James Finnemore is a professional dancer and choreographer currently working with Hofesh Shechter.
Thursday, 6 June, 2013
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Whilst I write this I am spending a lazy Sunday sitting by the window, and for perhaps the first time this year I am definitely basking in the warmth of the sun. Spring has arrived! Well it has in Switzerland at least.
I have been dividing my time between London and Geneva recently, most of it in the latter and for those of you who are perhaps tempted to jump ship and try new things within mainland Europe, Switzerland might not be the most obvious of choices but things are happening here if you look for it.
Now I have always found it difficult to take part in discussions, debates and general after show chit-chat when it concerns dance, it's hard and frankly nine times out of ten it also feels unnecessary and irrelevant to me. It's a completely internal, personal experience. I don't want to talk about such-and-such's work, I definitely don't want to talk about my own work, why can't it just speak for itself?
However, sadly for me this is not the world we live in. Dance is spoken about, and by writing this blog I am giving myself a gentle nudge towards joining that discussion, and maybe in the future discussing an idea, concept, workshop or show will become easier. No cold sweats about what nondescript nonsense I might say next would be much appreciated.
Here in Geneva however there are companies worth a mention. So, lets start with Alias Compagnie. Based in Geneva and led by Guilherme Botelho Alias make what I can only describe as unpretentious, earthy contemporary dance. Their recent Sadlers Wells performances of Botelho's 'Sideways Rain' were generally well received by London show-goers. (You can check out the Guardian's view here.)
Compagnie 7273, also based in Geneva boast their own fantastically named technique 'fuitt fuitt,' a gloriously gooey movement style.
However if big, expensively elaborate productions are your thing then you can always turn to Grande Theatre de Geneve for all your ballet and neo-classical needs.
This is all well and good but there is one thing that has particularly caught my eye and hope to see: Speedbattles. Whilst difficult for me to describe, Speedbattles are essentially dance-offs for the contemporary crowd of Switzerland. A Geneva team fight it out against international guests for what, money? pride? This I don't know but it sounds interesting to me nevertheless. If you can make sense of it, this is what the Speedbattles website has to say about it all:
'Speedbattles propose a rewrite of battle now associated with the hip-hop poets jousting, fights and duel, any competition staged a fight. Combining forms: dance, music, set design, motion-graphics and design, embracing codes of sport to offer an alternative to the classic format of the show.
It adds a dose of the random clocking everything: Speed and Mode for each battle. The opposing teams are different each time, set and design and motion-design are recreated in situ. Ballet, Hip-hop, contemporary or traditional, but also instruments, vocals and turntables each chooses his weapon for battle.'
I am going to go sit out in the sun.