A conversation with Liz Kinoshita
Liz Kinoshita (°1983) was born in Toronto, Canada and moved to Europe in 2002 to further study and work. In 2004, Liz participated in DanceWEB in Vienna, Austria, after which she studied at P.A.R.T.S. from 2004-2008. Since graduating she has worked with various companies and choreographers, such as ZOO/Thomas Hauert, tg STAN, Eleanor Bauer/GoodMove, Tino Sehgal, Matija Ferlin, and Daniel Linehan/Hiatus, as well as making her own work. She has given contemporary dance workshops in Belgium, France, Sweden, Denmark and Canada. In 2013 she researched the mechanisms of the musical.
Alongside other projects, she is currently touring her work VOLCANO (2014). In February 2017 Liz premiered Radical Empathy, a work created on the graduating contemporary dance and choreography students of The Danish National School of Performing Arts.
This spring, with Mat Voorter and Thomas Hauert, she will choreograph a new work on the Ballet Junior in Geneva, Switzerland. Her newest work, You Can’t Take It With You will premiere on November 2nd & 3rd 2017 via Vooruit at LOD in Gent, Belgium. Performances will take place at MDT (SE), STUK (BE), SPRING (NL), and PACT Zollverein (DE) in 2018, precise dates tbd. At my request, Liz provided the following about her new work:
Kinoshita is inspired by her relationship to necessity vs. waste and the weight it bears upon us, physically, mentally and emotionally. In her new work, You Can’t Take It With You she investigates what we need to survive, and what we need to discard in order to sustain ourselves, and our environments. Dealing with necessity and waste is something we do everyday all across the globe in hugely different ways and Liz wants to make the consequences of quotidian actions felt in a visceral, reflective sense. What does it do to our psyche to spend time contemplating waste or wasteful actions that are often swept out of view?
For this new creation, Liz collaborates with Bryana Fritz, Justin F. Kennedy and Clinton Stringer. As performers, they are able to do what they do even in relatively bare circumstances. What they need are their bodies, their voices, their experience, practice and knowledge. For You Can’t Take It With You, they work in a raw and rigorous contemporary dance vein, with a musicality of guttural chords and repetitive mantras, focusing on delivering the sensation of weight, consumption, hoarding, holding, and rejecting. Through an evening with improvisation and twists in performativity, Liz underlines this potential to alter any situation, this agency we all carry, from one second to the next or as urgently as is necessary, to balance our materials and the weight of waste in our lives.
Q Can you tell me some things you take away from the period of work here?
There’ve been discoveries about musicality and delivery. It has been so interesting to enter Jennifer’s use of music and voice, particularly at a point in her investigation where she is gathering, looking, trying to see, labelling materials, and moving toward libretto. The two of us agree “No New Music in the room!” in that we’re looking at sound that doesn’t give the impression of being random in time.
Quartet Vanessa Goodman, Anne Cooper, Eloi Homier, Walter Kubanek
Q Tell me about music and what it means to you and to your work.
What drives me to move? Musicality, that’s where I dig in. Funny, I find that the music from my teens has a big imprint on me, and so very often I wind up using that range of music. It’s great now because access is so refined – I can listen to CJRT! I can stream Oscar Peterson! The music functions as environment or mood – often random choices, always closely relational in what I make and do.
I should say that I am into making my own music – and so what happens in the studio, the selections I use and where that leads are inspirations for created music. I look for where sounds comes from for a person, and considering muscularity in them. Another development is dividing time – a more percussive research. I wrote something called “The Mechanism of The Musical” that touches on this. Jennifer and I have been working with a small group of dancers, and I was recently showing the group a dance number with Astaire and Charisse in The Bandwagon. For me, what Astaire is doing represents optimal weight shift for the notes. And really, to sum it up, my ambition is to do this, but in improvised form. What parameters can I fix into free vocabulary?
Q Europe. What’s happening for you there?
Well, I’ve been living, study, creating, performing there for about 15 years…
Q So tell me something about what inspires you there. Talk about your influences.
Influences – I introduce my classes by naming them. There are about 5. When I’m relaying information, they are people whose work has been helpful to my practice and I want to acknowledge that when I am relaying information. What I do and what I convey is rooted in what they have given me.
Chrysa Parkinson dates back to my student years at Performing Arts Research and Training Studios (PARTS) in Brussels. Her classes gave me a new perspective – and in fact perspective is central to her work. How we see art; she turns things on their head a lot; she’s an incredible outside eye and mentor. I mention Thomas Hauert, who founded ZOO twenty years ago – a Brussels-based dance company I have often worked with, and Mat Voorter, also a founder of ZOO. I am inspired by him as a performer, and by interesting things that he makes. The ideas he offers in these ways appear in my practice. And then there is Martin Kilvady, his rigour – he is super strict. His focus is training, and practice and refining, and I think mostly he does this with people who have familiarity with the ideas as opposed to an open list. I also frequently speak of David Zambrano because I love to practice his “flying low” – a vital and lively technique. And a big influence for me is always Deborah Hay.
Giving credit to those in the room is part of a common goal, the question of how do we meet? I open the work and I try to peel back, peel back, what I can do in my listening. I know there is always more.