Gossip and the patient labor of dance // Elizabeth Ward (US/AT)

Wednesdays 24.1., 31.1., 14.2., 13.3.2024 // 18.00–20.00

Photo: Elizabeth Ward

Wednesdays 24.1., 31.1., 14.2., 13.3.2024 // 18.00–20.00

Bräuhausgasse 40, 1050 Vienna // movement sessions for dance and performance artists // for free // in English language // please register via dancinggossip(at)outlook.com but don’t hesitate to pass by spontaneously

Thanks to: Claire Lefèvre and Özgür Sevinç
Funded by: Stadt Wien Kultur as part of an Arbeitsstipendium
First ideas articulated in a Raw Matters Tender Step residency.

Gossip is an old word with a tangled history.

On four winter Wednesdays Elizabeth Ward invites you to gossiping dance or dancing gossip sessions. A moment to lean into moving together outside of education or production. Connected to Elizabeth’s RESIDENCY@Im_flieger these sessions are curious about the movement of dancers, not just in the studio but also geographically and generationally.

Elizabeth Ward writes:

Every time a group of dancers meets, we are also meeting the legacies of those that shaped us. There are the horrible teachers we wished we could have skipped, those who inspired, those we never met but merely read about or saw perform or heard a story of their dancing. On four Wednesday evenings this Winter, I wish to invite you to join an open session for gossiping dance or dancing gossip at Im_flieger.

When thinking back on my most treasured experiences as a dancer working in Portland, Oregon and New York City the moments that stand out for me are not “trainings” or rehearsals, but the time spent in the studio with others simply for the sake of dancing together.  I was lucky enough to experience the generosity of older choreographers offering up their studios for regular gatherings – not a class, not a performance, not a rehearsal – to share time, stories, and dances. In my life in Europe, this is one thing I really miss.

This next year I will work on the themes of migration, dance histories, and dance fantasies following many paths: personal, historical, and communal.

Gossip is an old word with a tangled history. In Old English, it meant a person one had a spiritual relationship with, later it came to mean a close friend, and later still the more negative idle gendered gossip came about. What interests me is the informal storytelling element in this style of speech.

In “On Freedom: Four Songs of Care and Constraint” Maggie Nelson writes, “Patient labor differs from moments of liberation or itinerant feelings of freedom in that it goes on. Because it goes on, it has more space and time for striated, even contradictory sensations, such as boredom and excitement, hope and despair, purpose and purposelessness, emancipation and constraint, feeling good and feeling otherwise. These vacillations can make it difficult to recognize our patient labor as a practice of freedom in and of itself.”

Sounds kinda like the life of a dancer.

Elizabeth Ward (US/AT) is a dancer, choreographer and occasional Outside Eye. She is interested in how individual and collective dance histories are shaped by geography and the movements of people and ideas. Her earliest performing experiences were dancing children’s roles with the Atlanta Ballet. Later she studied Post-Modern Dance in Vermont which eventually led her to New York City where she danced for downtown choreographers such as Cathy Weis, Yvonne Meier, DD Dorvillier, Rebecca Brooks, Miguel Gutierrez, Biba Bell, and Heather Kravas. In NYC, her work was shown at Danspace, Movement Research at Judson Church, AUNTS, the Chocolate Factory, and the Kitchen. Since moving to Vienna she has danced for Anne Juren, Philipp Gehmacher, Veza Fernández, and Samuel Feldhandler. Her work has been shown in Austria through brut, WUK, TQW, Wiener Festwochen, ImPulsTanz, and steirischer herbst.