Scenes Seen and Heard: Ecologies, Interdependencies, Adversities
In early 2021, we co-designed a research project on the impacts of Covid-19 and Brexit on freelance dance artists in the UK (Dancing Through Crises, with Alexandra Kolb and Nicole Haitzinger). ‘Ecology’ appeared as an eco-social metaphor describing how dance professionals conceive of their situations, and as a concept migrating from biological discourses that allows to identify interdependencies and knock-on effects in dance landscapes. By drawing attention to the interconnectedness of the field, ecology points towards a utopian, collective understanding of intra-sector relationships. With its social-biological connotations, it also points to the pressures dance practitioners experience in environments where members make choices for both their artistic survival and for their practices. In this lecture-demonstration, we interrogate the notion of ecology to explore dynamics between independent artists and companies/institutions. We probe different facets of ‘ecology’ through words, drawn traces and movements, inviting the audience to participate in an embodied, mobile mapping of freelance dance in a post-Brexit, post-Covid UK era that supports further reflection on their own contexts. Visualising connections, frictions, and losses, we interrogate what the sustainability of dance ecologies may be: taking care of endangered species, appraising the inventory of its resources, and reconsidering self-imposed and newly generated taxonomies.