The label “artistic research” is a good one for bagging funding. Stages are declared laboratories, dancers become researchers and audiences reward the authenticity of the experiment with their time. But behind noble academism often lies frustration and exhaustion. Fortunately, in the world of concept dance, one also comes across artists like Martin Nachbar, who take their research seriously, believe in it, and yet devote themselves to explore fundamental questions with virtuosity and ease: What is a theatre situation at all? Can being an audience member be seen as work? What happens when someone on stage or in the audience closes their eyes? In Thingamajig Nachbar dissects the complex genesis of an elusive ‘thing’, which lingers in the mind long after the performance. He meticulously dissembles the choreographic space-time context; he varies movement sequences and body images, and plays with repetition, quotation, coincidence and combination. He presents dance as a multi-dimensional physical apparatus, which perhaps really does have something to do with knowledge and can provide answers in a world which seems increasingly affective and impulsive. Nachbar approaches his stage research as an infinite process that makes equal demands of the performers and the audience, and inevitably produces a lot of residue. Or supposed residue. Because it is precisely here – in the (as yet) unprocessed – that the real poetry lies, which is what Nachbar’s latest work Unfinishing spotlights.
Channeling Judson Church (2014)
Martin Nachbar & Steven Heather
Der Choreoturg (2016)
Martin Nachbar & Jeroen Peeters
Martin Nachbar is a choreographer and performer. He likes to work in cooperation with others, e.g. dramaturge Jeroen Peeters, musicians Boris Hauf and Steven Heather, costume designers Michiel Keupers and Marion Montel, artist Paul Hendrikse, lighting designer Bruno Pocheron, and dancers such as Zoe Knights, Benni Pohlig, Noha Ramadan and Jochen Roller. Martin Nachbar teaches at P.A.R.T.S., the Salzburg Experimental Academy of Dance (SEAD), the School for New Dance Development (SNDO), Hamburg University and the Interuniversity Centre for Dance Berlin (HZT). He has also written and published work on some of his over 20 dance pieces. He is currently writing a dissertation on walking. He recently took the piece Repeater – Tanzstück mit Vater to Russia and plans to start work on two children’s productions in the near future.