BELLE DANSE (research)

Patsy Laserbov (music)
Tiana Hemlock-Yensen (performance)
Dasniya Sommer (performance)
Gerko Egert (dramaturgy)

Supported by the research scholarship 2018 of Senatsverwaltung für Kultur und Europa Berlin and PACT Zollverein

Belle danse is a research on baroque dances with contemporary bodies. It returns to the beginnings of what we know as dance notation in order to re-measure the cultural heritage that has defined the spaces of power around our bodies. In order to expand the repertory of the culturally possible and to pose again the question of physicality and power, we develop a contemporary courtly choreography. Belle danse dives deep into the cultural past in order to create a possible future.


To define the boundaries between human and monstrous movement is, in the beginning of dance notation with Beauchamp-Feuillet, the concern of choreography. Stefan Hölscher describes in ‘Vermögende Körper' how choreography sets a repertory of possible movements which separates normal from abnormal bodies. Dancing becomes thus the rehearsal or incorporation of these possibilities and virtuosity the capability to handle this set of possibilities gracefully. Choreography in this respect becomes a geography of the political space – the outer as well as the inner. It sets a demarkation line between the realm of order and an undefined zone in which bodies are in danger to appear monstrous or non-human.

Not only historically our dance vocabulary is coined by abled, symmetric, upright, slim and heteronormative bodies. Even today pieces with bodies out of those norms are looked at as either ‘not so perfect’ or as exposition of their specific difference. Rarely it is that the gaze gets inverted and questions the dance vocabulary and its inherent expectations as such. But virtuosity or choreographic vocabulary can take a stand for or against traditional body dispositifs and, by way of that, takes a political position: “Hip hop turned virtuosity into a political act [..].“ writes Jonathan Burrows in ‘Keynote address for the Postdance Conference in Stockhom’.