The Dance Is Not Medicine, It’s Food (2023)

In this dance for a group of eight dancers, Daniel Linehan invites the dancers to reflect on their histories and what role dance has played in their lives. What are the reasons one chooses to spend so much of one’s life dancing? How does one continue? When did the dance start and when does the dance end?

In 2019 Linehan created a solo called Body of Work in which he reflected on his own history of dancing, and in The Dance Is Not Medicine, It’s Food (Working title), he takes this mode of internal questioning and makes it external, revisiting some of the same intimate questions that he asked himself in this personal solo, and posing these questions to a group of dancers with their own diverse histories. In asking these questions, together we reflect on the meaning of dance itself. Dance has the potential to make connections between individual histories and bring these stories together into a common field of play, through the physical connection of bodies as well as the attention we give each other when we share embodied experiences. Our dancing together can also connect to the many diverse dances that are always happening all around us: the play of animals, the slow choreography of plants growing, the rhythms of the ocean, the dance of atomic particles continually vibrating and interacting. Each dancer is given the space to reflect on what it is to experience life and the surrounding world through the lens of dance.

As the performers dance the traces of their individual and shared histories, the audience is invited to consider their histories with their own bodies. The Dance Is Not Medicine, It’s Food is a dance of the past, present, and future of 8 dancers. It is at the same time a dance of the past, present, and future of the viewer.

The creation is part of DANCE ON, PASS ON, DREAM ON, a four-year Creative Europe-funded cooperation project addressing ageism in the dance sector and in society.

DANCE ON, PASS ON, DREAM ON is supported by the following international partners; DIEHL+RITTER (Berlin, DE), Codarts University of the Arts (Rotterdam, NL), Compagnie Jus de la Vie | Age on Stage (Stockholm, SE), Holland Dance Festival (The Hague, NL), Nomad Dance Academy Slovenia (Ljubljana, SI), Sadler’s Wells (London, UK), STUK House for Dance, Image & Sound (Leuven, BE), Mercat de les Flors (Barcelona, ES), Station Service for Contemporary Dance (Belgrade, RS), KUMQUAT Productions  (Paris, FR), Onassis Stegi (Athens, GR).

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