American choreographer Peter Kyle and Ukrainian choreographer Anton Ovchinnikov have launched DANCING THROUGH TRANSLATION, a yearlong research and performance project exploring contemporary dance as a vehicle for cross-cultural exchange. The collaboration is part of a larger celebration of 25 years of bilateral relations between the United States of America and Ukraine.Project will be supported by the Small Grants public program of the Embassy of the USA.
DANCING THROUGH TRANSLATION (DTT) is rooted in the belief that culture exists in the body, and that dancing, like everyday living, involves intersecting physical, verbal, and cognitive translational processes. Building on Kyle’s earlier choreographic investigations including his 2012 solo, 100 DAYS, DTT challenges the artists to look with fresh eyes at the wealth of human physicality that surrounds us, and to explore questions of how we process movement as language. Over the next year Ovchinnikov and Kyle will catalog, transcribe, and learn borrowed movements from everyday people they encounter in their daily travels on opposite sides of the planet.
Drawing on the material they collect, Ovchinnikov and Kyle will build a new production with a team of four dancers (two from the U.S. and two from Ukraine), an American composer, Ukrainian costume and lighting designers, and a Ukrainian tour manager. Kyle and Ovchinnikov will meet in person this fall in New York City, and in regular videoconferences in the ensuing months. In March 2018 Kyle will travel to Kiev to work with the Ukrainian team. The final phase of the collaboration will take place in summer 2018 when Kyle and U.S. dancers travel to Ukraine for an intensive rehearsal and performance period with the other artists. The completed project will tour to several cities across Ukraine, likely including Kiev, Kharkiv, Kherson, Lviv, and Dnipro.
An important outreach component of the project expands on Kyle’s 2016 Fulbright project in Kiev and seeks to engage college and university students in several dance departments in the U.S. and Ukraine. Student work groups in both countries will be invited to conduct their own movement observations, write detailed transcriptions of the material they observe, and share these with their international peers to create their own choreographic translations inspired by one another’s writings. The students will meet to share their creative work via videoconference, establishing a foundation for a “culture-bridge” between populations.
By investigating the varied communicative processes involved in dancing the artists hope to refine their understanding of the art form, and provoke new research in dance across cultures. They hope the project will inspire new international collaborations, reinforce and deepen the role of dance in cultural diplomacy, strengthen fledgling ties between the contemporary dance communities of Ukraine and the United States, and establish a basis for far-reaching international artistic exchange.
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