Tom Gittings

I wonder where a work goes?

Down the path, down soon to be memory lane.

Or, not at all.

Remembering has been the hardest part of writing about works in Dance Massive. I need that crumb in my peppermint tisane. I have the memory of a feeling for so many pieces I saw, but so few particularities. Maybe some fleeting features. If I’m writing a review, does that mean I don’t have enough evidence to judge a work?

For instance, I remember liking the latest Chunky Move show. It was a fun, pretty night out. I remember some features of the space before the show started, red steel, bitumen, city, sky; I remember Tara, James and Niharika faux fighting (I think); I remember two bikes riding in configuration; I remember knowing who the baddie was before the plot twist was revealed; I remember enjoying lightness in dorky group stop-and-drops; I remember taking my headphones on and off, enjoying the contrast, preferring the natural soundtrack to the soundtrack; I remember feeling acutely aware of the audience; I remember Tara turning on her scalp, while back bent on her palms and feet, on gravel, and the wince it sounded in the audience; I remember typing on my phone the whole time and thinking about Marten Spangberg (lol); I remember observing the drama, not being part of it; I remember finally sympathising with the longing of van Dijk’s movement for physical extremity, seeing faculty unwound by the unruly ground.

If this experiential recall can be made into judgement, does its reliance upon taste and remembering present issues in ascribing value? Is it possible instead to have an object of dance (don’t know what it looks like, don’t know how it can be) so that better measurements and descriptions of value can be made?

Can you treat dance as object?

Or is that beside that point

Is this piece of writing a dance?


Depth of Field, Chunky Move
As part of Dance Massive 2015
The Coopers Malthouse, Forecourt

Tom Gittings is slowly learning more about how writing works. Alongside dance criticism and occasionally cantankerous forum replies, Tom co-curates ‘Dance Speaks’, a series of lecture performances delivered by dance artists. He moonlights as a barista and will return to study Cultural Heritage and Museum Studies in the middle of 2015. 

This text has been produced as an outcome of the ‘To Write: Dance Massive Writing Workshop’ that was held on 1 March. As part of this workshop participants discussed approaches to writing about dance, notions of voice and audience, issues of value and function, and strategies of engagement and reflection. Throughout the Festival texts made in response to works in the Dance Massive program by the workshop participants will be published online at the Dance Massive website.

For more information on ‘To Write’ please visit: