Thought sits poised in a body ready for action.  For no apparent reason, the body acts like it is not receiving fuel, however it does not stop but will not accelerate either. The mind and emotions take over and the body stands still, stuck in a doorway, having already left one action but resistant on arriving to the next action.  The opportunity to start is challenged by the ability to stop, until the difference between the two blurs.  One action distracts the next.  A hindering relationship, disguised as the honest moment of consideration before the body moves.

The sense of proprioception, or kinesthesia, allows us to have the desire to move, either voluntarily or involuntarily, and the ability to perform that movement.  Additionally, feedback is then sent in return to assess the outcome, all completed in a normal reaction time.  The main objective in a waiting dog dies is to expand that normal reaction time, by endlessly placing ‘somatic pauses’ in the mind and body’s communicative partnership. How long can one moment be extended?  Choreographer and performer, Michael O’Connor slips between the states of action and hesitation, allowing the mind and body’s struggle to communicate flourish.

For some of us, there are times when our inability to move is more harmful to us than the action we are afraid to do.

Michael O'Connor

Festival “Imagetanz”: Seduction, dance and sympathy.

Young Austrian choreography at its maximum form:  The Tanzquartier “still moving” underlines a positive tendency within the dance range of Vienna.  The recent Austrian choreography festivals conclude this Saturday at “imagetanz” at the Brut Theatre.  Astonishing is the absence of esoteric eye contact and telling lip sharpening that so often lends itself to the make up of the kitsch dance scene.  The emerging artists in today’s progressive dance scene can fall back on conditions which were not even recognized ten years prior and present them with a natural knowledge before an audience that no longer reacts to social realities.

These artists understand the art of seduction, not as ego-maniacs licking the jowels of their public, but use them to bring their spectators down dangerous wrong ways.  A more or less ‘cleaning up’ where temptation helps to sharpen the social experience of art.

With feelings of empathy, Michael O'Connor and Radek Hewelt also work.  The pieces of these two both start in a suspense creating moment of minimum action and then attain full growth as if dragging along like an anti-spectacular operational sequence.  O’Connor’s solo work ‘a waiting dog dies’ captivates by its strict duck-logic and the operational readiness level of the choreographer and performer, which involves silence, nonchalant flirting with sentimentality and acts of sobering provocation.

At the same time of ‘imagetanz’ which only features the new generation of choreographers, Austrian choreographer Philipp Gehmacher featured his curation ‘still moving.’  With his invitations to ten artists asking them to make forty minutes of movement and word, Gehmacher sketched his new format hybrid of working art and documentation, lecture performance and social choreography.  The conclusion of the ‘still moving’ festival was French choreographer Remy Héritier with his group work, ironically positioned between the aesthetic identities of Philipp Gehmacher and Boris Charmatz.

In Europe a new movement of young choreographers develops, and for the first time in recent dance history Austrian artists are playing in the first league.

Helmut Ploebst/ the STANDARD, 28.3.2008

Edited and translated by Michael O'Connor