user avatarDilek Üstünalan // Teacher
user avatarDefne Erdur Eligible Member // Teacher
user avatarBarbara Stahlberger // Teacher
user avatarDaniela Schwartz // Teacher
IDOCs » Contact Festival Freiburg 2019 Teachers Meeting 5x5 - 05.08.2019
5x5 simple structure provides a peek into the individual’s life without listening to overwhelming, long life stories. At the TM lists with 5 time slots of 5 minutes each are provided where anyone who wants to talk can sign up to share (teachers & helpers). The topic - what you find important to share with the group of teachers - is up to you. It can be the project you are currently working on, teaching issues, life/work struggles as well as statements and personal stories.

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Below notes were taken by Shura Baryshnikov. Full content of the sharings can be found as voice and video recordings at the end of this idoc. Videos were taken by Defne Erdur and voice recordings by Dilek Üstünalan. 

Jurij Konjar: Preparation for the Habitat presentation:

-      "Habitat" is a working score of one week.

-       I’ll speak in English, please find / sit next to someone who can translate for you

-       I’d ask those of you that were there, that if you want, and there’s time, and if I forget something essential, to fill-in

-       I’ll talk about something called a Habitat. it’s a working score for one week. The idea of Habitat is to create a temporary, nomadic working environment, by working. At the end of that week, the people who participated look back at what happened, and that is the environment that group needed to do that work, that week.

-       It comes of a need, after CI festivals, co-organising symposiums, being part of production-oriented dance world, performing process-oriented work, having a chance to meet people, finding space withing structure, finding an empty studio to work amongst like-minded people, since everyone wants a studio for themselves. 

-       I design the score, with the responsibility in mind to those who come to be a part of it. The score is designed so that, Once the week begins, I am but a participant in it. There are no deciscions to be taken. Any dialogues can happen, and do, but they are not structured inside the proposal. 

-       There’s been five so far, from 2013 till this year. This year there was two, and perhaps some of you have received an invitation, and some of you were there, and some of you were there two times or more. Every time something is learnt about the Habitat, so it’s more and more complete as a proposal. When I speak contcretely I’ll speak about the Ljubljana Habitat, that happened June 3-8 this year. 

-       The idea is that you follow your interest. There is not schedule, there is no possibility of proposing labs or organizing people in groups. There is no meetings, plans, conclusions, documenting. There is one logistic meeting at the beginning, as the 17 guests from abroad are also sleeping in the working space. 

-       What it is, is that there is a working space available for 11 hours a day, allowing for some private time for the people sleeping in the space, and for sleep. You can come and leave any time as you want, sharing the space with others. Besides the foreign guests, the local artists are welcome to join anytime. 

-       You read the document and apply online and as a foreign guest, you apply. The locals can just come. Once you have been accepted, it’s setup so that the first day you just walk in and start working. This year, all but one that have applied have been accepted. 

-       The proposals is: that you follow your interest where it guides you; while being attentive to the others, enabling them to do the same, which requires constant attention to the space, making some decisions, and compromises. Also, to learn about others, it is suggested that the conversation is replaced by observing, ina supporting vway, what they are doing; decisind about it yourself. Also, it’s a performative practice, in the sense that those observed get to practice what they do while they are being looked at, which is another challenge and a skill to practice. This is where you can practice it.

-       Participants say, about having participated - observations: What do you do, when no one tells you what to do. There is no schedule. You can leave and know, that someone will hold the space. The attention continues as you lave the space and stroll around the city. The scores gives you time. Time to do whatever, next to the people who are also doing the same as you – just following where it takes them.

-       It’s a subversive proposal of group improvisation. Following your own interest, while being aware of all it’s happening and your affect on it, and always coming back to you. 

-       An example –it’s a constant negotiation. Let’s say you want to dance a CI duet; you can, but constantly aware you are a guest in this place, and others are affected. Nothing can be taken for granted, the choice to work with each other by working next to each other is made every day again and again. It’s present in the space. 

-       Habitat is completely free, no-one gets paid or no-one pays for it. The budget of Habitat is 0. We get offered the space by the venue; and, sleeping and toilets; and, in best case, food, organization, logistics and travel support. This last one only happened at the first Habitat, in Barcelona 2013, because it was organized within the Modul Dance network of European Dancehouses.  

-       There are no recordings, reports, filmings of Habitat. There is one camera which anyone can take; and that’s it. There are no reports; but there is a chance to share anything amongst participants, if participants want to do that. 

-       A Habitat is succesfull if something has been learnt about the Habitat itself, and if a functional working environment has been created for the people that were there. 

-       The far-ahead idea is, that somethere would be a Habitat running any week. That if you wanted to talk on process-oriented work, you could look up where it is, apply, and go to work amongst the like-minded. 

-        The text online, on the website 


Eric Nordstrom: I live in the city of Portland, OR.  Medium sized city in the US.  2.5 million people.  I have danced there for almost 20 years.  I asked myself: what happened in dance in Portland before me.  What resources/people helped to generate this culture.  Kept going back to find the history.  No one knows the whole story.  I thought it was important for somebody to discover/learn the whole story.  Collected archival footage and a network of resources.  Ended up doing 35 interviews and ended up gathering over 100 hours of archival footage.  I made a documentary that tells the history of dance in my city.  (Shows the 30 second trailer).  I wanted to make this film to help honor those who built the contemporary dance scene and to help orient young dancers to the history of the space: gentrification, rising studio costs, etc.  The Portland Dance Archive now exists online as a resource.  

Additional Text and links from Eric:

Moving History: Portland Contemporary Dance Past and Present

Link to view film:

Composed of thirty-five original interviews and archival footage, this film speaks to both Portland, Oregon and larger issues in contemporary performing arts, including the impact of AIDS in the 1980s, relationships between urban dance scenes and universities, the rise of gentrification and the cost of studio and performance spaces, and more. “I wanted to make this film to invite relative newcomers to recognize and learn about this history of Portland dance and to honor those who built Portland’s contemporary dance scene. I offer this film as an invitation to connect with the past,” Nordstrom says. 

The film, Moving History: Portland Contemporary Dance Past and Present, celebrates the companies and individuals that have made Portland the vibrant contemporary dance haven it is today. At its heart, Nordstrom’s film explores what it means to be a working artist who makes a life in pursuit of a deep love of dance.

Part of the goal of this film is to take this material, preserve it, and to centralize it. Nordstrom is working with the Portland State University Special Collections Archives to house footage of seminal performances referenced in the film, and some of the film’s interviews in their entirety. Available online at


Teti Nikolopoulou: I made something like Eric's project but for CI in Greece.  We have a rich contemporary dance history, but CI is a newer practice in Greece and not as much is written about the practice of CI.  I teach in the University of Sport in Athens - masters and then PhD.  I still have to finish two papers to complete my PhD.  I did interviews with the veterans of the CI teaching community in Greece.  Right now, I feel more burned by this process.  Maybe in the future I will feel more energized to share the details of the research.  I was contacted about a program to offer residencies for people living in European countries.  You don't have to be an academic to apply, as long as you have a professional project.  I wanted to share in case any of you would like to apply.  (the link for the application: I was to help as much as I can. 


Vega Luukkonen:  It is exciting to talk because language has never been my easiest or most favorite medium.   Three years ago I got this pain and in three months it developed.  In three months all of my cartilage was gone in my hip.  Many people in my life offered advice for natural healing.  Not many recommended western medicine interventions.  There was a lot of loneliness and sadness because I couldn't do the things that i usually did. I received comments that I seemed so grounded because I had to deal with this process.  Seeing how much I identify as a dancer and mover as a human.  Realizing that my identify as a doer is so central.  I now have something new - spinal stenosis.  I took a lot of risk before, but this has transformed my dancing.  I now have to feel and sense how to do things in a safe and sensitive way.  I have noticed how much it has transformed me.  Many of us experience this and we so often don't talk about it.  I wanted to vocalize it for this reason. 


Marcus Hoft:  I am going to talk about my youth and environmental movement.  I was part of an ecological anarchist movement - two youth German environmental groups.  We created a congress.  We decided that we would also address social movements as well as environmental.  Some people from this group decided to build a newsletter to start a commune - spread out over many cities.  We decided to start a project together in the same city.  We built an ecological center with big living centers.  There was a movement against atomic power.  A certain amount of people met and created something together.  I moved away to be more involved with dance, but I noticed that you can change so much if you bring a group of people together.  I don't know if it would have happened if we hadn't prioritized living together and working together.  There are so many things happening in the world, but we really can do many things.  



This document is created based on the consent of all the participating teachers during the contactfestival freiburg Teachers Meeting 2019. 

If for some reason you (as one of the participants of this meeting) changed your mind and wish some or all parts of this document not to be published, please contact


Right click on the link(s) and choose "download linked file as", to specify the target download folder on your computer
Playable Media (Audios/Videos which are already playable above)
[type: mp45X5-FreiburgTM-2109-markus
[type: mp45X5-FreiburgTM-2109-eric
[type: mp45X5-FreiburgTM-2109-jurij
[type: mp45X5-FreiburgTM-2109-teti
[type: mp45X5-FreiburgTM-2109-vera

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