Terje Tjøme Mossige on improvisation and choreography
These quotes are from my personal recording of a seminar at Dansens Hus in Oslo held November 4th 2006, danseren som formidler. The topic of the seminar was the dancer's role as a "mediator" between the choreographer and the audience, and how choreographers and dancers interact.
Terje Tjøme Mossige is a seasoned Norwegian contemporary dancer. He has worked quite a lot with choreographer Ina Christel Johannesen. A similar collection of quotations from Ina's speech at the seminar is available.
There may be errors in the transcription or translation, any such errors are obviously entirely my fault.
What you said about the words being so difficult - movement is hard too, just as complex as words are. But since we're working with this movement stuff we view words as something that's very hard to use. Well, I think it is hard to use words too. But using movement is just as hard as using words!
My task is in a way to convey Ina's ideas, to enter the landscape she wants to present. And that's really hard too, because we are all so incredibly independent individuals. Just taking her head, working out what's inside, what does she want to channel or say... is really difficult. The only way to do it is to start a dialogue. There's no use in her sitting down telling me what to do - I have to join into that dialogue, to try to understand her, what she actually wants.
Everything I've done in Ina's performances I've made myself. But she selected the parts. She records everything on video, every small moment.
Her trust in the performers has meant a lot to me, it's incredibly important and I don't think I've experienced a comparable level of trust with any other choreographer.
you can find - or arrive at - some form of kernel, something that means you exist for someone, somebody who is going to see and recognise something in one way or another. And there is no way to pretend you got there!
Ina says she chooses the material, and generally she does - generally. But sometimes I've done certain things during improvisation and thought: this I'm going to f***ing fight for! I won't let her take this away and leave it out. I think I've managed to do that, maybe two or three times. And it's been really important to me to do that.
Being able to fight for my things is also really important.
[Camilla Eeg (chair of debate): can you give any examples of when you as a dancer have "manipulated" the choreographer?]
What is interesting for me is - also - how I in some way can enter your task and make you realise what I want to turn that task into.
But unless I had used all these words, I would never have arrived where I am...