Any Table Any Room

Research output: Practice-Based and Non-textual ResearchPerformance



Any Table Any Room is a practice based investigation into the limits and possibilities for individual agency and at the same time togetherness within choreographic practice as shared resource. The piece investigates the possibilities of form within dance practice, not as a restrictive set of rules but as agreement between performers to help find points of relationship and negotiation. It invites a participatory conversation about the paradoxes of choreographic practice and the limits of autonomy possible for individual dance artists within the set framework of a piece. Any Table Any Room fosters an experience of the possibility of very different individuals finding common ground for meeting and negotiation, using choreographic tools more normally geared towards the production of conformity.

The piece is a 45 minute performance for 6 people sat at 3 tables. Its starting point is a translation of the form of composer Karlheinz Stockhausen's 1969 vocal piece Stimmung, a structured improvisation for 6 voices, which itself explores freedom and collectivity within the group. The key principle of Stockhausen's piece, is that each of 51 blocks has a designated leader, whose role is to recognise when the previous block has 'integrated', at which point they may initiate the next. This leadership by retrospective recognition of a collective decision, is the inverse of usual leadership roles as predictor of future action, and so offers a tool for questioning decision making within the group.

Materials for the performance include written scores, clay objects hand made by the performers, gestures, drones, songs, piano and harmonicas.

Outcomes for this research include international performances with a different group of 6 performers in each setting; conversations within those groups and recording of responses to the questions raised by the work; collation of scores; public conversations; workshops; notebooks and prepared writing and lectures. Widening the scope of the discussion around the work in this way, is intended to raise awareness both of the issues raised in terms of future models of choreographic practice, and the larger value of dance as a collective action.

Choreographer Andros Zins-Browne, who joined the project in Kaaitheater Brussels, has written this about the individual and collective nature of the project: 'Any Table Any Room was unique in that it was both incredibly strict and incredibly loose.  The score demanded focus and rigour and was technically challenging, but only enough to take your mind off of what you were doing so your body could execute it.  The contingency of the score and your relation to the other performers through it, with the looseness  -one could even say arbitrariness- of the material created an interesting tension and ambiguity.  Are they serious or not? Is this a work I should 'get', is this 'just' entertainment?  Is this a formal work? Is this a choreography or a conversation? I found these to be some of the most challenging questions that are raised by the piece...In the end, it proposes a format for being together.' 


- Vimeo link to performance at Triennale Teatro dell'Arte Milan, Italy, October 31st 2019 :

password: ATAR

- Production credits:
choreography and performance by Jonathan Burrows and Matteo Fargion
Any Table Any Room was supported by public funding through the National Lottery from Arts Council England
Any Table Any Room was co-produced by Kaaitheater Brussels, PACT Zollverein Essen, Sadler's Wells Theatre London and BIT Teatergarasjen Bergen

- Timescale: 40 minutes

- Premiere:
Attenborough Centre Brighton, 15th April 2017

- Further performances to date:
St Anne's Church Lewes (sharing), 11th November 2016
Attenborough Centre Brighton (sharing), 21st December 2017
Coventry University, sharing, 14th February 2017
Warwick Arts Centre, 21st November 2017
The Place Theatre London (seminar), 30th January 2018
Black Box Theatre Oslo, Norway, 10th/11th12th March, 2018
Performing Arts Forum St Erme, France, seminar, 4th April 2018
Kaaitheater Brussels, Belgium, 25th/26th April 2018
Lillian Baylis at Sadler's Wells Theatre London, 10th/11th May 2018
ARTgia Gallery Vitoria Gasteiz, 23rd November 2018
Triennale Teatro dell'Arte Milan, Italy, October 30th/31st 2019

- See also
Jonathan Burrows, Towards a Minor Dance, by Daniella Perazzo Domm, published by Palgrave MacMacmillan, 2019
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 17 Oct 2017


  • Dance Performance Collaboration

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