about communication in contemporary dance


table of contents

Strategies for documentation

Documentation of the professional dialogue

The professional dialogue around your work can be a source of inspiration, and can supply you with language to talk about your work to others. In addition to this, over time, it can also another function, to give insight into the development of your artistic fingerprint throughout the body of work you are developing. It can be documented in writing, on video or by audio recordings.

Outside eye / dramaturge

When working with an outside eye or a dramaturge one of the things you may ask him/her is to record their responses to a work. Asking your dramaturge which emotions, memories or images a work evokes or what associations were triggered in terms of smells, colours or places, may lead to generating additional language, away from analytical language. Dramaturges are also able to gather and collect audience responses after a premiere for example, by making themselves available as partners in dialogue with audience members after a show.


To mind-map conversations or creation processes (be it in words, scribbling, doodling, poetry, or any other form) can highlight concepts and ideas that have been developed, as well as recording what vocabulary is being used.

Articles and reviews

Keeping track of articles and reviews are not only a good resource for PR and marketing purposes. It is also interesting to look at the language others use to describe your work. You might find additional vocabulary within these sources that you can use to talk about your work to a wider audience.

Reactions by audience members

Online testimonials are currently very popular, as they show the personal impact that the arts have on people. It is an example of collecting evidence of impact on a very local level. This is generally powerful. Again, it may also inspire the use of a different type of language and gain insight in what in your work is relevant to audience members.

Photo / video

Video registrations of rehearsals, runs and premieres are valuable. Usually you have to ‘kill a lot of darlings’ in each process, but the material that does not make the cut into your current project might be material you want to return to later. Saving imagery is a great way to keep track of your development in terms of movement material, aesthetics, types of dancers and tasks you choose to use. Like no other tool, it gives insight in your working process and offers the possibility to look at your own work with a bit of a distance. It therefore stimulates self-reflection and self-awareness in terms of choice making, which in turn forms the base of clearer communication. Besides that, registrations are also a way to inform programmers and curators about your work.

Email conversations

Some of the most interesting reflections or feedback people send to you by email. Such emails are nice to look into and to keep, as testimonials or as a source of additional discourse and language around the work.

Notes, contracts, numbers and appointments

To keep track of appointments gives insight into who you are in dialogue with and who you spend time on. Is this in line with whom you have defined to be your insiders and outsiders? It is also interesting to trace back how you define collaboration in your contracts, or how collaboration is defined in the contracts you are asked to sign. Creating statistics such as gathering numbers of tickets sold / given out or website visits are other important ways to document your practice and who you come into contact with in a process.