Working with Vulnerability as an empowering source of Inspiration.
What we sometimes take for granted and as a given for contemporary dance and physical theatre – people moving together, touching, and connecting in spaces, creating body sculptures, inscribing the environment with limbs and torso, sharing centres of gravity – can take on a whole new personalised meaning when it is our biographies that get written by our bodies. A series of hurdles need to be overcome to progress to dance that involves individuals moving in close proximity to one another, dance that involves intra-personal touch, or to take it even further with the partner-work inherent in contact improvisation.
An ongoing question is: how can inhibited persons discover and safely enjoy being in a place of suspension unleashed from the forces of gravity, an equivalent of free flight, and thereby discover their sense of agency, an empowering emotional and physical sense of balance?
How can contact Improvisation be used to tell personal stories, and how can we tune into our vulnerability and infuse our humanity into our dance? Weaving in and out of episodes of our lives, we explore pure and abstract contact flow on physical, psychological and emotional planes. Can we develop a whole story, a conversation, that begins with simply reaching out to shake the hand of a stranger?
Darrel Toulon was born in Dominica (Caribbean) in 1964 and moved to Europe at age 17.
He has been teaching and using CI as a composition tool for the past quarter-century in
diverse global locations. His current research is about creating conversation platforms for
the silenced and under-privileged, to engage and include audiences in shared performance
spaces with professional dancers, actors and singers as well as everyday experts.
He concentrates on developing trans-disciplinary projects at the intersection of
performance art, politically relevant theatre and academic research, working with
marginalized populations particularly in Bosnia and Uganda, since 2018.
Darrel is Founder and Artistic Director of the alpha group (Austria) and teaches Dance Arts
at the Anton Bruckner Private University in Linz. He is frequently invited to give lectures on
his work with vulnerable populations, and organizes conferences and workshops, which
bring together experts from the disciplines of dance, psychology, politics and contemporary
Darrel Toulon was awarded the First Austrian Dance Production Special Prize (2002) for
successfully modernizing the dance company of Opera Graz, where he was Ballet Director
from 2001 until 2015. He was Jury member for several international choreographic
competitions. He was awarded the Styrian Golden Cross of Honour in 2016.