------------<BR>This interview was posted by Stuart Sweeney on behalf of Donald Hutera.<P>Donald Hutera writes regularly on dance and arts for The Times, Evening Standard, Time Out, Dance Europe, Dance Magazine (US) and Dance Now. He is co-author, with Allen Robertson, of The Dance Handbook.<P>This interview first appeared in either the Spring or Autumn 2001 editions of Dance Umbrella News. <BR> <BR>Join Dance Umbrella's mailing list to receive future editions of Dance Umbrella News. <BR>Call: 020 8741 5881 <BR>Email: mail@danceumbrella.co.uk <BR>Web: <A HREF="http://www.danceumbrella.co.uk" TARGET=_blank>www.danceumbrella.co.uk</A>

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This interview was posted by Stuart Sweeney on behalf of Donald Hutera and first appeared in Dance Umbrella News.

Donald Hutera writes regularly on dance and arts for The Times, Evening Standard, Time Out, Dance Europe, Dance Magazine (US) and Dance Now. He is co-author, with Allen Robertson, of The Dance Handbook.

Join Dance Umbrella's mailing list to receive future editions of Dance Umbrella News.
Call: 020 8741 5881
Email: mail@danceumbrella.co.uk
Web: www.danceumbrella.co.uk


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 Post subject: Re: Jonathan Burrows & J. Ritsema - 'Weak Dance, Strong Que
PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2001 10:47 pm 
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Review in The Guardian<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><BR>How much can you strip away from a dance performance and still make it count as dance? It's an issue that minimalist choreographers have been probing ever since the 1960s, and it's one that Jonathan Burrows addresses with peculiar doggedness in his latest piece, Weak Dance Strong Questions. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P><A HREF="http://www.guardian.co.uk/reviews/story/0,3604,565224,00.html" TARGET=_blank> <B> MORE </B> </A>


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 Post subject: Re: Jonathan Burrows & J. Ritsema - 'Weak Dance, Strong Que
PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2001 4:14 am 
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Jonathan Burrows, ICA Theatre, London<P>A mover and a shaker<BR>John Percival<BR>10 October 2001<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Just what do we see when looking at Weak Dance, Strong Questions? Well, there are two men already in the performance space, wearing casual clothes and exchanging a few quiet words, when the ICA (tardily as ever) admits us to the theatre. The men in question are patient while we shuffle in and find seats, as well they might be since we recognise one as Jonathan Burrows and guess the other must be his fellow performer Jan Ritsema. Burrows, English and in his early forties, is well known as a gifted dancer and choreographer; Ritsema, Dutch in his mid-fifties, is a drama director who lately has ventured into other activities.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P><A HREF="http://enjoyment.independent.co.uk/theatre/dance/reviews/story.jsp?story=98577" TARGET=_blank><B>more....</B></A>


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 Post subject: Re: Jonathan Burrows & J. Ritsema - 'Weak Dance, Strong Que
PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2001 11:22 pm 
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Ismene Brown in The Telegraph (Please scroll down article).<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR> It's an unfair world, and Jonathan Burrows, even when he is scribbling repressively, can't help drawing the clearest lines with the way he moves. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P><A HREF="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/et?ac=005760794236107&rtmo=rQmSSbhX&atmo=rrrrrrrq&pg=/et/01/10/11/btinfl11.html" TARGET=_blank> <B> MORE... </B> </A>


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 Post subject: Re: Jonathan Burrows & J. Ritsema - 'Weak Dance, Strong Que
PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2001 1:13 am 
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Allen Robertson of the Times discusses Dance Umbrella in general and, scrolling down the article, Jonathan Burrows, in particular:<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>It proved a blessed relief to discover Umbrella’s second attraction danced in silence — apart from the subliminal hum of traffic on the Mall. Choreographer Jonathan Burrows has been absent from the London scene for two years. He came back with Weak Dance Strong Questions, a duet for himself and Jan Ritsema, a top Belgian theatre director who, at 56, is anything but a professional dancer.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>[URL=http://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/0,,62-2001353874,00.html]<B>more...</B> <P>


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 Post subject: Re: Jonathan Burrows & J. Ritsema - 'Weak Dance, Strong Que
PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2001 11:32 pm 
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Jan Parry reviews in The Observer<BR>(please scroll down article)<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Jonathan Burrows can never be dull, however hard he tries. His latest duet, Weak Dance Strong Questions, is designed to test us all<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P><A HREF="http://www.observer.co.uk/review/story/0,6903,573375,00.html" TARGET=_blank> <B> MORE... </B> </A><BR>


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 Post subject: Re: Jonathan Burrows & J. Ritsema - 'Weak Dance, Strong Que
PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2001 6:23 am 
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Jonathan Burrows has been at the forefront of cutting edge dance in the UK for a decade or more. He now spends part of his time in Brussels teaching at PARTS, one of the leading dance schools in Europe and mixing with other avant-garde artists. It is from his discussions there with a fellow teacher, Jan Ritsema, that this programme developed. The intriguing thing is that the mid-50s Ritsema is not a trained dancer, but a drama specialist. So 'Weak Dance, Strong Questions' is not based on technical virtuosity, which has been one of the many facets that Burrows has traditionally brought to his art. <P>We entered the flat lit space with the two guys standing there and saying a few hellos and pointing people here and there. Then Burrows announced the title, tells us that it will last 50 minutes and they're off. No music, no change to the lighting, no technique and no structure that I could discern. So what happened? Well, they moved about. It doesn't sound very interesting and perhaps it seems the antithesis of a theatrical event. One thing's for sure if this was someone's second exposure to dance, with the first being 'Riverdance', then they would be in for a cultural shock of earthquake proportions.<P>I found myself engaged by the performance right through. Burrows is a great mover and it remains interesting even when he is just walking with much arm and body movement, almost and sometimes actually falling off balance and clearly not trying to making exquisite shapes.<BR> <BR>Ritsema plays his part too, partly as a counterbalance to Burrows but also in the uninhibited way he approaches dance as a non-dancer. A characteristic pose is with this feet crossed setting up a tension in his rather bulky frame. Towards the end he moves faster for a short period as if in some sort of reverie. Everyone was baffled how he managed to avoid getting blisters in his sturdy black leather street shoes.<P>In a post-performance talk Burrows told us that he felt closer in this piece to an essence in his work than he had ever felt before. We heard some good stories about the reactions of audiences aroung Europe. Usually about 10% leave and 10% fall asleep. One man left with the cry, 'Weak dance yes, strong questions, NO!', which both the performers had enjoyed. In Slovenia the audience just laughed all the time. <P>They told us that these reactions had little or no impact on the work, so intereaction with the audience is not what it's about. Rather it is their own relationship before the performance that is more crucialas they prepare. <P>Apparently they initially tried the piece with music for the final part. The tiny audience for a work in progress showing were angrily divided about what they had seen, but in complete agreement that it would have been better without the music.<P>I read last week that one German critic has made it one of his best new works of the year. I wouldn't go that far, but I was pleased to see it and to know that artists are still questionning where they and the art form are going. <P> <BR>


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