Offensive Tanz

Offensive Tanz

Workshop with Bérengère Valour

Creating a dance piece for a young audience: How do you start?

You have one minute! Write down everything that comes to your mind about the term "dance". Then to the term "creation". Then to "childhood".

An associative carpet of yellow-glowing post-its quickly spreads across the dance floor, reflecting the breadth and diversity of the topic that will be the focus of the two-day workshop.

As part of the Offensive Tanz, PURPLE dance festival invited to a workshop for choreographers on April 1 and 2. The workshop was led by Bérengère Valour, dancer and choreographer as well as specialist in the field of dance creation and dance education for young audiences.

Sensitive, experimental, practice-oriented and based on the ideas of the participants, Bérengère Valour navigated the group during the two days of the workshop through various composition tasks, dance games and group work. The intersection of dance, creation and childhood repeatedly provided orientation, but also gave rise to lively discussion.

What makes a good piece for young audiences? How do children see dance? What arouses their curiosity and holds their attention? How can we learn from children's eyes and what ideas for choreography can we develop from them?

Again and again, the participants switched between the roles of creators, dancers, and spectators. The process of developing a piece was thus illuminated from different perspectives, reflected upon, and tried out for themselves. In the process, different working methods and compositional approaches crystallized, forming an imaginative pool of choreographic tools and aids.

Bérengère Valour often chose (everyday) objects and materials as starting points for choreographic investigations and as inspiration for the development of movement materials. From aluminum foil, the toothbrush, paper airplanes, to "livres graphiques de danse" (graphic dance books) published and conceived by herself, everything is there. All things that can set our imagination and fantasy, but also our body in motion - give us aesthetic dance experiences.

Bérengère Valour's work and personal experiences shared with the group made it clear that for her, developing pieces for young audiences is less about educating a new generation of viewers for contemporary dance and more about enabling young people to encounter their own bodies, to make dance palpable, to touch, to create dance moments that ideally store themselves physically and emotionally and thus stay with us for a lifetime.

The great joy at finally coming together was evident to all participants. The long-planned workshop for female choreographers was supposed to take place in January 2022. However, the pandemic reality always provides new challenges. So it's all the nicer when you can forget about them, when interpersonal encounters come back into focus, and when you can physically try things out and exchange ideas together as a group in the space. We thank Bérengère for the fact that this has succeeded here!

Lilith Borchert is part of the organizing team of PURPLE and is responsible for press and public relations at tanznetz.de - Internet portal for professional dance. For some time now, she has also been writing texts about dance there.