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Rewriting (2021, 30 minutes)


Rewriting is a table performance with 108 cards, each of which has a question or observation written on it. All of these short texts are quotations drawn from Burrows' A Choreographer's Handbook. The cards are manipulated in a series of ever more complex choreographies, with occasional pauses to read out what's written on a card. At the same time there is a memorised talk, which follows its own rhythm, but finds points of connection with the movement. And finally there is an undertow of music played by Matteo Fargion on a Casio keyboard, which supports the movement and allows the words to occasionally burst into song. The memorised talk begins by questioning what's written on the cards, but constantly digresses into other thoughts and possibilities. In this sense the the performance is about watching somebody attempt to think, whilst becoming overwhelmed by materials and ideas.

The piece had a long and difficult journey, which is described in full in Burrows' book Writing Dance, in the text called Writing towards a subject. The journey involved the creation of a wholly other performance which was never seen, but the material from which ended up being translated and retranslated until it became Rewriting.

In the first showings of Rewriting the choreography was performed as a solo, but at a certain point when the complexity of card shuffling and simultaneous speaking became easier, there seemed room for another element and Matteo joined the piece.

The score shown here is for the first 3 sections of choreography, which were written by Matteo. There are 6 cards in each section and material is divided between the 3 cards on the right (marked 'R'), followed by the 3 cards on the left (marked 'L'). Each card gesture is described as a series of words ('spiral', 'swop', 'dance', 'pray'). There are 18 sections of cards in the piece. The movements were memorised over 18 months so the score is never looked at during the performance, however, the words on the cards form their own score, which help guide the performer throughout the piece.

Created and performed by Jonathan Burrows and Matteo Fargion.


© Burrows&Fargion 2023

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