P0$$€ – dance and reading group is a gathering for people wanting to spend time dancing and reading together.
It is an open-ended study circle for practitioners within contemporary dance and other curious ones. We meet up in different constellations to practice reading and dancing together, and investigate what this could mean. Each session is hosted by one or several practitioners who propose the materials: text to read, a way to read the text, and dances.
P0$$€ was initiated in Stockholm in 2017 by Lisen Pousette, Chloe Chignell, Tamara Alegre and Klara Utke Acs (Ellen Söderhult as coach for a while) and was joined by Alice MacKenzie and Austeja Vilkaityte (see interview with P0$$€ Stockholm below). In Copenhagen, it is initiated and run by Lydia Östberg Diakité, Cassie Malte Augusta, Camilla Lind, Snorre Jeppe Hansen and Olivia Riviere. It was initiated in Melbourne by Alice Heyward, Rebecca Jensen and Sarah Aiken. The graphics are made by Ali-eddine Abdelkhalek.
P0$$€ arises from contemporary dance communities in different cities. People interested in embodied practice have come together to collectively think with and through text and movement. It is open to everyone, not only those who identify as dance artists or are part of a dance community or scene. No level of experience of reading, writing or dancing makes anyone more or less able to be part of a P0$$€.
There is no set program and no budget. It begins with someone’s wish to bring a text and movement practice to a group of people; to think, question and practice dancing (as thinking) together. Each P0$$€ is its own occasion.
The first P0$$€ dance and reading MELBOURNE gathering took place on February 19, 2019 at Becky Hilton and Ben Speth’s former home. A 60’s New York-cum-90’s Footscray loft dream, built by Becky and Ben above a warehouse that many dancers and musicians have lived in or passed through over the years, as guests or residents, performers or audience. It was an ideal location for P0$$E’s first happening in Melbourne, steeped in noughties Melbourne dance history, beyond the institutions.
Since then, P0$$E has taken place in Melbourne more or less monthly, in different locations. Adopted from weekly sessions happening after hours in studio spaces at DOCH, School of Dance and Circus - Uniarts in Stockholm, P0$$E in Melbourne, with our small community and no fixed location, is developing its own texture, personality, interests and qualities.
On March 17th 2020, Australia was shut down as the first wave of COVID-19 began. This day was the last planned session at WXYZ studios, which would have hosted our bodies physically interacting in a shared space. This session was transformed into a written score shared on a Google Doc for the P0$$€ to experiment with, each on their own. As lockdown continued, we formed the P0$$€ dance and reading library: an open-source Google drive folder where anyone is able to share texts. Isolated living necessitated that P0$$€ relocate to Zoom. In May, Amy Spiers, Alice Heyward and Rebecca Jensen hosted a P0$$€ focused on reading and raving with Choreomania: Dance and Disorder by Kélina Gotman; a book that traces the emergence and spread of the ‘choreomania’ concept through colonial medical and ethnographic circles, showing how fantasies of instability—and of the Oriental other—haunted scientific modernity. We went out with our phones through our different streets and rave-danced alone and in public, connected to the P0$$€ through our whirring cameras and screens, dancing to the same rave mix made especially for this session by Melbourne DJ Andras Fox.
The next session on Zoom also used this space beyond its basic functions, delving into the way the screen flattens our bodies and is essentially a machine for the “production of subjectivity”. Alexander Powers, our host, provided us with excerpts of Signs and Machines: Capitalism and the Production of Subjectivity by Maurizio Lazzarato, and proposed a movement score they called ‘Zoom(ic) Assemblages’. In this score (instructions for movement), we enacted and manipulated our daily routines, a kind of ‘mime-dance’, exploring how our subjectivities become increasingly mechanized by visual/screen culture and labour within late capitalism (more so now than ever, living and working in our digital pandemic conditions).
P0$$€s in lockdown are strategies to continue. We need to connect and maintain an ethos of embodied and collective thinking, while isolated. We have found spaces and ways to gather in separation while we understand that we are not ‘together’ as we wish to be.
Harriet Gilles and Ebony Muller are soon to host P0$$€s on Zoom, with Harriet sharing Susan Sontag’s 'Notes on Camp' and Matthew Sini’s 'Where did camp go?' with a related movement practice, and Ebony sharing 'Towards an Aesthetics of Care' by James Thompson and her practice ‘CARE DANCE’, through which we will dance/improvise in-relation to the self and other.
P0$$€ is parasitic. It takes web-like, amorphous forms. It always has potential for new iterations, and it cannot be stopped unless a proposition to host a gathering is never again made! Perhaps it is a bit like a coronavirus, in as much as it is a response, a contagious spreading, reaching out under the radar: an infectious energy of thinking and doing, though dancing and reading and thinking together is not deadly like a viral illness. P0$$E has willpower in action at its heart, surviving the current conditions imposed worldwide. It is driven by curiosity, movement, sharing, being-in-company with others and valuing knowledge in its many forms.
P0$$€ dance and reading MELBOURNE
P0$$€ is engaged with critical practices and with generating discourse through doing. P0$$€ is an institutional parasite, an autonomous entity, based on the idea that nothing is connected to everything, everything is connected to something (Donna Haraway). The host of P0$$€ changes from session to session, just like its participants. The content of the P0$$€ is responsive to the participants’ proposals or ideas. P0$$€ is whoever is there.
Duration will be more or less 2h00 hours depending on each occasion.
Come whenever you want! (It’s best if you arrive at the beginning).
P0$$€ guidelines: If you want to host a P0$$€ event around a particular text or practice, contact Alice Heyward, Rebecca Jensen, Ellen Davies, Annabelle Balharry and Sarah Aiken or write to email@example.com. We will find space for the occasion and extend the invitation to people to join us. In the spirit of reading and dancing together, we encourage that no preparation or prior reading is expected from the partakers who come to P0$$€ sessions.
We try to document the P0$$€ sessions each time (however not strictly) according to what is proposed. Could be through video, photos, sound recordings or text, with consent from the part-takers. The documentation is uploaded in this facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/292367521386865/. In this way, we slowly generate an archive of texts and documentation.
This is the ever-growing P0$$€ library. Browse and add freely.
Stay up to date with P0$$€ dance and reading MELBOURNE by joining the group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/292367521386865/, follow our site https://possedanceandreadingmelbourne.wordpress.com/and email firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to a mailing list. P0$$€ MELBOURNE’s Instagram is @p0sse.melb.
P0$$€ feat. Ebony Muller, P0$$€ feat. Alexander Powers, P0$$€ feat. Amy Spiers, Alice Heyward, Bec Jensen, P0$$€ feat. Alice Heyward, P0$$€ feat. Jayson Patterson, P0$$€ feat. Chloe Chignell , P0$$€ feat. Renae Shadler , P0$$€ feat. Ebony Howald, P0$$€ feat. Jonni Homsey , P0$$€ feat. Rebecca Jensen, P0$$€ feat. Annabelle Balharry, P0$$€ feat. Ellen Davies and Amy Spiers, P0$$€ feat. Sarah Aiken, POSSE feat. Lydia Connolly-Hiatt , P0SSE feat. Alice Heyward & Megan Payne
November 4, 2019
POSSE is a dance and reading circle that first started in Stockholm in February 2017. During the last year it has taken place at c.off, hosted by different practitioners from the field of dance and choreography. POSSE is right now organized by Alice MacKenzie, Austeja Vilkaityte, Klara Utke Acs and Lisen Pousette. We asked them what POSSE is and how it will develop.
How would you describe POSSE and how is it organized?
– POSSE is a gathering for dancing and reading that takes place on a regular basis. It is an open-ended study circle and each session is hosted by a different practitioner within dance, choreography, visual arts, mime, philosophy and other fields. We like to think of it as a gathering point: you know someone will be there, but never exactly who.
How did you come up with the idea and what were the needs that led up to it?
– Initially, the wish to create a space for gathering around text and dance came from a proposal by Tamara Alegre. This was in 2017 when Tamara, Klara Utke Acs and Lisen Pousette were studying at DOCH and Chloe Chignell was living in Stockholm. What then came to be POSSE emerged from a collective wish for an informal context where you could share ideas, materials and spontaneous inputs related to both reading and dancing. We felt that there were other contexts where you could share practices, by which we mean: something you as an artist have spent a lot of time and work on, with others or by yourself. Due to this, we felt there were few or no contexts where you could share text and dance related ideas that were not expected to be highly articulated and/or have a certain degree of academic/professional weight. This does not mean we wanted a less serious form of gathering - rather a space to gather where we could seriously approach the un-articulated together.
We felt a need for a space where it was possible to share everything from an abstract idea to something you’ve tried once, or a 10-year practice, with an emphasis on the doing-together with the people that are there.
POSSE started out as an extracurricular activity and a way to parasite on DOCH’s space. Several dance studios were often left empty in the evenings, but impossible to access if you’re not a part of the institution. Later on, we decided to initiate the collaboration with c.off and ABF, to make it more accessible for people who weren’t necessarily studying at DOCH and to see what POSSE could become in a different context.
POSSE evolves around both text and dance/choreography as a point of departure for each session. What methods do you work with to engage with the material and in what ways can the textual and choreographic elements overlap and intertwine?
–Yes, text and dance is really the basis — it’s what we gather around. We think that POSSE is as much about reading and dancing together — to explore what that could be — as it is about the choices of materials. Since each session is hosted by a different person, the kinds of materials and approaches change. As organizers, we have set up the time frame and the idea of a dance and reading group and the hosts define for themselves what this could be. The host makes a proposal in terms of the material and a method to engage with it. Examples of readings could be to read an article on hair and magic whilst braiding each other's hair, to listen to a text through feeling the vibrations of another body, who is reading it out loud, or simply, to sit in a circle and read a paragraph out loud one at the time. The method of approaching the dance material also varies just as the kind of dance material itself varies. Whether it is a dance phrase, a score, a meditation, lip-syncing, growling or doing drag, the idea is that the host proposes and then we all figure out how to deal with that proposal together.
Have you discovered any expected or unexpected synergies (connections, co-operation, liaisons) over time when pursuing this type of practice with a repetitive format?
– During the time of organizing POSSE we have been building an archive of the texts and dances that have been proposed. This was not a clear intention in the beginning, but has happened through time and it is something that we have really come to appreciate. In contrast to the simple nature of the format that POSSE proposes, the text and dance archive that is continuously unfolding offers an incredible richness. This would have been impossible to plan or imagine before starting. In addition to being a record of texts versus dances, the collection has become an overarching POSSE archive, where themes connect, threads intertwine and interests overlap. Rather than deciding on the kind of content in advance, POSSE has been building a discourse through doing and according to the interests, curiosities and desires of the ones that have taken part and proposed. None of us has participated in every single POSSE, however everyone that has participated in POSSE — to whatever extent — has their own references according to the sessions they have been part of. It is like an open-ended web of knowledge.
Do you have any specific ways of dealing with the selection process for the content of each session?
– It varies between us asking people to host and people proposing themselves. The idea is that the host has attended a POSSE before. Even if they decide to host the POSSE in a very different way, it is nice to have a reference to how someone else has done it and to sense the vibe of POSSE. It creates a discontinuous cohesion to the sessions. Either people that have participated in a previous POSSE have an idea and propose to host a POSSE on a particular date, or we encourage and ask colleagues to host. It can be a good excuse to read that text that you never get to read on your own or to learn a dance from your favorite music video. Sometimes, we also ask people that are passing through Stockholm but are not based here, even if they haven’t participated in a POSSE before, but are familiar with the format.
From time to time, we have discussed whether we should make a more clear outline and direction in terms of the content. We tend to read feminist, intersectional and critical texts whether they are articles, song lyrics, stories or poems. However, we want to insist that how we read the texts and engage with them is as important within POSSE. So if we read a text that has problematic aspects we deal with it in an explicitly critical way.
What are your plans and visions for POSSE in the future?
– For now we will see how the current format and way of organizing ourselves is working. We recently changed from meeting every Tuesday to meeting two Tuesdays per month, and now we are testing to see how that works and if it creates the kind of cohesion and consistency that we would like POSSE to have. We are also discussing the format in terms of sustainability and relevance. The weekly POSSEs are driven entirely voluntary by both us as organizers and by the hosts. We need the format of POSSE to serve us rather than us serving the format. Spelling P0$$€ with a zero, dollar sign and euro like we did initially was a wink at the fact that we are voluntarily organized, we are not paying for space and free to attend.
A number of POSSEs have been started in other cities by people who spent some time in the Stockholm version. It is very exciting to see how the POSSEs in Copenhagen and Melbourne unfold and what questions and aspects that will arise in these contexts. At the moment there is also a discussion about starting one in Montreal!
To see who is hosting and to access the archive of POSSE in Stockholm, you are welcome to join the group P0$$€ dance and reading STOCKHOLM on Facebook: