Zoë Poluch


During the last six years, Zoë Poluch has lived a nomadic life in which she was mostly on tour or in residence. Recently, she gave up this constant movement for an apartment in Brussels. She felt the need to stay somewhere for a while and her new job for Cie Isabella Soupart enables her to do that. Her life changed quite intensively; she switched from a very irregular work schedule to a regular one. Her former schedule meant that she had a big sense of freedom, but moving around also meant moving in and out of people’s lives and feeling alone. One of her top priorities at the moment is integrating life and work as much as possible. What attracted her to Brussels at first is, among others, the way she could train here and the different way of working/dancing, which she describes as ‘horizontal’. With horizontal she means more floorwork in the physical sense and socially/organisationally she compares it with micro-communities of specific interests rather than a grand hierarchy with an ideal and one way to move up, it’s more moving around. Brussels is like a village to her, which does not mean she feels at home (yet). She feels that she’s “not from here”. In her job in Belgium she experiences a language barrier.

According to Poluch, the dance community comprises « all the people from the dance field who frequent performances, classes, workshops and bars ». She considers herself as a member of this community that she defines as her social network : her social interaction is more or less limited to other dancers. She feels recognized as a person by her community, but receives insufficient recognition for her work. When she compares the dance community of her home country Canada to that of Brussels, she notices that there is a greater hierarchy in the Canadian dance community, with a bigger distance between creator and dancer. A collaborative spirit is not as important in Canada as it is for example in Brussels.

Poluch distinguishes several subcommunities within the Brussels dance community. A first group comprises the unemployed dancers who frequent studios, workshops etc. and want to become part of ‘the scene’. The second group are people working in renowned companies like Rosas, Les Ballets C de la B, ZOO, Fabre, Needcompany or Ultima Vez. She considers each of those companies a micro community because they tour and work together intensively and become tight social circles. The PARTS students form a third subcommunity and the last category are the people who have been in Brussels for a very long time, who have their work and their family here. She also mentions a sub-community or strata of teachers that frequent the same network of studios and festivals, as well as an intermedia/performance community that defines itself on the margins of dance + includes other collaborations (i.e. Poni). Finally she also identifies temporary communities that form around one time that passes through Brussels which they are part of or are following. (i.e. Frey Faust’s “nomadic collage” and all of his devotees or a small company in residency here, or one staying to import/relocate themselves). Getting access to the ‘professional scene’ is not that easy (informal contacts seem to be most successful), as a result a lot of would-be dancers float from one workshop to the other and do some illegal jobs on the side. Poluch used to belong to this group of unemployed dancers when she moved to Montreal and “consciously tried to be part of the dance community.” Networking used to be an important part of her life at the time; now she goes to performances to be aware of how the medium of dance evolves and to keep informed about the work of others. Not having a job is hard, she admits; even more so psychologically than financially.

Floor work – challenge – impressed by Europe – illegal – on the go – residencies – reminiscing – commitment – like a village – social network – exclusive – grant – shy – hierarchy – collaborative spirit – migrant group of dancers – two sub-communities – professional scene – snobbery – flaky – warm and fuzzy – unemployed dancers – micro communities – tight social circle – ‘fanclubs’ – conglomerate – variety – alone – familial unconditional love – immediate / profound priority – settling down – living forward – fast money – exclusive – feedback under-credited – irregular schedule – guilt when not working - 8 months plans in advance – technique – unsteady – language barrier – eclectic - leisure


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