“I think that equality comes with assymetry and that it’s not necessary for roles to be symmetrical for there to be equality.”
– Chrysa Parkinson

In the first episode of season three, Angela and Jana speak to Chrysa Parkinson on the creativity of the dancer: the work of dance, the authorship of the dancer, and whether excessive praise is how we pay artists in lieu of a living wage.

After many years in New York, working with Tere O’Connor Dance among others, Chrysa Parkinson now lives in Brussels. In Europe, she performed initially with Thomas Hauert and David Zambrano, and later with Boris Charmatz, Rosas/Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, Jonathan Burrows, Mette Ingvartsen, Phillip Gehmacher, Eszter Salomon, John Jasperse, Deborah Hay, Meg Stuart. She is an esteemed pedagogue, teaching annually at PARTS, and currently serving as Director of the New Performative Practices MFA program at DOCH/Uniarts in Stockholm.

Chrysa Parkinson would say that her current practice is performance.

“I don’t really like the idea that there’s ‘the body’. I don’t know what ‘the body’ is: there’s this body, my body, your body… there’s no ‘the body’ disenfranchised from its psyche and its context. It doesn’t really exist.”
– Chrysa Parkinson

This, first episode of season three, was very special to us: returning after the summer break, recording in Kieran Ruffles’ new studio, with a distinguished international guest. Chrysa was in Australia as part of Adrian Heathfield’s project Ghost Telephone, presented by the Biennale of Sydney, and invited to Melbourne by Dancehouse, as part of the Keir Choreographic Award public program. Chrysa floored us with her humility, and the articulacy with which she defined the agency of dancer – going beyond being just a ‘material’ for a choreographer’s mind.

Discussed in this episode:
dance as manual labour, choreography as middle management; working with Deborah Hay; Richard Sennett arguing with Hannah Arendt about the importance of handiwork; the split between thingliness and beingness; who owns a choreography?; teaching as ‘trafficking in procedures’; differences in audiences between New York and Europe, where afterwards at the bar other artists just say ‘hi’; and can praise replace a living wage?

“I am always attended by what I called the ‘art dog’, which is just there: pretty big, at my shoulder, a little bit of a nice wet nose, it’s kinda looking around, it sees: ‘that’s life, that’s art’.”
– Chrysa Parkinson

Enjoy and stay tuned: we have more exciting and stimulating conversations to come.

Podcast bibliography:
Moriah Evans: Interview with Chrysa Parkinson (SARMA)
Chrysa Parkinson: Self-Interview on Practice (Vimeo)

For more information about Chrysa Parkinson’s work, visit her webpage at DOCH.

This series of AUDIOSTAGE has been commissioned by DANCEHOUSE as part of the 2016 Keir Choreographic Award Public Program and was generously supported by the Keir Foundation.