The Rio de Janeiro International Conference, which will happen at Casa França-Brasil Cultural Center, on June 22nd - 25th, 2022, invites artists-researchers to reflect on the relationship between Modernism and Laban’s arts and movement principles, and to discuss the different paths the current Labanian Field is pursuing, either embodying or contradicting the parameters of Modernism.
While some Modernist parameters are culturally specific, others, such as breaking with traditional patterns; the fight for the freedom of artistic expression; political and social thoughts expressed publicly in artwork; and the emergence of women leaders in arts and politics, are common to many countries, becoming interesting threads for academic and artistic inquiry.
22+100: Laban and the Modernist Project makes a reference to the Brazilian 1922 Modern Art Week, a cultural festival staged at the Opera House of the city of São Paulo, in February of 1922, as perceived 100 years later.
The festival, which presented more than one hundred new works of art, became the symbolic marker of the Modernist movement in Brazil, and its artistic repercussions still resonate nowadays. Nevertheless, current scholarship questions why some pioneer artists were not included, and why dance was practically ignored.
22+100: Laban and the Modernist Project is interested in inquiring how Modernist parameters influenced the performing arts across the world and if/how it continues to inspire artists-researchers to experiment with new ideas.
We hope to have the pleasure of your participation!
Modern Dance and Laban's influence on the contemporary dance and performance art scenario
Developed in the first decades of the 20th century, modern dance resembles modern visual arts, music and literature in being experimental and iconoclastic. Its most well-known pioneers - Isadora Duncan, Loie Fuller, Ruth Saint Denis, and Ted Shawn in the United States, and Rudolf Laban and Mary Wigman, in Germany - each in their own way rebelled against traditional formalism and sought to inspire audiences and dancers alike to become increasingly aware of inner-outer realities, as embodied in dance.
Among them, probably Rudolf Laban was the one with the most lasting and diverse influence, which extends beyond the Performing Arts. Although there is not much documentation about his choreographies, his artistic collaborations with Dada performers of the Zurich’s Cabaret Voltaire; the Summer Programs he conducted in Monte Verita; and the famous dancers, such as Mary Wigman, who studied with him at the movement school he founded in Munich, in 1910, gave Laban the designation of “Father of German Modern Dance.” Moreover, the complex movement system he created and developed throughout his life - LABAN SYSTEM - remains relevant today through the in-depth studies and the 'actualizations' it gained over the years by distinguished artists-researchers of the Laban field.
The Modernist 'Manifesto"
as Decolonial Support
The Brazilian Modernist movement gained strength with the Anthropophagic Manifesto, written by the poet Oswald de Andrade, in 1928. His metaphoric use of the term indicated a cultural association with the process of eating, assimilating, and regurgitating a transfigured element. For visual artists, musicians, writers, dancer-choreographers, and performers, who embraced the Manifesto’s philosophy, it meant the creation of unique works, freed from the constraints of European form, while acknowledging their avant-garde inspiration.
Extending this key concept, which in our point of view can support decolonial perspectives in movement studies, the conference invites participants to reflect on the processes of reinterpretation of Laban’s theories, which maintain a strong relation with the foundational texts, while imparting a signature of current times and the embracing of multiple cultures.
Regina Miranda, CMA & Ligia Tourinho, CMA