Dance in the Fourth Dimension

Guy Gutman

Part 1 / An Invitation

The dimension begins with a farewell.

(Can I depart this time without anger? Without grumbling and complaining? Without drawing apart? Without standing off?

For the artist, each artistic process performs a farewell. Moreover: frequently, art itself asks us to depart and to draw apart – information, perception, habit, burden, weight.

Like a body leaping into a pirouette. Knowing that each farewell is a temporary suspension of gravity.

In Israeli dance, farewell is a cornerstone – a concept and an ideal, embodied in the titles of two major streams that have shaped it since the 1980s.

"Release" (self-explanatory) and "Gaga" (becoming crazy).

These names have penetrated the subconscious of local dance, defining a field of action (while abandoning many others, such as formalism, abstraction, scenography, plasticity etc.).

Here, dancing means departing from rigidity – to set oneself free, to disintegrate, go wild, go crazy, lose control.

A farewell that is strange and fascinating to dance – an artform that is pure discipline, practice, maintenance, and repetition.

(When one thinks about it, all artforms are.) 

In other words, it is a separation from something, towards something, a separation from one side towards the other, opposing side.

A farewell of the fourth kind is an ongoing separation. With no sides.

It is not an ideal of liberation, nor is it a wild ecstasy.

Let us depart thus: Behind us are 40,000-50,000 years of dance, 10,000 traditions of movement and dance, western, eastern, northern, southern, philosophical and technological revolutions, techniques replaced by techniques, replaced by positions, replaced by cultures, replaced by a discourse replaced by budgets and ad infinitum.

To set oneself free or lose one's mind in front of this powerfulness is meaningless (besides creating another temporary strategy and new positions of power).

In the Fourth Dimension, farewell itself is a substance and an essence. It discovers new movements and rediscovers old ones, it invents ways and reasons for dancing, or re-adopts ways of interrupting, freezing or being still. A departure that builds commitments and generates a field of inquiry.

Dance in the Fourth Dimension loves and is excited about things that are the opposites of mere liberation: to learn new discipline, to look for intelligence under every rock, to forge sensitivity,  to swallow contradictory feelings. To build instruments of movement, to become atmosphere and mystery.

Part 2 / Farewell
Body Body Body Body

In the Fourth Dimension, we will separate from the thought that dance is the art of the body (or something of that sort).

In the Fourth Dimension everybody has a body which generates dance.

There is no art without movement and body. Not even literature. Not even philosophy.

Dance in the Fourth Dimension requires separation from the body that is obsessive with its sole shaping ideology.

Separation from the thought that the body is solely MINE. That the body is in singular.

Dance in the Fourth Dimension takes place between body and dance.

And also:

Dance in the Fourth Dimension happens between the unique body and the common body.

(I am sorry, we cannot do without a common body, that's the way it is in the dimension – in my opinion, at least. The dancing body in the Fourth Dimension is beyond specific, beyond competence, beyond the autobiographic, the geographic, knowledge, memory.)

That is why:
Dance in the Fourth Dimension exchanges technique for technical
Dance in the Fourth Dimension exchanges memory for repertoire

Part 3
Let's Go Ahead!

The Fourth Dimension is where strategies collapse
I'll rephrase
The Fourth Dimension aspires to get to the place where strategy collapses

Example A: "The Dance Museum"
Let us no longer say "Museum"
Not a museum. Not another institution – but a dimension.
In the dimension there is no curation, there is no dramaturgy.
Not a place. Not another real-estate – a dimension.
A dimension escapes the archive, the collection, the reduction,

Example B: Field
Let us no longer say "Field"
In the field:
All spots are taken!
All the lands are sold out
We are potentials with no possibilities

In the dimension:
All spots are ours (and yours!)
We have created a land
Realization is possible

Example C: Expanded Choreography
Let us no longer say "Expanded"
Let us no longer speak of a territory, no more modernism, the limits of dance and how we can confirm/blur them.
Instead of expanding ourselves (again this "WE" taking over…) against the estranged world around us, let us invite the world and let it expand towards us and with us. 

Wish for it.
I wish we can meet in the Fourth Dimension.

Part 4
So, What is INSIDE the Fourth Dimension?

Let's take a look at the studio. At the basic ingredients.

An Entrance
What is the studio for Dance in the Fourth Dimension? Where is it? What is it made of? What goes into it? Who gets into it? What does its daily routine look like? Or its night routine? What are its human/physical/plastic/material/spatial/political/musical substances? And why does everybody today still have the same studio?

The Human Substance
In the Fourth Dimension there are artists and dancers. They are all the same in the Fourth Dimension.
Separating these categories is a brutal action, like saying "art without artists" or "a state without citizens."
I will clarify. This is what Dance in the Fourth Dimension is like:

Art = Dance = Artists = Dancers

From now on I can write about any of these categories as separate and equal to all others.

In the studio there are dancers. They contain an infinite diversity of sensitivities, qualities and wisdoms. Dance is not the total of these sensitivities and qualities, yet it is related to them and speaks to them with its own unique intimacy. 

The studio is a place hungry for abundance and generosity. And no one is as generous as dancers. 

On this opportunity, a message from the dancers:

Please stop telling them "practice"! (or praxis)

A note: The fact that something is well articulated does not necessarily mean it is profound or offers something of value.

Practice wishes to anchor the art of dance by means of a rational, validating itself and proving that it is productive even in its despicable moments. No longer saying "practice" means no longer normalizing the creative action or valuing it in terms of efficiency and productivity.

In the Fourth Dimension it is better for artists to be and work with people who are not impressed by their practice. On the contrary!

Instead, in the Fourth Dimension:

In the studio we will offer dancers an experience, we will surprise them, surprise ourselves, be surprised by the studio itself. We will enable something new, get out of the studio, go out for a long walk, a trail, go to the mountains; we will hesitate, prepare a meal, a feast, fall asleep, we will all be exposed in our weaknesses and our strengths – in other words, we will be together artists and dance.

A Worldview
It is a shame that Yvonne Reiner's No Manifesto, which had emerged from the Fourth Dimension, has been translated and diverted from a realm of unleashing and renewal to a realm of rules, restrictions and regularization. As if the manifesto led to the understanding that this was what artists did – started setting rules and limitations upon themselves, before they had even asked themselves what they wanted to do.

The fourth dimension is an environment of battle between perspectives, between autonomies. A place where the worldview takes a hold of us unexpectedly, revealing itself, surprising us!

Surprise – the Fourth Dimension is a place for surprises (just like the Real)

Final Part
Come, Audience, to Dance in the Fourth Dimension!
Mr. Raymond Whitehead, We're on Your Side!

A Breach of Trust
We have heard about the famous case of Mr. Raymond Whitehead, who had filed a lawsuit against choreographer Jerome Bell for breach of trust and negligence in his performance Jerome Bell.

Dance scholar André Lepecki has written about him in detail, making him notorious in the world of contemporary dance. "There was nothing in the performance [he] would describe as dance, which he defined as 'people moving rhythmically, jumping up and down, usually to music but not always' and conveying some emotion.”

Lepecki connects Mr. Whitehead's point of view to that of The New York Times critic Anna Kisselgoff, saying that they "reflect a widespread inability, or even unwillingness, to critically account for recent choreographic practices as valid artistic experiments."


Dance in the Fourth Dimension is with Mr. Raymond Whitehead. It is with the audience. Always. In times of crisis, too.

Dance in the Fourth Dimension is with Jerome Bell. It is with the audience. Always. Even when it breaches trust. 

Dance in the Fourth Dimension does not institutionalize this relationship. It does not anchor it in criticism, does not despise it, does not shake it off and certainly does not fear it. On the contrary. It seduces it, spends time with it, challenges it and blurs it.

It happily waives the privilege of academic defense or discourse, of curation, or research.

It leaps towards the audience. And this is because:

It is in itself the artist and the audience. Simultaneously. Dance is an act of simultaneity!

It is itself Jeromebellraymondwhitehead.

About the masses
Andre Lepecki says, "the masses protesting today do not need a choreographer, they need a choreography."

Dance in the Fourth Dimension does not allow separation between artist and audience, or between choreographer and choreography and dancers and masses. This is why in Dance in the Fourth Dimension everybody is independently in need. An autonomy between and with multiple autonomies.

Since the wave of social protest, each audience assembling is a revolutionary potential. And each performance is a potential for a mass gathering.

And Dance in the Fourth Dimension allows everybody, the audience that they are, the choreographer that they are, the choreography that they are, to find the particular with which it is possible to finally act together. And dance.

And so
To step back and return
End to beginning
Farewell and come back – 1-2-3-1-2-3
This is Dance in the Fourth Dimension – a Waltz, a party, a grand ball.
Common and unique.
Like dancing in a circle.

December, 2019