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Meg Stuart (born 1965 in New Orleans) is an American Choreographer and Dancer based in Brussels, Belgium. She is one of the key figures in the European and International contemporary dance world Goldberg, RoseLee (2000). "ArtForum". ArtForum.
Born in New Orleans, Meg Stuart is an American choreographer and dancer who lives and works in Berlin and Brussels. The daughter of theatre directors, she began dancing and acting at an early age in California and regularly performed in her parents’ productions and those made by family friends. She made her first dance studies as a teenager focussing on simple movement actions. Stuart decided to move to New York in 1983 and studied dance at New York University. She continued her training at Movement Research where she explored numerous release techniques and was actively involved in the downtown New York dance scene.
Invited to perform at the Klapstuk festival in Leuven (1991), she created her first evening-length piece, Disfigure Study. In this choreography, Stuart approached the body as a vulnerable physical entity that can be deconstructed, distorted or displaced but still resonates and has meaning. Her subsequent piece, No Longer Readymade (1993), toured extensively and launched her artistic career in Europe. Interested in devising her own structure through which to develop artistic projects, Stuart founded Damaged Goods in Brussels in 1994. The following year, Meg Stuart/Damaged Goods was awarded a company subsidy from the Flemish government. Stuart was the first foreign choreographer to receive this grant, and has been supported by the Flemish cultural sector ever since.
Damaged Goods is a flexible, open structure that facilitates the production of highly diverse projects and interdisciplinary collaborations. Meg Stuart and Damaged Goods have worked on over thirty productions, ranging from solos (XXX for Arlene and Colleagues, Soft Wear) to large-scale choreographies (Visitors Only, It’s not funny) and including site-specific creations (Highway 101), installations and improvisation projects (Auf den Tisch!, Crash Landing).
Stuart strives to develop a new language for every piece in collaboration with artists from different creative disciplines – visual artists, choreographers, directors, musicians and designers, to name but a few. Greatly inspired by the visual arts, Stuart collaborated in her early choreographies with visual artists Gary Hill, Ann Hamilton, Lawrence Malstaf and musicians Vincent Malstaf and Hahn Rowe among others. As her work evolved, Stuart began to navigate the tension between dance and theatre. The use of theatrical devices, in addition to the dialogue between movement and narrative, are recurrent themes in her choreographies (Alibi, BLESSED). Residencies at the Schauspielhaus Zurich (2000-04) and the Volksbühne am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz Berlin (2005-10) led to collaborations with the theatre directors Stefan Pucher, Christoph Marthaler and Frank Castorf.
At the invitation of intendant Johan Simons, Meg Stuart/Damaged Goods became associate artists at the Münchner Kammerspiele in 2010 and also has an on-going collaboration with the Kaaitheater (Brussels) and the HAU Hebbel am Ufer (Berlin).
Stuart’s artistic work is analogous to a constantly shifting identity. It continues to span a wide range of scales and constantly redefines itself while searching for new presentation contexts and territories for dance. Stuart has recently collaborated with choreographer Philipp Gehmacher, musician Brendan Dougherty, costume designer Claudia Hill, music dramaturge Alain Franco, set designer Doris Dziersk and visual artist Vladimir Miller. Stuart’s choreographic work revolves around the idea of an uncertain body, one that is vulnerable and self-reflexive. Through improvisation, Stuart explores physical and emotional states or the memories of them. In 2014, Meg Stuart/Damaged Goods is touring BLESSED (2009), VIOLET (2011), Built to Last (2012), Sketches/Notebook (2013) and Hunter (2014. In VIOLET, movement is expressed as a primary motor through energetic patterns and kinetic sculptures that are driven by music. Built to Last is Stuart’s first work inspired by existing music from different centuries and style periods. In Sketches/Notebook, Stuart reveals a series of collective vignettes in which artists, objects and materials converge on stage. In her first evening-length solo creation Hunter, Stuart explores the history of her choreographic work and her own body as a living archive.
- Disfigure Study, 1991
- No Longer Readymade, 1993
- Swallow my yellow smile, 1994
- No One is Watching, 1995
- Inside Skin #1 They live in Our Breath, 1996
- Splayed Mind Out, 1997
- Remote, 1997
- appetite, 1999
- Comeback, 1999
- Snapshots, 1999
- Highway 101, 2000/2001
- Alibi, 2001
- Henry IV, 2002
- Visitors Only, 2003
- Das goldene Zeitalter, 2003
- Forgeries, Love and other Matters, 2004
- Der Marterphahl, 2005
- REPLACEMENT, 2006
- It's not funny!, 2006
- Blessed, 2007
- Maybe Forever, 2007
- All Together Now, 2008
- Die Massnahme/Mauser, 2008
- Do Animals Cry, 2009
- the fault lines, 2010
- VIOLET, 2011
- VIOLET, 2011
- Built to Last, 2012
- Sketches/Notebook, 2013
- Hunter, 2014
Alongside her work as a choreographer, Stuart regularly teaches workshops in composition and improvisation worldwide at organisations such as Forum Dança (Lisbon), Movement Research (New York), ImPulsTanz (Vienna), Ponderosa Movement & Discovery (Stolzenhagen), HZT (Berlin) and Tanzwerkstatt Europa (Munich).
In 2008, Meg Stuart received a Bessie Award for her oeuvre and a Flemish Culture Award in the category of the performing arts. The Akademie der Künste awarded Meg Stuart the Konrad-Wolf-Preis in 2012.
- Though Damaged Goods' work has yielded a lot of critical response, many questions remain unanswered when it comes to Stuart's views, issues, methods and collaborations that underpin her performance work. How does choreographer Meg Stuart create work? In the book Are we here yet?, Stuart reflects on her own practice in dialogue with Jeroen Peeters (ed.) and several (former) Damaged Goods collaborators. Mapping out genealogies and collaborations, Are we here yet? revisits meaningful moments in Stuart's artistic trajectory, drawing different lines through the work from Disfigure Study (1991) to Maybe Forever (2007). It contains observations on making and performing, discussions about improvisation and dramaturgy, essays and visual contributions, a manual with Stuart's exercises, and a selection of documents and performance texts. Are we here yet? is a container brimming with memories, projections, reflections and images close to Stuart's choreographic practice, a heterogeneity of materials that have a certain gravity of their own and won't cease to resonate and stir up new questions.
Editor: Jeroen Peeters Graphic design: Kim Beirnaert Published by Les presses du réel (Dijon, France), March 2010, 19 x 24 cm (softcover) - 256 pages.