Douglas Becker - a Choreographer - alternative content
Douglas Becker is a choreographer and teacher working in many idioms, including ballet, contemporary dance, and improvisation throughout Europe and the United States. A founding member and principal dancer of the Frankfurt Ballet under the direction of acclaimed choreographer William Forsythe, he played a pivotal role in the creation of many of the choreographer’s early signature pieces and is one of a number of individuals around the world with the authority to remount his repertory.
In the making of his own creations, Mr. Becker's choreography has been hailed as "innovative and energetic, very graphic and with purity of movement" (Swiss newspaper "24 Heures") and praised for its "delicate, intricate partnering and fleet movements" (The New York Times). Mr. Becker's collaborative process of choreographic development improvises upon and utilizes dancers' individual talents and characteristics. Spanning three decades of choreographic investigation, Mr. Becker has received commissions from, among others Belgium's Royal Flemish Theatre, Switzerland's Grand Théatre de Geneve, and France's CCN Ballet de Lorraine. His improvisation installation, The Third Eye was constructed for the Musée de Grenoble. As a Flemish Government Arts Commission grant recipient, Mr. Becker directed and performed in the stage work, Brutal Elves in the Woods, for Brussels' arts laboratory Nadine.
Douglas Becker has a broad resume in education working as guest faculty at P.A.R.T.S. School Brussels, The National Conservatories of Paris and Lyon, New York University, and the University of California Irvine among others. Mr. Becker, between 2007 and 2011, founded and curated the Hollins University/American Dance Festival Masters of Fine Arts international extended studies program, under the direction of Donna Faye Burchfield; introducing dance artists to new ways of imagining their research, advancing their abilities to realize their work in a larger context, and supporting their participation in dialogues that move across geographies as well as disciplines. In 2010/11 Douglas Becker began as artist-in- residence/visiting master lecturer at The University of the Arts Philadelphia. In 2012/13 was Douglas Becker artist-in-residence at University North Carolina School of the Arts. Ballet training for Mr. Becker began in Texas under Nathalia Krassovska and Stanley Hall, and continued in New York City with David Howard, Maggie Black and Marjorie Mussman. In 1978, he joined the Joffrey Ballet and worked with choreographic masters including Agnes de Mille, Choo San Goh and Jerome Robbins, after which he joined the National Ballet of Canada under the direction of Alexander Grant. He toured extensively with the company, performing with guest artists Rudolf Nureyev and Erik Bruhn. Joining the Dallas Ballet under Danish choreographer Fleming Flindt, Mr. Becker was then invited by William Forsythe to join the Frankfurt Ballet, where he also worked with Amanda Miller, Stephen Petronio, Susan Marshall and Jan Fabre. A native of Dallas, Texas, he makes his home in Brussels Belgium
National Balet Academy Amsterdam/University of California Irvine http://www.the.ahk.nl/EN/02_studieaanbod/01_studierichtingen/07_nba/index.jsp Extreme Memory
(workshop) CCN Ballet de Lorraine (dir. Didier Deschamps) http://www.ballet-de-lorraine.com/ The 3rd Eye
Grand Théâtre de Genève (dir. Philippe Cohen) http://www.geneveopera.ch/ Each To His Own
My Ballet class has been developed for both classical and contemporary dancers. If we take as our point of departure the the idea that labor is accumulative, the class becomes a place where new ways of thinking about dance are considered, and that in the making and doing of dance one strives for technique rendered invisible by artistry.
The class begins slowly, putting an accent on attention to musical accuracy and detail. Line, counter point, and a fluid relationship between the legs and the arms are accentuated in relationship to the classical vocabulary. Each exercise is designed to develop correct posture, placement, alignment, and precise technical execution. The dance combinations that are set, and arranged in the beginning of the week are then (de/re) constructed throughout the week. Demi-plie, supple and intelligently used, is emphasized. Articulation (a working through) of the feet is looked-for. Rotation/Turn out is a chance to understand more about Ballets relationship to hip flexor and adductor . Refined port de bras is desired.
The use of breath, full body focus, length of spine, relaxed neck, and effortless epaulement are considered important elements for building and maintaining a healthy, economically sound and efficient technique. Self esteem is enhanced.
Combinations are not complicated, but this can change depending on the level/desire of the group. Subtile changes in direction, speed, music and tempo are to be found.
"What makes something relevant is what vibrates within"
Donna Faye Burchfield
An intrinicl part of a process that culminated in the creation of the CD ROM 'Improvisation Technologies, A Tool for the Analytical Dance Eye', I have transformed over many years a methodology and collaborative process of choreographic imagination that was conceived with William Forsythe and first generation dancers of the Frankfurt Ballet into my own highly personalized educational tool for dance artists, choreographers, teachers, and actors.
First and foremost to create an enviroment where the participants take ownership, make decisions, explore, analyze, and develop the imaginative, investigative, and creative elements that reside in the mind and the body of each individual, whle learning how to generate, modify, inscribe, trace, deconstruct, and reconstruct movement and text. Built into this working process is the ability for the artists to learn from each other, encouraging both the freedom of experimentation and the discipline to stay within specific tasks over a determined period of time.
To speak from an ethical place of knowledge, and an ethical place of access, to facilitate the transmission of what I know the best… dancing, our point of departure will be to go in the direction of, not as, not replicate, or imitate, but recover, re-visit and re-imagine. To offer access to knowledge that renders knowledge in the moment, and to think around the work, to appropriate, and to reflect.
This approach to learning will offer the artist, or group of any age new ways to think about dance.
During my career as a performer/Principal Dancer in the Frankfurt Ballet, I either danced, acted, improvised, spoke, or sang in the following works created by William Forsythe:
LDC, Artifact(I, II, III, IV), France/Dance, Baby Sam, Steptext, Behind The China Dogs, Big White Baby Dog, Die Befragung des Robert Scott, Enemy in the Figure, Herman Schmerman, Impressing the Czar, In the Middle Somewhat Elevated, Isabelle's Dance, Limbs Theorem, Love Songs, New Sleep, Same Old Story, Say Bye Bye, Skinny, Slingerland, Steptext, The Loss of Small Detail, The Second Detail, The Vile Parody of Address.
Of these and other works to date I have reconstructed:
Steptext, Artifact II, New Sleep (full length) and (pas de deux), The Vile Parody of Address, Die Befragung des Robert Scott, and Hypothetical Stream