DANCEWALK-MAY 2068 ©Simon Letellier
GENERAL KEYWORDS: Caricature culture, Classical Ballet, Improvisation (Being Here Present tool), Stand-up Comedy
CHOREOGRAPHIC WORKS: Dancewalk; Descendansce 1.3; Don Quixote; FAVNE; Histoires Condensées; In/Utile: Incorporer; Pina Jackson in Mercemoriam; The Making of Spectacles; Utérus, pièce d'intérieur
PEOPLE: Alighieri, Dante; Balanchine, George; Baryshnikov, Michael; Cunningham, Merce; Nijinsky, Vaslav; Nijinska, Bronislava; Nureyev, Rudolf; Von Manen, Hans
PLACES: Brazil, Cuevas Company, Festival D'Avignon, Geneva, Marocco, Merce Cunningham Dance Company, Movement Research, New York, New York City Ballet, School of American Ballet, Stuttgart Ballet, Switzerland, Trisha Brown Dance Company
CITATION: Interview with Foofwa D’imobilité, Katja Vaghi, Geneva (07/09/2021). Project “Mnemedance”, Collection Mnemedance (#Mnemedance08) URL:<https://www.mnemedance.com/foofwa-d-imobilité>, (accessed dd/mm/yyyy).
INTERVIEWS MAY ONLY BE REPRODUCED WITH PERMISSION BY MNEMEDANCE
The Swiss “neo-post” dance performer, choreographer and dance pedagogue FOOFWA D’IMOBILITÉ is interviewed by dance scholar KATJA VAGHI about his creative process, the role of dance history, and irony in his work. Beginning from his early (mediated and embodied) memories of dance coming from a family of dancers, and his training as a ballet dancer, he shares his pivotal experience with the Merce Cunningham dance company and his subsequent work as an independent artist since 1998. His work with his own company Neopost Foofwa occupies a pivotal position between tradition and innovation in the choreographic field. The company was founded “around the intuition that there are beautiful new things (Neo-) to be created after and with the past (-post)”. The knowledge of different dance languages grants him the ironical and critical detachment towards dance, introducing postmodern twists and reflections in his work. Foofwa is also one of Switzerland’s most technically accomplished dancers.
VIVRE COMME LE FAUNE
What is your first personal memory linked to dance that informed your choreographic poetics?
When did you start defining yourself as a choreographer?
What kind of knowledge do you hold in your body? Would you like to let go of something?
How does dance history fit into your work? What is the role of irony in relation to tradition and memory?
Do you differentiate dance history from the memory of dance?
What is the relation between bodies, history, memory and identities?
During your practice of dance transmission, how do you relate to the memory of your training experience?
What is your relationship with memory conservation: Have you organised an archive of your creative process?
How does the presence of the spectator fit into your creative process?
How do you imagine the possible continuation of the memory of your work?
IN/UTILE ©Gregory Batardon
FOOFWA D’IMOBILITÉ is a dancer, performer, choreographer, and dance educator, who occupies a pivotal position between tradition and innovation in the choreographic field. Dancer at the Stuttgart Ballet and then at the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, he has been choreographing since 1998 for his Neopost Foofwa Company. He won, among others, the Lausanne Prize in 1987, the Bessie Award of New York in 1995, the Swiss Prize for Dance and Choreography in 2006 and the Swiss Dance Prize category “outstanding dancer” in 2013: “Foofwa d’Imobilité challenges us and breaks with convention. His artistic radicalism is based on the exceptional technical ability he has repeatedly demonstrated in Switzerland and abroad”. His gargantuan choreographic adventure, Dancewalk, started in 2015, has seen him and his company dance 850 kilometres in the world.
KATJA VAGHI is a freelance dancer, choreographer, and dance researcher, who alternates theoretical reflections in written form to musing in the rehearsal space. After her PhD in dance philosophy, she now lectures in dance history and philosophy, and in somatic approaches to spaces across the UK, Germany and Switzerland. An enthusiast improviser and site-specific performer, she likes to cross and challenge boundaries, exploring the relationship between theory and performance. Her research interests are reference practices and intermediality, the comic in dance, screendance, and embodiment in spatial perception. Her latest publications encompass articles on Jiří Kylián for the Oxford Handbook of Contemporary Ballet and on Sasha Waltz for Fifty Contemporary Choreographers, a collective contribution on screendance during the pandemic for The International Journal of screendance, and an upcoming article on somatic approaches to architectural planning in Dimension: Journal of Architectural Knowledge. She is a recipient of the sustain to the Performing Arts Heritage for 2020 offered by the Swiss Federal Office of Culture for her research project on the Swiss Italian choreographer Claudio Schott.