Dance Now. Work With(out) Boundaries at Ghent


Dance Now. Work With(out) Boundaries

“This conference is organised as part of the FWO-funded research project Choreographies of Precariousness. A Transdisciplinary Study of the Working and Living Conditions in the Contemporary Dance Scenes of Brussels and Berlin.

Both conference and project focus on the contemporary dance profession as one of the many professions in a regime without boundaries. Psychologists Allvin et al. (2011) claim that the working lives of post-Fordist workers (among them contemporary dance artists) have the potential for the destruction of work as we know it (also Sennett 1998; Bologna 2011). They describe the new working life as a giant switchboard of work and life that (dis)connects people. Whereas people’s control within their work increases, their control over the conditions of work diminishes.

In this respect, the work of dance is without boundaries in a double sense: it is increasingly mobile and transnational (no geographical boundaries) and, as the organisation of work becomes more flexible, sees the distinction between work and private life blurred (no mental boundaries). It is now up to the individual employee to establish this distinction and maintain personal limits (Gielen 2009). Following Lauren Berlant, we hypothesise that this precarious work without boundaries “occurs not only in the debates on how to rework insecurity” but “is also an emerging aesthetic” (Berlant 2011, 192) of which traces can be found in the performances of contemporary dance artists.

Although scholars from both sociology and theatre/performance studies have done research on the careers and the (aesthetics of) working processes of artists, the field of contemporary dance has received only modest attention. The aim of this two-day conference is to further resolve the hiatus in the debate on work without boundaries in the (performing) arts through organising lectures by scholars from various disciplines and talks and interventions by artists from the field of contemporary dance and performance.”

For more on the event, see here.