idocde » Editorial

Failing Successfully!


Have you taken any master class or workshop from Juljen Hamilton, in your life. If so, you have probably heard of this sentence several times:

“Bravo! You have failed successfully!”

This remark is frequently uttered by this one of a kind teacher who definitely walks his talk, and who is able to talk his mind and body in such poetic, fluent and performative ways.

In my interpretation this failing he talks about is about giving things a genuine try, being at work; i.e. researching his propositions, finding sincere and fresh ways to reach those things/places/ideas the master is talking about; but not getting there yet. The understanding is there, the intension and the dedication are so very visible that there is success –somehow embedded but not embodied.

When I read the panel reflections of another master who is for sure able to walk his talk as well, and who is also able to talk his mind and body in such poetic, fluent and performative ways, I thought “Bravo! We have failed successfully!”

Yes, Frey Faust had an amazing recap of not only the Symposium Panel itself but also the whole idea of “panel”ing and also the theme of the 2nd IDOCDE Symposium. Comprehensive, multi-layered, direct to the points, well thought and expressed, mind opening and provoking words of Frey showed us; the whole attempt of this theme- “Teach me (not)!” , the researches presented during the sessions, the writings before and after the event, the ongoing debates were/are actually great attempts! Attempts that are successful. They all show that we are at work.

And we are not afraid to fail! Are we?!

I truly believe this is our strength. Therefore we continue asking more and more questions, trying more and more formats, methodologies, approaches, wordings, moving in and around old terminologies, creating, re-creating; risking to get lost, daring to be wrong, seeking better ways to fail!

Maybe because we are focused on learning and "learning learning". Maybe because we hope to "teach" some others to learn something... Maybe because we are not alone in all this! We, 700 something teachers connected here and thousands who are not yet on this platform, we love failing!

If you agree with me or disagree with me, or have totally different points to make,  join me in the Thinking Together Forum and start brainstorming for our next offline meeting – the 3rd IDOCDE Symposium. There is not much time, just be! You are probably settled in your new schedule by now; the teaching year has started for some of you and you have started floating in your calender and some of you workshoppers since the summer is over you are not teaching for a while… And maybe you are at home reading, writing, farming… What do we know?!

We know that you are out there and we definitely need your triggering, sparkling knowhow. Come along, make your ideas visible to us. Show your work, share your experience… Because all of this is “our legacy”… “We” are the living archive of Contemporary Dance today – whatever that “contemporariness” means?

Really what does it mean? What are we actually teaching? Go ahead and give it a name and jot down your ideas here! We have a long way to go...


Defne Erdur  October 10th, 2014

Istanbul - Turkey