Research Studios – first pilot program February – June 2015

0/ Context

From 2017 on, PARTS redefines its Research program into Research Studios, an advanced education project for young choreographers and dramaturges/theoreticians. In 2015-2016, the program will be split up in two independent pilot projects: Pilot #1 is a 4-month project on the study of the choreographic work of Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker (February – June 2015). Pilot #2 is a 12-month program investigating the possible relations between choreographic writing and music and the development of the personal work of the participants (August 2015 – November 2016).

Although they share a focus on choreographic composition and music, both pilot programs are independent. One can apply for both, but they have a separate selection process. The selection for pilot 1 happens in October-November 2014, for pilot 2 January – March 2015.

The PARTS Research Cycle under its previous definition was active between 2000 and 2014, as a program that connected directly to the PARTS Training Cycle (then 2 years), but also open to people who had obtained a BA degree elsewhere.

The new Research Studios program aims for participants who are already a few steps further in their development: they have finished their main studies on MA level or they want to deepen their creative tools in an educational program after having worked professionally for some time. Whereas the previous Research Cycle engaged both dancers/performers and choreographers/makers, the Research Studios program wants to focus on choreographers/makers, and also attracts a small number of dramaturges/theoreticians.


1/ Pilot #1 – study of the work of Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker

Belgian choreographer Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, who is the founder and director of PARTS, has been active on the professional dance scene since 1982, when she debuted with Fase. Four movements to the music of Steve Reich, which is seen as one of the cornerstones of the then fresh genre of contemporary dance in Western Europe. She quickly broke through internationally, and has been touring the world with the Rosas company which she founded in 1983 (to produce her second piece Rosas Danst Rosas). More than thirty years later, her oeuvre counts almost 50 works, from solo to large-scale ensemble pieces. (for a full overview, see

Almost all of this work is built on a profound connection with and detailed study of music, ranging from the medieval Ars subtilior over classics such as Bach and Mozart to contemporary composers, and touching on pop music, jazz and Indian classical music. 

A second general trait of her work is the intricate and detailed composition of her choreographies – often in close connection to the musical composition it relates to, but also referring to many other compositional tools and systems.

Since 2012, Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker and Bojana Cvejic (dramturg, theorist, theory teacher at PARTS) have published three volumes in the book series ‘A Choreographer’s Score’. This is a book and dvd collection in which De Keersmaeker unfolds the composition and working methods of some of the key works in her career. The first book focuses on the Early Works from the 1980’s. A second book was published on En attendant/ Cesena, a diptych on medieval music created less than 5 years ago. The third book is published in September 2014 and dives into the major group pieces Drumming and Rain on the music of Steve Reich, created about 15 years ago.

Following the intention of this book series, the program of the Research Studios Pilot #1 seeks to give a detailed insight into a body of work, and to experiment with ways these tools can be activated/re-used/transformed in other artistic practices, other artistic visions. The Research Studios Pilot #1 program is not a repertoire project where one learns to perform the works. The Research Studios is a program which aims to do a detailed and critical study of the work of De Keersmaeker, with the intention to activate its tools in other contexts, so that they can feed the processes of the artists who participate in it.


2/ Program

The program of Pilot #1 will be divided in six blocks: four blocks revolve around the study of a certain cluster of Rosas works, a fifth one is a philosophical seminar that broadens the question of dance, history and creation, the final block is aimed to round off the personal transformations and inspirations of the participants.

The first three blocks will have a similar structure. Each block consists of  approx. 15 sessions. In each block, 5 sessions of each of the following perspectives are offered:  

- lecture and discussions on the compositional methods and their contexts as presented in the book series presentations 

- discussions and masterclasses related to the relevant music of the works studied, including study of the scores and contextualization

- studio sessions where a number of the compositional tools are put in practice and experimented with.

The fourth block has a similar structure, but takes as starting point the project Work – Travail – Arbeid, an exhibition project in which De Keersmaeker transposes the recent work Vortex Temporum to the museum space, which take place during the pilot project in the Wiels contemporary art center, very close to PARTS (see

In the fifth block, philosopher and dance researcher Franz Anton Cramer will lead a theoretical seminar tackling the questions of history, the archive, dance and performance today. Developing a theoretical background for the study of past work and how it can relate to contemporary and future creativity.

In the sixth block, the participants have time to pull together a number of threads they will have started developing during the previous sessions, and create a sketch of an artistic and of a theoretical work, which they will present and discuss in the final week.

Next to this program, there will also be one-off lectures, performance visits and discussion panels.

As an extra (not part of the curriculum), there is the opportunity to go to Paris in the last two weeks of June, where the Centre National de la Danse organizes a two-week gathering of students from different dance schools in Europe, where they share their work and thoughts about artistic practice.


3/ Invited artists and teachers

Most artists who will lead the sessions at the Research Studios are dancers, choreographers, composers and musicians who have a close and active relationship with the work of Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker and develop their own  artistic practice next to it. 

So far, the following people have confirmed their participation:
Theory: Bojana Cvejic, Franz Anton Cramer
Music: Thierry De Mey, Alain Franco, Björn Schmelzer, Georges-Elie Octors, Annelies Vanparys
Studio: Johanne Saunier, Ursula Robb, Gabriel Schenker, Mark Lorimer

Bios will be published soon on the teachers page.

New names will be added as they are confirmed.


4/ Working methods

The three main goals of the project are UNDERSTANDING – HANDLING – POSITIONING, and feature in different ways throughout the different workshops and seminars.

Understanding: developing knowledge of the concepts and practices at hand and their concepts
Handling: being able to use the concepts and tools, closer to and further from their original context
Postioning: developing an individual critical theoretical and artistic position towards the concepts and practices at hand.

The working sessions take the form of seminars, masterclasses, workshops and invididual work and group work. In most sessions, a certain preparation from the participants’ side will be assumed, and tasks will be given to develop for the next session (reading, writing, choreographic development).

The collective work sessions take place in the afternoon between 13.30 and 18.30. 

In the mornings, the participants have time to prepare for the afternoon sessions or work on tasks with a longer deadline or participate in the dance classes of the Training program.

In the last three weeks of the project, participants will work on finishing the tasks and developing a final presentation that weaves different threads together, putting the insights developed during the program at the service of their own artistic work. Because the creation period is short, the outcome might be sketches and models of performances, rather than full productions. 

In the final week, the results will be presented internally and discussed among the participants and the artistic team of Research Studios..


5/ Physical training

Physical training classes are not part of the Research Studios program. Participants can join the morning classes of the Training Cycle (yoga, Feldenkrais, contemporary, ballet) or keep up their own training program they find useful for their condition and development. Teachers include a.o. Salva Sanchis, Martin Kilvady, Josef Frucek & Linda Kapetanea, Elisabeth Farr… 


6/ Specific program for dramaturges/theoreticians

The participants with the profile of dramaturg/theoretician will participate in all the work sessions, but when the choreographers will receive creation tasks in the studio, the dramaturges/theoreticians will collaborate with the choreographers, feeding and documenting their work processes. The concluding work will also have a specific definition.


7/ Overview of the programme of Pilot #1

Feb 16 – March 6 – Focus on ‘A choreographer’s score - Early Works’
March 9 – 27 – Focus on ‘A coreogrpaher’s score - Rain/Drumming’
March 30 – April 17 – Focus on ‘A choreographer’s score - En atendant/ Cesena’
April 20 – May 8 – Focus on ‘Work/Travail/Arbeid – Vortex Temporum’
May 11 – 22 Seminar with Franz Anton Cramer
May 25 – June 12 - Studio work, presentation & discussion 


8/ Guidance

Next to the artists and scholars who lead the seminars and workshops, members of the coordination team of the Research Studios are constantly present to guide to participants through the program, give feedback, organise discussions etcetera. The team consists of Alain Franco, Gabriel Schenker and Steven De Belder.

In the final creation period, the participants can also work with a coach. 


9/ Pilot #2: Choreography - performance - sound - music

More information will be published soon.

See the call for participants here