21st Century Dadaism

Written by Izzy Woods

Image by Pablo Macalupú (Creative Commons-licensed content)

Dadaism was a movement (or, should that be, anti-movement?) which came out of the horror and dereliction left by the First World War. It was intended to satirise and to shock, at a time in which the ordinary world felt anything but ordinary. It was, essentially, a movement of anger and protest. So, could today’s artists, musicians and dancers feel the same way about Dadaism, as those early pioneers did? Back then, they made art out of urinals – would the modern equivalent be memory foam mattresses? Can art inspired by Dadaism be important or relevant today, or is it something that was of its time?
The origins of Dada

Dada’s proponents were horrified by what had happened to the continent in which they lived, and they were angry at the establishment that had allowed it to happen. As a result, they sought to create ‘anti-art’ that shocked and ridiculed the status quo. People were repulsed by the Dadaists’ art at first. Then, the artistic mainstream began to accept it. So, the movement ended, no longer having a purpose.

While Dadaism was essentially a movement aimed at creating revulsion, and borne out of horror and disgust, the art that it created was not horrible or disgusting. Dadaism created absurd, colourful, fun art that broke all the rules simply by having no rules.
Later movements

Dada may have been short lived, but it went on to form the basis of many other movements of ‘anti-art’. The concept of a movement that existed to reject and poke fun at the world struck a chord with many people. Movements that include surrealism, pop-art, punk, post-modernism and abstract art. All these movements are very different from each other, but what they have in common is their ability to shake people up and to force people into new ways of thinking, or to turn them away. These movements were not Dadaism, but they took and used some of its values. To them, Dadaism was undoubtedly relevant.
Contemporary Dada

So, can Dada have relevance for us today? Does a movement like the Dada Dance Movement have something to say about us and our society? And does it matter whether it does or not?

We live in an uncertain and changing world, in which old beliefs are constantly being challenged and changed, whether for good or ill. We may not be experiencing the kind of cataclysmic change that the original Dadaists experienced, but there is no doubt that for all of us, life over the next decade and beyond is likely to be challenging, economically and therefore, socially.

It is rare that anything challenging comes out of contentment. Dada and its related movements demonstrate human beings’ capacity to find a way through even the darkest seeming tunnels. And they do not do it by conforming to the same conventions and norms that caused the problem in the first instance, but by ridiculing them, and creating something that is both nihilistic and positive, something absurd.

Dadaism resonated because it captured a particular mood. The mood that it captured was one that related to a specific set of circumstances, but it was also one that could be applied to many other sets of circumstances. That is why Dadaism is still relevant today, and why modern Dada movements have their place. Dadaism was essentially an anti-war movement, but it could be an anti-anything movement. It celebrates a very basic human desire – to question, rather than to simply accept, our circumstances. It does so in a way that those who are being questioned would not recognise or even understand, and that is what gives it its power.

So, what can the Dada Dance Movement in particular give us? Dance, and the music that accompanies it, has the potential to be the most powerful of all the art forms. It is a social form of art, which rather than being created by someone sitting alone and separate from their audience, is about interaction. The audience sees the art being created in front of them, and that creates a particular kind of energy. In a society in which we constantly see people’s forms on screen, Dada dance can help us see a different perspective.

WAVE RISING SERIES – October 29th, 29th, 30th

Friday October 28th, @ 7:30PM
Saturday October 29th, @ 4PM
Sunday October 30th, @ 7:30PM

Tickets: http://www.smarttix.com/show.aspx?showcode=20114

25 Jay Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201-1139  MAP

The company will be presenting two works: “Prey and Predator” and “Q&A”.

Both “Prey and Predator” and “Q&A” question and intend to subvert role-playing and power dynamics between (or/and within) the performers and the audience.  The works create theatrical/physical environments in which various games will be played.  The themes we explore frequently include aspects of one’s personality, social and emotional behavior and intelligence, with a curious mixture of the comic and tragic. 

Photo: AustinArt.org

Dance in Public Places

This February, Da·Da·Dance Project and the Philly Dance Community are
taking to the streets… ok well… the mall actually…

Da·Da·Dance Project and the Philly Dance Community are joining How Philly Moves (http://www.howphillymoves.org/) in taking over the 3rd Level of The Gallery at Market East for the month of February.

Don’t miss this opportunity to see dance happen • 1 month • 24 dance companies

From February 1-26, 2011, stop by the 3rd level of the Gallery at Market East (9th and Market Sts.) to view live rehearsals by local dance companies. Monday – Saturday, 10am – 7pm. FREE

Da·Da·Dance Project will be working on a new project with Melanie Stewart on February 11 and 25, 10-1 PM.
Join us!

Find out who’s dancing and when: Visit www.DanceInPublicPlaces.org

Like us on Facebook and join the conversation! www.facebook.com/

Dance in Public Places is a program of Dance/USA Philadelphia.

Atypical – Lindsay Browning, Da·Da·Dance, Oscuro Quintet

February 27 | 7pm

One evening: 3 performances

Da Da Dance presents AURORAS. Auroras delves into a world of “Saturation”. A saturated world will be explored through the contrasts of colors, theatrical exaggeration, jolt of invented movement and gender specified costumes in a non-gender defined space. The colors of AURORAS are inspired by dramatic Northern polar lights, which illuminate the northern horizon as a greenish glow or sometimes a faint red, as if the sun were rising from an unusual direction. AURORAS intends to deliver its beauty, absurdity and buoyancy which become appreciative through two visceral characters brought to stage along with the uniquely intensified contrasting colors, as seen in Northern sky lights.

Lindsay Browning will present a multi-media solo dance piece.

Oscuro Quintet will present a mix of tangos, traditional and modern, ranging from classics from tango’s “Golden Age” to the complex and emotional music of Astor Piazzolla.

For more information, visit Painted Bride Art Center Website


September 11th and 12th at 8PM
Live Arts Studio
919 N. 5th Street

We will be presenting a new work “All My Socks Have Holes” as a part of at “eight choreographers / eight new works”, Live Arts Festival on September 11-12 at 8PM.

Eight rising Philly choreographers have been commissioned to stage eight major new works for the Festival and we are invited to share an evening with Jumatatu Poe.  Live music will be performed by our wonderful collaborator, Alban Bailly.

Post-show discussion moderated by Craig T. Peterson, director, Live Arts Brewery (LAB), following the performance on September 11.

Click here to get more information about the show and online ticket purchase.

To read two Live Arts Festival blog articles, click here.

Da Da Dance Project Goes South Of The Border

Eun Jung Choi and the Reconstrucion of Memories


We are happy to announce that we will be dancing at this great event.  Please stop by.  The event is free.  You just pay for your drinks.  Sit back and enjoy!

What: An annual celebration of Philly talent, selected by last year’s Rocky Award recipients with a cabaret flare.

When: Monday, September 6th at 8 PM (Come early for our Philadelphia is Dancing! Calendar Launch Party)

Where: Live Arts Festival Bar Spring Garden & Delaware Ave. Note: Delaware Ave changes name to Columbus Blvd.

Free. Cash Bar.  Hope to see you there!!!

MORE INFORMATION: www.danceusaphiladelphia.org

Sans Souci Festival

Sans Souci is proud to announce its collaboration with Ob-Art Collective (www.ob-art.com). The festival will be screening ¿Bailamos? (Let’s Dance) as the “best of” our Festival in “Punt Multimedia” in Barcelona on July 14th, 2010.

Also it would be screened at San Souci’s Boulder Program, 2010 at University of Colorado at Boulder, Boulder, CO, USA

Short films and live performance
Friday and Saturday, September 10-11, 7:30PM
Tickets: Evening events: $12 General Admission. Student passes are free but seating is limited. Reservations are recommended. All seating is first-come, first-served. Reserve passes.
Morning and afternoon events: Free admission.

More detailed info, click here

Let’s Dance, 2010, 2 min, 16mm B&W
Produced and Directed by Malia Bruker, Oscar Molina
Choreography and dancing by Eun Jung Choi, Guillermo Ortega Tanus
Featuring Da Da Dance Project
Music composed by Dizzy Gillespie, Frank Paparelli
Music performed by Miles Davis and the Lighthouse All-Stars
Filmmaker Malia Bruker, Oscar Molina
Synopsis: “Let’s Dance” is a sensual black and white film that captures the relief that dance provides in everyday life. (Philadelphia, PA, USA)

To watch the film, ¿Bailamos? on our website, click HERE.

For more information about the festival, click HERE.

BUBBLES: Variations in a Foreign Land #11

If you miss Live Arts Show in Philadelphia because you live in New York, we are coming up to perform in Flushing, Queens from September 17 to 18. Please come join us.  Here are more details! and don’t forget to visit our blog site.



September 17th at 8pm (reception: 6:30-7:30pm); September 18th at 3pm & 8pm
Flushing Town Hall, 127-35 Northern Blvd. Flushing, NY
TRANSIT DIRECTIONS: from Manhattan, take 7 train to Main St. – Flushing (last stop)

TICKET RESERVATIONS can be made at 347-276-6225 or office@yangtze-rep-theatre.org.  Tickets are $15/TDF, general admission. A 10% discount applies for groups of 10 or more. For additional information, visit www.yangtze-rep-theatre.org.

New York, July 30th – on September 17th and 18th, Yangtze Repertory Theatre will present “BUBBLES: Variations in a Foreign Land #11” at Flushing Town Hall, which features three new dance works by international (Korean) choreographers Eun Jung Choi, Jung Woong Kim and Eunhee Lee. The performance will invite audiences to float through intimate memories – familial, foreign and even fragmented – with dances that swim through the womb, weave between mother and daughter, and grapple with those distorted recollections formed along the way. Together, Eun Jung Choi’s All My Socks Have Holes (which will be presented at the 2010 Philadelphia Live Arts Festival), Jung Woong Kim’s My son and a smile, and Eunhee Lee’s Mothers culminate as a most personal passage through time, recalling episodes from here and afar, from infancy to adulthood. Featured is an exploration of repetition, stillness and complex contact work, a disjointed narrative of video and movement, and a special collaboration between artist and daughter. With live musical accompaniment by Alban Bailly and live bass performed by Joshua Morris, the performance will include videos by Grace Jaeyun Shin. Lighting the works is Federico Restrepo.

Beside the three choreographers, artists appearing will include: Marion Ramírez, Sarah Chang and Guillermo Ortega Tanus.

There will be an opening night reception on September 17th from 6:30 to 7:30PM.

PennPAT Roster 2011

Our company was selected for inclusion in the Pennsylvania Performing Arts on Tour Roster for 2011.


The first deadline for presenters to apply for funding for our engagement is February 15, 2011 (for performance engagements between June 1, 2011 and May 31, 2013)

Please contact us at dada@dadadanceproject.org for more details.

About PennPAT

The purpose of Pennsylvania Performing Arts on Tour (PennPAT) is to increase opportunities for professional Pennsylvania-based performing artists to obtain successful touring engagements.

Through a multi-layered approach that includes grants to presenters, grants to artists, training for artists and marketing support, PennPAT seeks to nurture the diverse ecology of presenting and touring.

PennPAT offers support for touring engagements with PennPAT roster artists to presenters in:

* Delaware
* District of Columbia
* Maryland
* New Jersey
* New York
* Ohio
* Pennsylvania
* Virginia
* U.S. Virgin Islands
* West Virginia

Created as a unique public/private partnership administered by Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, PennPAT continues to garner funding and guidance from its four founding partners: The Heinz Endowments, William Penn Foundation, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and The Pew Charitable Trusts.