Liam Scanlon on B Motion, Bassano / EDN Carte Blanche programme

During the B.Motion dance week, from 19 to 26 August, Bassano becomes the city of dance, with an intense schedule of shows (see the program here) and a series of side activities: meetings, workshops, conferences and research open to public…

DI Associate Artist Liam Scanlon on attending B Motion 2019:

I did have some expectations before I met. Being relatively new to the world of contemporary dance, and coming from the Irish traditional arts scene at home and internationally, I had been used to a particular way of working and operating. Last year I attended Tanzmesse and was exposed to different way of networking in a different genre. I expected that my time in Bassano would be similar to my experience of Tanzmesse. However my experience was very different to what I had expected.

Firstly the organisation of the exchange, and particularly the role Eva played, made everything relaxed, easy and felt effortlessly free flowing. From the directions provided to help us reach Bassano, to the timetabling for the week and regularly checking in with us throughout the day made sure everything ran smoothly. The town where the festival was held was calm and charming, and all venues were easily reached from where we staying. 

On the first evening we all met for dinner and were introduced to each other. This made it easier when attending the workshops, seminars and performances throughout the next day, where between events we could casually get to know each other more. 

The festival itself radiated a strong energy through the town, and the quality and range of diversity in the performances were reaffirming. It was clear that a lot of though had gone into the pacing of events  both thematically and energy wise, in the choice of venue and location, and the pieces chosen to be shared. 

From churches to converted garages, gardens to museums, palazzo's to theatres, dance solos and full stage works to audience immersion pieces, community dance and arte plastique, the range was very broad. 

There were numerous highlights from B-Motion, and in different ways.
Firstly the opportunity to experience a dance festival of this size and calibre, gave me plenty of ideas of how this may be applied to smaller festivals at home and how dance as a headlining art form could be brought forward. Experiencing powerful and thought provoking performances like Bodies in the Dark from a Korean based company LaughingElephant, and community dance project by people with parkinsons reminded me how powerful dance can be for audiences, participants and communities.

Watching performances by Silvia Gribaudi and Yossioded will definitely inform my future approach to the creative process, and booking in the workshop for Save the Last Dance for Me before seeing the performance has encouraged me to think about how traditional dance can be reimagined and re-represented in a contemporary context.

However, I think the most beneficial aspect of this exchange was the opportunity to meet, get to know and exchange ideas, thoughts and advice with the other artists on the EDN Carte Blanche programme. This was something I had not honestly expected to be so beneficial. Listening to others talk about their process and work as well as listening to their insights into me and what I do was enlightening. I feel as a result of the way in which the carte blanche was structured, we had quality time to talk, discuss and reflect. As a group we bonded. And as a result developed positive and mutually beneficial networks going forward. This was something which I have experienced in Ireland and the dance community here, but could not achieve at an event such as Tanzmesse, A personal connection. There is the chance of direct information about residencies and funding opportunities, possible collaborations or festival bookings, and simply shared artistic advice and support from each other should we need it. 

A huge thank you to Dance Ireland and EDN for affording me this opportunity. My experience at B-Motion far surpassed and exceeded anything I could have thought it would be like.