Men in Dance series – #5: Anthony Nikolchev

This is an excerpt from a series of interviews from February 2018, presented in partnership with ICDF’s Network for Men in Dance.

Find out more about the interviews here.

Anthony Nikolchev (currently USA)

Men in Dance - Anthony Nikolchev

Anthony Nikolchev

Interviewer: I’ve been so impressed by your work, especially when we’ve seen you perform here on the small Island where I live. I love how edgy everything you do is, the way you struggle to bring concepts alive, you physically stretch your limits, and leave memorable images in the mind of your audiences which continue to provoke us.

The strongest memory for me is you carrying piles of books and trying to keep balance whilst manoeuvring them and the woman wrapped around you – that’s a strong picture I relate to as a lover, writer and dancer.

Here’s my question: What are your reflections on the interaction between dance and spoken word?

Thank you for your kind reflections and thoughtful memories of my work. I think dance never needs to underline the sense of meaning that the words being spoken carry. I love to find contrasts in meaning but also rhythm/quality/appearances between movement and words if they are “spoken” at the same time.

I believe that dance/movement is its own expression that intentionally is not language, so why choose to explain the experience of dance with words?

No, it is a dialogue between two different sources of expression/communication. Words are vessels that carry my experience and expectations and attempts at meaning into your versions of what associations are held by any given word. In general, the dance is about attempting to communicate but never feeling satisfied, for me.

Men in Dance - Anthony Nikolchev 2

Anthony Nikolchev in performance

Sometimes I think your work is like prophecy, interrogating the world as we experience it. Do you believe that as an artist you can change the world?

I believe before we did the thing we did, the thing we did did not exist, and therefore we throw a little reverb into the world to see where it lands. And if everyone took that chance just with a little throwing of their inner expression out and receiving of others’ expressions in, we might live in a little better of a world!

One writer on the subject of creativity suggested that we should find what it is that is waiting to be expressed, then let it emerge in whatever form it chose: song, physical theatre, painting, poetry, dance or protest march… Do we even have to choose?

We can choose to pursue that inner tuning-fork, and using whatever tool’s available to feel in tune with what we want to send out into the world.

I do also, however, believe that going deep into your tools is important. The pursuit of the impossible task in training the eye or the body or the pen is so crucial to making work that is pure and authentic in its expression, not congratulatory or self-indulgent or congratulatory,  to be at peace with the process when everyone is trying to promote their successes all around you!

Men in Dance Network

Any man interested in dance can just go on Facebook, type in ‘Men in Dance Network’, and ask to join the group.

(If there are women who have questions, or are looking for pointers about working alongside men as dancers, we’ll be trying to build up suggestions and resources for that also, as Frequently Asked Questions. So address any enquiries to Andy Raine.)

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