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Blog for dancers, choreographers, critics, pedagogues

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11.10.2019, 11:22:59   |  Photo: Zuzana Žabková  |   Category: Dramaturgy, Space & context, Interdisciplinarity, Process of making, Education, Art & Society

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What does mean to be helpful?

Key words:
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During the Round Table: Choreographing now  two coaches Kathy Casey and Ana Dubljevic were sharing the insides of their dramaturgical processes in the frame of the Residencies with Coaching.  The Round Table took place on Sunday, August 25th 2019 in the National Gallery Prague, For those who could not be there, we asked one of our coaches Kathy Casey - dramaturge and artistic director of Montreal Danse to share the notes of her conference on  What does mean to be helpful in creative process?

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How to be helpful? 

Conference in Prague/ Resiedencies with Coaching 


Areas of focus

  • What are different ways we can talk together.
  • Creation teams and their dynamics.
  • How can we take on creation problems: blockages, uncertainties dislikes, too many choices, stress, etc.

Guiding principles as a dramaturge

  • Build trust
  • Don’t assuming knowledge
  • Have faith in process
  • Believe in group (people)
  • choices are the nature of the work – be careful


Research during a creation

  • What is the language of this project
  • What is known about this project
  • What is the practice of this project


Current questions:

  • What is the invitation
  • What is missing
  • What is too much
  • What is not enough
  • What knows itself too much
  • What doesn’t know itself enough


All of these are ways of asking:  What are ways to be helpful?

Talk about dramaturgy roles (these frequently come up when people talk about what a dramaturge does) which are various ways to be helpful – there are many others…

Sounding board

Reference giver





First Audience

Advice giver



I’d like to share some thinking models outside the art field that have been useful for me.

6 thinking Hats by Edward de Bono

Black hat - what is not good about an idea, usefulness of banning it

White hat - what do we know

Green hat - finding ideas

Red hat - how do we feel about it

Yellow hat - what is good about an idea

Blue hat - meta, how are we going to think about something - structure of thinking

Green hat - opening out or going in

So questioning can become a tool for reframing or unframing what we know or ways we are comfortable with seeing work, ideas, possibilities etc.  So that there are cracks for different ideas or approaches to emerge.  To do this, we have to unhook from our knowing as well and stab into the dark.


Lateral vs critical thinking - movement in ideas rather than finding solutions


Oblique Strategies by Brian Eno, Cunningham IChing, words in dictionary, - the more unrelated or random they are to what’s happening, the more they can get thoughts in motion. Playful but using them takes faith that it’s worth it and not a waste of time.  You don’t try to aim at a solution.

Reframing:  Shifting how you are thinking about something and then yellow hat

  • Put in question a basic assumptions:  Taking away sound in Instant Community when everything had been based on talking to create community - believing in work
  • Getting rid of things: everything but what you love  OR  getting rid of what you like the most.   Always in my mind : (when) will we get rid of the first thing we really like
  • Byron Katie – Turn arounds    Shoulds and find what’s good in it (my kids should be more respectful to me - my kids shouldn’t ..., I should be more respectful to my kids)


Flow theory as a way to look at creation problems – Look at chart



Jeanne Nakamura and Csíkszentmihályi that you need all of the following to be in flow

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