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May 15, 2023 · Studio note: Team If I Can’t Dance

About the If I Can’t Dance Studio

Before we tell you more about the studio, we'd like to introduce you to our art organization. Established in 2005, If I Can’t Dance, I Don’t Want To Be Part Of Your Revolution is dedicated to exploring the evolution and typology of performance and performativity in contemporary art. We do this through the development, production, and presentation of projects with artists and researchers based on long-term collaboration and support. Through a biennial program of commissions, we aim to support practitioners at pivotal stages in their career, and to represent intergenerational, international, and intersectional positions. Uniting our projects is a critical consideration of space, time, and the body (in all of its manifestations). On a day-to-day basis we operate out of a production office in Amsterdam, using the flexibility it provides us to move and adapt, as each production requires: we present our projects through an ever-changing network of partner institutions within Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and abroad, creating the conditions for each project to have a meaningful trajectory of presentations, and for diverse audiences to have access to these. Prioritizing long-term investment in collaboration with artists and researchers over "bricks and mortar", we consider "time" to be our house.

Back to the studio—about a decade into our history as an itinerant art organization in ever-shifting contexts, we felt the need to have a permanent spatial condition to return to: a space to prepare our projects, try-out approaches to presentation, and host rehearsals by groups and individuals in Amsterdam. Still resisting the idea of a fixed space (reluctant to enter the modality of presentation), a "studio" felt appropriate to developing research and production in all its facets that could be shared with local artists in order to build more sustainable relations with our communities nearby.

For another five years since coming to this concept, we searched diligently for affordable studio space in our increasingly expensive and gentrified city. The pandemic gave us a final push not to wait any longer for a physical environment and, instead, to create our studio online. The need to have a place to convene, rehearse, and produce remains acute; the online studio offers us a valuable space to share glimpses of this: the rhythms and logics of our close, long-term engagements with artists, researchers, and fellows during biennial programs. Community members who cannot attend have access through the online studio.

The If I Can’t Dance Studio, as with our broader vision, asserts performance as a living methodology—that is, as a practice that does not necessarily come to exist through a final outcome. It is ultimately about acknowledging and making more visible the collaborative and a-climactic—maybe even uneventful—everyday work involved in performance: making, researching, rehearsing, writing, organizing, convening, and archiving. With time, we have come to understand just how much there is to be tested and shared online with our audiences geographically near and far. And even more so, with time we have come to understand just how important this register is to develop in a sustainable manner, surpassing the notion of the online as an alternative and approaching it—like the studio itself—as a space permanently under construction that offers audiences differentiated forms of access.

It is hard to give an exhaustive overview of what our online studio holds within it, but we can offer some buoys for now. Each of the rooms in the studio is represented by a visual icon on the landing page, which marks the beginning of your journey into the practice shared. The icons at the top of the homepage lead you to our current productions-in-development, part of Edition IX (2022–23); the black and white ones lower down on the page give access to the processes that were part of the productions in Edition VIII (2019–21); and, interspersed throughout are other projects, including archive activations, workshops, and materials from Open Rehearsal participants. More details on the projects and their unfoldings in the studio can be found in the "studio notes" at the top right of every page; these can be clicked to expand into yellow Post-its with bits and pieces of information jotted down on them. You can also find a "curatorial note" somewhere in every room, written by If I Can’t Dance artistic team members and offering longer introductions and in-depth contextualization.

We hope that spending time in these rooms and engaging with the rich materials there will offer you meaningful paths of your own.

If you have questions or wish to share comments, send them to office@ificantdance.org. You are also very welcome to visit our archive and library at Westerdok and to attend the onsite presentations of our productions: keep an eye on our website and social media announcements for upcoming programs. Here you can subscribe to our newsletter.

Unless otherwise stated, Studio Note authors are:
FB: Frédérique Bergholtz
AF: Anik Fournier
SSG: Sara Giannini
MH: Megan Hoetger

Concept development: Frédérique Bergholtz, Anik Fournier, Sara Giannini, Megan Hoetger
Design and web development: Kommerz
Editing: If I Can’t Dance, I Don’t Want To Be Part Of Your Revolution

If I Can’t Dance is supported by the Mondriaan Fund, the AFK (Amsterdam Fund for the Arts), and Ammodo.

If I Can’t Dance is member of De Zaak Nu and Moker.

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