Andros Zins-Browne

Date: 10/09/2006

Andros Zins-Browne moved four years ago from New York City to Brussels because of PARTS. He wants to stay in Brussels because of different reasons: many people he knows (often ex-classmates) live here; there are many opportunities for dance (there is an interest, a community and financial support for it); Brussels is cheap to live and is close to other European cities. His expectation when coming to Brussels was to find a place that would appreciate dance as a critical art form and that expectation came true. He considers Brussels as his home and New York as his ‘culture’. He thinks there is a lack of ‘scenes’ (linked to specific sub-cultures) in Belgium. People do not relate with each other so much. A dance scene does not exist either because there is a lack of motivation. The Belgian system forces you to become very individualistic: to realize a project and to succeed in the application, you really have to focus on yourself. Sharing between makers is therefore often project-related. Zinz-Browne notices a difference between Belgian and New York audiences: what he likes about Belgian audiences is that they are so diverse. In Belgium all kinds of people go to performances while in New York, it is often more of an in-crowd.
His main source of income is teaching English but he hopes to make performing his primary income in the course of the next few years. His financial situation is better in Brussels than in New York City where he was heavily underpaid for the performance work he did and had to do jobs on the side to sustain himself financially. There he had to work 40 hours a week to cover his expenses, in Brussels only eight. It feels weird to him to have to plan his work so much in advance in Belgium because of the funding system. He thinks the system should categorize work into beginning level artists, mid-level artists and career artists. For a beginning artist it is very unpractical to have to prepare applications so much in advance. It is problematic to have to ask people to keep their schedule free for several months while it is not even sure whether you will get the funding to do the project. He describes how (difficult) working conditions can sometimes turn into an aesthetic, for example in Berlin where the ridiculous absurdity in some pieces is a direct result of the lack of funding and je m’en fous attitude.
He does not have the wish to found a company because he is convinced that the company model is outdated. Of course both the freelance system and the company model have their advantages and disadvantages. As a freelancer you have a lot of freedom and can travel a lot, but at the same time it is a schizophrenic situation because you have to divide your attention between the different projects you are working for. A company has the advantage that the dancers are committed and that they can benefit from social security. However, he does not think that working in a company structure is healthy for the creative process. He often sees people in companies getting lazy and losing the urge to create. Zinz-Browne prefers to work project-wise, so that he can choose people for a specific project and that he is free to collaborate with other makers.
The community he feels he is part of consists of his friends (all dance-related) and people he works with. They share work, invite each other in each other’s projects and comment on each other’s work. He feels a different connection with people who work in the performance field. The communication with people who are not in the dance field is always limited to some extent. He thinks that belonging to the Brussels dance community also has a social function. It is nice to belong to a group of like-minded people and have the feeling that “we are different than the rest”.

Nutcracker – showcases – dramaturge – love duet – planning in advance – pretentious – categorization of work – fundraising – scene – subcultures – excavation of the mind – hurtful – hyper-aware – high and low culture – ‘sympa’ – flaky – symptom – ridiculous absurdity – aesthetic of research – self-obsession – uninhibited – health insurance – social pariah – less picky – bouncing back – Joe Public – too snobby – dependency – alienation – unspontaneous – schizophrenic – teaching English – pretty enjoyable


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