Eleanor Bauer


When Eleanor Bauer came to Brussels, she did not know anything about the city; she only knew that it would be “discursively advanced”. The reason why she moved from New York to Brussels was P.A.R.T.S.. Her expectation when coming to Belgium was to make dance her main activity and she succeeded. She often thinks about moving somewhere else but expects that she will stay in Brussels for quite a while because of practical reasons. One of them is that she can make money for dancing in Brussels, which was not possible in New York. Although she is getting to like Brussels more, she misses Santa Fe (where she was born) and New York (where she used to live) and their social ease. Compared to those places, Brussels is a cold and rough city. Now that she can finally dance for a living, she feels that other areas of her life are empty and that she is lacking roots. But instead of being constantly in denial, she tries to focus on her life in Brussels.

Brussels is a city with so many immigrants and passer-bys that it belongs to nobody. This neutrality makes it a good home for foreigners. Bauer sees the same phenomena happening in Berlin and wonders whether it is the multiple identity of the cities themselves (created by a historical division) that makes them so welcoming towards foreigners.

To define the Brussels dance community she starts from her own perception. The community consists of people she knows with similar discursive / artistic interests or affinities. All the people she knows in Brussels are directly or indirectly related to the dance field. She never realized that there existed such a thing as a Brussels dance community until she left Brussels. Only by going away from it, it was affirmed in its existence. Similarly, it was only by going away and returning to her apartment that it affirmed itself as ‘home’. “It’s the re-entry that makes it a base, more than actual active dwelling”. As one further explores his surroundings, the place where one lives becomes more intimate.

Where she was born, what she calls home now and where she feels most at home are three different places. Because most people she knows in any of those places do not know her in the other two, those places also correspond to another part of her, almost like another identity.

Internet plays an important role in her mobility. Her social life happens partly in virtual reality. When she is on her MySpace page, she is not in everyday reality anymore. For a long time she felt more socially and emotionally connected online than she did in physical reality but she started to invest in her acquaintances in Brussels.

About the language issue she says that it is easier to follow an intellectual conversation about performance in French or Dutch (because theoretical terms are often similar in different languages) than to understand an everyday conversation. It can be refreshing to be with native speakers who understand everything (even word plays).

Bauer’s priorities have to do with good life quality, not so much with career (anymore). She wants to find financial stability and a place where she enjoys living. She would like to create without having to worry about fitting into a market or discourse. Since she left school, she allows herself to have a personal taste again, to like or dislike things. Before, she was not interested in judgments and only tried to absorb as much information as possible. Her artistic and survival needs are basically in conflict because they are interconnected. Although she is not in school anymore and can make her own choices, she is not completely free to do what she wants to do. Legally, she can only be in Belgium to dance, so she cannot have “a dumb job” that would give her an income to rely on and therefore artistic freedom.

Bauer feels she is too influenced by circumstances and expectations to feel free in her work. The context is often too strong to be ignored. There are all kinds of restrictions that keep her from making the work she really wants to make: financial and administrative restrictions but also less obvious ones, like the hesitation to do something that is considered as ‘unacceptable’ by the community. Because she is so aware of who and what she is responding to, she often ends up making things as a response to those circumstances. Her dance education might have made her over-saturated and over-educated, which makes her criticize what she would intuitively be inspired to do.

She mentions that P.A.R.T.S. offers a functional network for its students; it brings professionals to the school so that students have a “potential professional existence” when they leave school.

interview I: self-proclaimed center of the universe – on the same wavelength – quality of life – rough – rent – nourish – flower shop – tailored – perception – affinities – charisma – bioshop – bubbling up – appropriate – international emphasis – reputation – buzz words – resurface – discursively advanced – super-spoiled – MySpace – virtual self-esteem boost – infiltrated – refreshing – awesome – house party – green clay – in denial – banal – permission – over-saturated – embarrassing – prolific – impulsively – pathetic – obnoxious – on the same pitch – uncared for – roots – stabilizing activities – reliable – fluff up – cut hair – knocked off my socks – sincerity – grateful – vulnerable – homey – water pressure – self-righteous
interview II: live out of a suitcase – romanticized image – dislocated – alien resident – temporary home – expired student visa – homey pigeon – mental map – comforting – virtual reality – neutrality – everyone’s land – sister-cities


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