By Jonas Rutgeerts
On Friday, October 23 one of Belgian’s leading sociologists and dance critics Rudi Laermans presents his new book Moving Together: Theorizing and Making Contemporary Dance in the Kaaitheater (Brussels). In this book Laermans analyzes contemporary dance through a combination of dance studies and sociology. The book consists of two parts. In the first part Laermans retraces his personal history as a dance theorist through a detailed analysis of different seminal dance works. In the second part he researches the “multi-faceted dynamics of co-creating dance”. Based on personal observations and in-depth interviews with dance artists linked to the Brussels dance scene, Laermans manages to analyze both individual dance works and the social contexts that precede or envelope these dance performances, thus bridging the gap between aesthetics-centred and context-centred tendencies in the study of contemporary dance. Building on years of expertise in both the field of dance-studies and sociology, he is one of the few theoreticians that manages to adopt this symmetrical approach that examines dance both as an aesthetic and social practice.
For the occasion of the presentation of the book, Laermans will enter into discussion with Brussels-based American performance artist and choreographer Eleonor Bauer.
‘Clearly written, meticulously researched and theoretically enriching, Rudi Laermans’ first-hand accounts of key performances by some of the most influential names that have defined contemporary choreography since the mid-1980s make us see how crucial the Flemish dance scene has been for the development of contemporary experimental dance — and therefore, how it has also been a strong influence in those discourses that inform the reception and perception of international dance today. Absolutely essential.’
André Lepecki, Associate Professor in Performance Studies, New York University