The workers’ right to be seen online: Nir de Volff on the kick-off of EVERYBODY DANCE NOW GERMANY 2022, a new online platform for dancers and dance in Germany.
Since the pandemic, digitalization has not only been on everyone’s lips, but it has also finally made some headway in the arts as well. It brings new opportunities and new challenges for dance and its actors along with it. Berlin-based dancer and choreographer Nir de Volff has detected a bit of a gap in the recent advancement of digital thinking in dance – and is setting up an Instagram channel to allow dancers to showcase themselves online.
Text: Nir de Volff / TOTAL BRUTAL
Dancer and choreographer
We’re facing (post-)pandemic days, and a new phase of dance and digitalization has actually just commenced. A new dance world slowly began establishing itself when Germany put its hands deep in its pockets to support projects revolving around digital thinking. We do not yet know where all this is leading, but just in terms of the artistic outcome, I wonder how far we will go in changing the classic forms of performing live on stage or outdoor and how this will change the relationship with our audiences if we’re unable to hear their applause. At any rate, with the advent of this “new age” I ended up having a look around and asking myself: What do the dancers and the performers across Germany need within all of these new stipends, new ideas, and new possibilities? What’s missing? And it became clear to me that no one was really considering the broad perspectives and needs of the “workers” along with their own particular need to be included in new digital formats of dance.
What’s more – theatres, programmers, and basically everyone else is talking about diversity and equality – but do we, the dancers, have (any) one central platform to showcase ourselves and our diversity? Do we have a platform from which we might empower ourselves and in the (near) future use the digital presence of thousands of dancers for national achievements for all forms of dance?
National platforms for discussions, theories, thinking, and performances/shows all exist, but there’s no platform that I am aware of that provides a central interface for the individual bodies and the identities of diverse dancers across Germany.
An Insta channel for all of dance
With this in mind, I came up with a simple idea that can be used as a vehicle to present real diversity and hopefully support each and every dancer in Germany in this time of digitalization: A new online national platform on Instagram by the name of EVERYBODY DANCE NOW GERMANY 2022.
It’s a platform that works like a flashmob that builds an archive for dancers living and working in Germany as their base, regardless of their dancing style, age, body condition (ability), gender or region. It’s not just cutting edge contemporary dance needs a platform, but also all styles that exist across the country! Each dancer can create their short clip and be part of the channel.
Open for contributions after the kick-off
As first step, dancers from Berlin, Cologne, Dusseldorf, Hamburg, Munich, Leipzig, Frankfurt, Stuttgart and Nuremberg will create 35-second long individual clips dancing to a cover version of the song “Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)”, created by the musician Daniel Benyamin, each wearing different individual pink costumes. Under my guidelines, the choreography explores how best to celebrate each person’s body and shine bright like a diamond.
The premiere of the Instagram channel will take place on September 17, 2022 at mid-day, and immediately afterwards the channel will be open to all dancers in Germany. The channel will have one clip explaining how to create your own clip and share it.
A discussion on empowering bodies
On the same day, at 11 a.m., an online discussion moderated and created together with Arnd Wesemann, editor of the journal tanz, will be held as a video conference on the subject of “Equality & Empowering Bodies”. Is the fact that the dance scene itself uses the terms “disabled” or “mixed abled” a negative influence on the way the public views dancers on stage? Are we categorizing ourselves in a stronger/weaker, normative/non-normative position in the dance world? Are we limiting the way the public sees different bodies on stage, whereas what we actually strive to do is to empower all of us, as equals? EVERYBODY DANCE NOW is asking us not to categorize ourselves as normative and non-normative dancers, but rather as one realm of dancers with different bodies, energies and personalities. The project aims to highlight our common ground as human beings and demonstrate what unites us as performers, not what separates us.
The intention is that this new Instagram channel will stay around for the future as more users are able to upload their own videos. Together we can create an online archive that celebrates the vast, complex, dynamic “puzzle” that comprises the entire German dance scene.