MFA, Dance 2011
International Institute Individual Fellowship
Sean Hoskins traveled to Europe to conduct research and study on dance-related topics and techniques. He studied under prominent choreographers, attended workshops to learn more about the dance form of Contact Improvisation, and pursued geographical themes as a means to inspire and shape his choreography.
My study first brought me to Vienna, Austria to take classes for two weeks at Impulstanz, the largest contemporary dance festival in Europe. During the first week I studied with Tamas Moricz. As a former dancer with renowned choreographer William Forsythe, Tamas taught Forsythe’s rigorous approach to movement improvisation techniques as well as solo material he once performed with Ballet Frankfurt. The next week I took a more traditional modern dance technique class with Marta Coronado, a former dancer with Belgian choreographer Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker whose movement style I wanted to learn. These classes challenged me to develop my dancing abilities in new ways. Imposing physical constraints while improvising focuses attention while opening the body to unrealized movement possibilities and pathways.
I spent the remainder of each day in Vienna conducting the geography-related component of my research. I took to walking exploration of the city. During each outing I gathered ideas and textures, and I also looked for areas that captured my interest. At the root of my inquiry were questions about the concept of navigation and pathways through space. What draws one’s attention to one thing over another? I later made visual maps of my journey, sometimes using a single meandering line to represent my travel and at other times plotting the sweeping curves and points of a subway ride or the feeling brought up during the outing.
My travels brought me from Vienna to the university town of Cluj, Romania, for Trans-Contact, an eight-day international workshop in Contact Improvisation. The dancers and teachers were from many European countries as well as North and South America. I took extensive notes and approached the workshop from a pedagogical framework as well. My hope is to use the acquired knowledge from this experience to help with the design of a semester-long curriculum to teach this specific improvisational dance technique at the university level.
This fellowship experience allowed me to expand my abilities as a dance performer and improviser. It also provided the time and context in which to delve into choreographic methods and research connections between geography and dance making. The international nature of the research trip expanded my knowledge of current European trends in performances and dance teaching. I made connections with artists and teachers with whom I hope to collaborate again. I translated the images, ideas and pathways gathered during my journeys into elements of my thesis works. I discovered new music for my classes. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the funding for this trip provided me with the opportunity to conduct the research that relates most strongly to my current work as an artist and scholar.