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Conference presentations at:

‘Performing Process: Sharing Practice’ at C-DaRE at Coventry University on 6 June 2014 (live)

‘Questioning the Contemporary in 21st Century British Dance Practices’ Symposium at Leeds Metropolitan University on 18 July 2014 (video)


A discussion that doesn’t have a specific outcome (which is often the case) is not usually considered to be ‘enough’. Why is that?

Discussion as object

Discussion as methodology

Discussion as a mode of production

Discussion as a process

Discussion as a product

Discussion as a form of action

Discussion as a mode of working (talking instead of doing – Trio Collective’s Skype discussions instead of studio rehearsals and Self Interview)

Discussion as performance

Discussion in performance (Low Pieces by Xavier Le Roy, These associations by Tino Sehgal, What is violence? by Katerina Paramana, Table of Contents by Siobhan Davies, Production by Mårten Spångberg & Xavier Le Roy)

Discussion as a mode of communication with the audience (post-show talks, are pre-show talks more useful?)

Discussion as marketing tool (‘meet the artist’ – something that is extra to the performance, giving context to the work)

Logocentric view of the world (speech or language as a primary need and primary medium for communication)

The roles and uses of a language – e.g. through language we share but we also keep secrets

Discussion as a tool for audience engagement (to equip audiences with frameworks that enable them to appreciate/’understand’ the work more, knowing the ‘rules’, building cultural confidence, to make art more accessible, current trend of participation, Arts Council policy -> engagement vs understanding )

Discussion as an academic/theoretical mode (practice-as-research, lecture demonstrations)

Training: dance as physical/non-verbal activity vs dance as intellectual/thinking activity (binary not useful, instead we could speak of a spectrum of dance activity, also discussion doesn’t have to be verbal?)

Discussion in the working-process vs discussion in performance (two different modes that require different skill sets)


Can one distinguish between the work and the artist (what if you love a piece of work but hate the artist/the way the artist talks about it?)

A discussion takes time to emerge – spreading vs depth

The impossibility of communication: Is it ever possible to fully understand/communicate with another person?

Conversation as a mode of participation – a sharing of this impossibility

Conversation means loss – to initiate something with certain expectations of loss (yet, it’s not about ‘loss’ or ‘gain’ it is about ‘shifting’)

What is the point that we can no longer allow for conversation? When does discussion become non-negotiable? (Attack on Art Exhibition at Tate Britain, Rothko ‘tag’ at Tate Modern)

What is the implication of discussing in the digital sphere (Open Letters)? What influence does technology have for these modes of discussion (across time/space barriers, internet as a non-hierarchical place?)

Transformation of substance (food as a reminder of transformation in a discussion)

Words and movements as ATOMS that transform from one to another but also combine to make something new.

The difficulty of finding an end to this discussion.

Tuesday 14 January (11am-2pm)
Discussing Discussions in/as Performance
Hosted by Trio Collective


Our discussion of Discussion will touch on current trends in integrating conversation into performances, in the form of pre-show talks, post-show Q&A’s, etc. as well as the recent emergence of certain conversational formats such as Choreographic Forum, Dance and Critical Theory Group, Coffee Mornings, Groundswell Meetings, etc. in the field of dance. It will aim to unpack ways that discussion can be a mode of production for researching, working, communicating, promoting, rehearsing, bonding, exchanging, and performing. Must we “do?” Can’t we just “talk?” Discuss.

We can talk about all of these things, none of these things, and more. 

You need not bring anything but yourself. And maybe some cake.

Chisenhale Dance Space

64-84 Chisenhale Road

London E3 5QZ 

Organised by Gillie Kleiman, an independent dance artist and proud member of the artistic community around Chisenhale Dance Space, kindly supported by and held at the organisation. All artists, members and non-members, are welcome to come and join in. Information about previous Coffee Mornings can be found here.

Trio is presenting “Trio Collective: A Self-Interview” at CADRE Research Student Conference 2012

On Performativity 

14th – 15th May 2012

University of Wolverhampton

Admission free

This annual conference is intended as a forum for discussion, an informal survey of current PhD research and a social occasion for the facilitation of networking and exchange amongst PhD students in Art, Design, Craft, Performance and Social and Critical Theory.


Centre for Art, Design, Research & Experimentation

School of Art & Design

Lecture Theatre MK045 (Ground Floor)

University of Wolverhampton

City Campus North, Molineux Street, Wolverhampton, WV1 1DT

 For more information please follow the link

To book tickets press Here

“Another Chair Dance” incorporates dance, installation, text and video. Three performers move in front of three laptops where several “sitting performances” are reproduced. Instead of learning the choreographies the dancers resist rehearsal choosing to copy the movement from the videos.
Building upon pre-existing works, “Another Chair Dance” is an unsettling, funny and playful piece, which reflects a response to different contexts of space, time and bodies and the memory they evoke.
“Another Chair Dance” has been presented in London in Q-Art Convenors and in Parallax 01

  • The economy of means (3 bodies, 3 chairs, 3 laptops) versus the resulting dynamics of all the elements is really effective. Really like the idea of choreography through (video) editing.

The time lag from the act of copying really makes me think about choreography (/editing) as something that exists pre-performance. And the play of the sequence of choreography, rehearsal, performance etc could be interesting?

  • I like it, I feel that the two people on the right were watching a different video from the left – but at the same time there was a dialogue. Don’t laugh but I thought you girls were watching Bruce Lee. J
  • Firstly I was preoccupied with how accurately the movements were being reproduced – then I thought about the physical work involved in making work is never usually seen.
  • The most interesting aspect for me is how the 3 performers sometimes have similar movements at certain times even though each seem to be absorbed in one’s own movements (despite the 3 being situated in such close proximity in the same space) I wonder about the deliberate extent of synchronicity in the choreography.

Perhaps the dressing of the performers could be colour coded or standardized to make the performance visually more engaging? J

  • How do I know there’s anything on the screen?! Response – Reflecting? Or imitating?






  • Should be able to see something of what you are looking at on screens.

More physical movements have more impact.

Facially expressive parts less convincing.

Perhaps more narrative/episodic movements might be effective. And then one relates to impacts on another.

Liked chaotic aspect.

Reminded me in parts of ritual prayer.

Microsoft kinect-feed movements back onto program so one influences next.

  • Contrived. Whether this is the intention (quite possibly) or not in the movement.
  • The set created atmosphere of studying room (?)

The dance was feeling of restricted..

  • I felt the dance was very physical and gave me the chance to observe and make the connections myself. I thought it was a human acting in a sort of cathartic exorcism like a ROBBOT. It engaged me completely. The way it was performed each face had an expression. The silence left me FIXED and trying to guess if you had rehearse or not. A DANCE LIKE THE TARANTELA.
  • For me the most interesting aspect of the performance was the isolation of the performers because usually dance in groups is associated with interaction and synchronization. In the occasional parts were the movement of the different performers were in sync it seems that it was by chance rather than arrangement which further added to the sense of isolation. It was very successful!
  • Really loved it! Very engaging. Particularly the emotions.
  • It was great. It need not need exclamation. I found the text above a bit distracting as the performance worked without this. It made me think of many things, but none which can be described in one word! (Which I think is a good thing)
  • Quite removed from “dance”. Only the fact that you were obviously “dancers” meant it reared towards “dance”. With non-dancers the effect would be quite different. I was frustrated that the movement didn’t seem to mean anything – or at least we can’t see any meaning. It’s fascinating that we don’t know what you are copying or even if you are copying anything or if your movements are choreographed or accidental.
  • Individuality, variance,
  • Made me extremely aware of my movements.

Made me see actions/movements differently –how many are forced? How many are natural? (Both in the performance and in real life)

Felt like a sequence of events broken down to only the movements

Faces have “a life of their own”

Puppets dragged alone by the screen.

  • I became quite conscious of my own seated position and a little uncomfortable in how static I felt.
  • Is this questionnaire to create data for your research, or is it a parody of a feedback process conducted during your performance? Or something else? I didn’t see any text or video (unless this is the text?) We have to consider that there may or may not be a video or set of videos. I often mistrust claims made for a piece of work (as in “is an unsettling and playful piece which…”) do you parody this practice of introducing work with claims about what it does? Or is this a genuine attempt to pre-empt how I experience the piece, for example, I am expected to find it funny and that emotional response is assumed before I can make my response or form of judgment about whether it evokes memories or makes me laugh. Maybe I am not unsettled. Am I wrong?
  • The ROSSAS ROUTINE! Knowing about it kind of spoiled it for me, but I think it would ‘ve been interesting from the ‘unknowing; point of view.
  • I was thinking about Beckett while watching (not meaning your work is derivative) making me think about the isolation of each performer, from the audience as well as form each other. Seemed quite tragic in that sense that individuals were not able to communicate with the person next to them or even look at them – the communication goes form laptop to performer. Brought up ideas about interaction with computers at work and at home. Sharing space but not really sharing. Someone said “electronic puppets” – very resonant for me a sinister notion of the body being controlled by an outside agent, lacking agency itself. Thank you.
  • That would be more engaging if the videos you were copying from will be screens on the background and visible for audience. Interesting, but difficult to follow and concentrate for a long time, as there is no sound / plot to build a connection with.

“Philosophy simply puts everything before us, nor deduces anything. — Since everything lies open to view there is nothing to explain” (Philosophical Investigations 126)

Philosophy as therapy diagnoses our conceptual ills. Symptomatic of such ills is intractable debate, and if we find ourselves in such a situation, then we need philosophy. Or art.

Conceptual art perhaps better exemplifies the presentation of conceptual difficulty – certainly at least because presentation has been one of the specialities of art. I don’t mean to say that art is better at getting the point across in general – the potential precision and explicit nature of philosophical discourse is unrivalled, in its own way. What I mean is that successful presentation of an idea should elicit audience engagement, and engaging people is what art is good at (this is an armchair empirical statement: lots of people go to look at art, not many people read philosophy).

So, assuming that conceptual art is good at presenting conceptual problems, then what can we aim our art at?

Imagine three performers copying the movements shown in a series of dances shown to them on a screen. They do not see whole performances of works – only sections from them, so it would be very hard for someone to recognise all or even most of the sources.

They are ‘reading’ the dances in the sense that they see the movements and attempt to copy them, and given each performer’s history, training, emotional state, commute to the performance venue…. they will colour what they see just as different people will read things in different ways and that will colour each reading. (This is perhaps the point of having three performers – the differences make this aspect more obvious.) They are ‘reading’ and not ‘interpreting’ because we would normally reserve the latter term for a process involving much more creative input from the performer, perhaps even workshops or rehearsals. Instead it is closer to exact copying, there is less creative input, but of course there is some, so it’s not ‘copying’.

It is not a ‘reconstruction’ of the works because we only see extracts.

It is not a ‘quotation’ because normally when we quote something we intend to bring some of that meaning from that which we are quoting into what we are doing. This is not what is happening here because the extracts are so short – actions in dance performances are a little like lines from poems, they depend heavily on the context they are in for meaning, by shearing off so much of that context we cannot pretend to be quoting because we are not bringing enough of that contextual meaning with us.

For similar reasons it is not ‘plagiarism’ either – though it would’ve been perhaps if more ‘meaning’ could be transmitted for the movements replicated are not attributed to their ‘authoring’ choreographers.

And it’s not ‘reading’ either. The act of reading does not normally draw attention to itself in this way. I mean in the way that I can expend a few hundred words saying what is not going on. Perhaps that is just simply because we normally read books.

And at this point we can return to Wittgenstein. What we’ve encountered here is a conceptual problem. Placed before us is a question as to what is exactly going on? What process are the performers engaged in? And the answer is there too: something a lot like various other processes, but also different from them in some way that seems significant enough for it not to be quite that process.

This is significant in an artform that has for a long time lost most of its history in a way that doesn’t occur elsewhere. Choreography died with the times they were in. Not in terms of the loss of contextual meaning that happens to other art, but a much more blunt loss: when the people were dead, no-one knew what the movements were anymore. There have been attempts at encoding movement, but it is hardly the equivalent of the existence of the actual painting, or, an audio recording of a piece of music say. And this latter is an interesting point of departure – the audio recording brings in commoditisation, author- and ownership, and copyright.

If a sequence of movements were reproduced in the context of a theatre or similar venue with an audience, what relationship would this have with the choreographer? But what then happens when I recreate other movements I’ve seen? Even when I do it unconsciously as humans so often do?

Matthew Mead

What I found very interesting in this piece is the idea of “reading” dance. You need the voice to read written words, but you need the body to read dance. When you read a text, you are bringing back to its original condition what once was uttered or was imagined as uttered by someone in the act of writing. When you “read” a dance, you copy the movements, re-embodying what once was alive and now is recorded and kept in a digital or virtual format. When you read you don’t need to recreate a context, sometimes you don’t need to read everything, you just need to read what is relevant for your understanding and for the understanding of those who are listening. And of course, you read with your own voice, with your accent, with your rhythm and the limitations derived from your knowledge of the language in which that text is written: you might not understand every word / movement, you even might understand just a few words / movements, but perhaps someone is able to understand everything you read in spite of these limitations and distortions. And this opens a field of potentiality and offers a playful approach to memory and documentation of dance. I also like the idea of combining this reading with the project of constructing a piece and following the process of rehearsal, performance and review, which establishes a contingent frame in this immense field of potential readings.

José A. Sánchez

Take a journey back in time Trio Collective and re-visit the choreographies of the year 2003. It might seem not so long ago for some of us, just 7 years, so why 2003? Perhaps because they call themselves Trio Collective, hence ’03, who knows. As I’m about to witness it does not really matter. The work on the other hand does.

The performers are already on stage once the audience takes its seats. There is a long exchange of looks between the three and their technician before the show begins. 3 performers, a desk, 3 chairs and 4 laptops; what is going to happen? Finally one performer takes the lead and counts 1-2-3. The show is on.

Try and think back for a moment; what dances do you remember from the year 2003?

Personally I remember two: One was a Japanese performance, “Alice” by Mako Kawano, I myself by chance danced in. The second one “Finks by Leni-Basso, also a Japanese dance performance, intrigued me so much I decided on dance and choreography as my way in life.

It is 7 years ago now. It seems like yesterday and so long ago.

I’m not going to tell you what happens in Trio Collective’s piece. I don’t really want to write a review. What I can say is that what is evident watching the piece is that 2003 was 7 years ago, and the performers clearly show us the difference between today and something that was not so long ago.

The piece is conceptual, but the girls manage to go beyond concept and actually do something with it. It is not a mere demonstration, nor an academic exercise or pure entertainment. It is almost all of those things, but entirely its own.

This was a great first show and I’m looking forward to follow the evolution of “Re-re-twothousandandth-re”.

Runa Kaiser