Dance Weekly: The year begins a little irrationally

Berliners Reza Mirabi and Jozefien Beckers start the new year off on a surreal note

Dance in 2016 begins with a dance called Irrational_Studies performed by Berliners Reza Mirabi and Jozefien Beckers at Flock Dance Center. Mirabi and Beckers come to us via longtime Portland dancer/choreographer and Flock director Tahni Holt.

Reza Mirabi and Jozefien Beckers
7 pm January 2
Flock Dance Center, 8371 N Interstate Ave. #4
Reception to follow

Jozefien Beckers is originally from Belgium and and studied theatre and acting and has worked in the performing arts in many capacities in and around Berlin. Reza Mirabi spent seven years in India studying the body, mind and beyond. Now back in Berlin, he is focusing on making and practice research with several choreographers and visual artists performing in galleries and exhibition spaces.

The work being performed this weekend is based on the surrealist manifesto of French writer André Breton. “Irrationality is thus a means of freeing the mind toward purely imaginative solutions, to break out of historic patterns of dependence into new patterns that allow one to move on.”

I interviewed Beckers and Mirabi via email and below is our conversation.


Reza Mirabi and Jozefien Beckers performing in Irrational_Studies at the Ponderosa in Berlin. Photo by Luisa Fosco.

ArtsWatch: What is interesting to you about irrationality and risk and how did you develop these ideas into movement?
Reza Mirabi: We seem to be so conditioned to practicality, rationality and security. Our social and economical systems are structured after logic and rationality (or are they?). We feel the need for Irrationality to enter our lives, to choose risk just for fun, to give more importance to the dream as a reservoir to deepen our understanding of the actual. We advertise the value of imagination and dancing the impossible dance.

We see Irrationality as an alternative approach/way of understanding/space, away from the logic, linear reign of thinking. In this sense we believe it could open us up to another realm of perceiving, imagining and creating.

The importance of Visions is extremely relevant. It opens up a room for all our tomorrows. The current logic and limitations can be ignored. These visions leave traces on the landscape, the people and expand our maps with an unmanifested potential.

How do you decide what is irrational movement?
We see rational as working with what is here, and irrational as working with what is here and what is not here. Reality + Imagination.

A movement is not per sé rational or irrational; it depends more on it’s context. We like to work with imagination, exhaustion, applying new physical principles, and trancelike rituals; for us this would create an irrational context. For example by working with movements that create a trance through repetition, exhaustion and momentum, we are able to open up our body-awareness and enter irrational spaces.

Irrational Movement could be physically a rational movement but is consciously working with intentions in other spheres. working with the visible and invisible.

I love the wonder woman GIF on your website. What does she represent to you both?
We love the straightforward transformation, the instant magic, the power of imagination, fighting for justice, love, peace, and against the imperialist white supremacist capitalist patriarchy

How did you two begin working together? How did you meet?
We are both living in Berlin and have mutual friends. There was a curiosity, so we decided once to get together try things out and take a trip to Ponderosa (a communal/collective dance space outside the city).

We did a ten-day residency there starting our research on Irrationality and Risk, that was the beginning and is still and favourably always in progress.


Jozefien Beckers performing in Irrational_Studies at the Ponderosa in Berlin. Photo by Luisa Fosco.

What is your collaborative process like when you create new work together?
Flowing and swaying. It is extremely easy to be in the studio together. We are constantly inspired by the other. Jozefien is more physical, I am more ideas. She makes them actual.

Reza creates sound scores and atmospheres which feed back the process of making. It lays out a texture that we are relating to bodily and creates a friction with our movement.

Could you share some of the ingredients that makes a good artistic partnership?
We see the way we are in a dance (duet) as the way the world will be. So it is always a practice that reflects outside the studio. Our practice is against compromises but towards using each other as portals to enter liminal spaces that you could not get to alone. compromises are for politicians, we want more!

What is the dance scene like in Berlin?
Magic potential, low rents, funding, untamed spaces:
lots of individuals, community, institutional, serious, oversaturated, intellectual, against form, competitive, cooperative, professional, names, vibrant, magic, somatic, unstable, dark. We want more love! institutional, experimental, actual, raw, powerful, wtf,

Where will you be going after you leave Portland?
We’ll head back to San Francisco, where we spend most of our time and research during our time at the West Coast, for the FRESH festival, featuring radical dance legends, workshops and performance concepts. We’ll be there for ten days before flying back to Berlin.

In early spring we will have a stop for a three-week residency in Portugal to enter the more experimental process again.

Coming Up

BodyVox is teaming up with Northwest Film Center and will be presenting the Contact Dance Film Festival from January 7-10—a series of films curated by BodyVox director Jamey Hampton and long-time collaborator Mitchell Rose.

Pacific Dance Makers, a festival curated by Eowyn Emerald, will present an evening of works by seven Northwest choreographers from January 8-9.

Eowyn Emerald & Dancers the company will be performing January 14-16 in preparation for their return to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Rejoice! Diaspora Dance Theatre directed by Oluyinka Akinjiola will present its second evening-length concert, Ancestry in Motion, January 15-17.

And lastly, Forever Tango will be performing at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall and will feature Dancing with the Stars dancers Anna Trebunskaya and Dmitry Chaplin.

2016 is taking off like a rocket dancer.

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