Member Reflective Blog: Meeting Points III

By Malcolm Sutherland on 11.06.24

Meeting Points is an international exchange project between Tanzbüro München and The Work Room which began in 2019 to support connections and dialogue between artists across borders through international artistic exchange.

Meeting Points III brought together professional choreographers Salma Faraji & Malcom Sutherland from Scotland and Kathrin Knöpfle & Matteo Carvone from Munich, to work together intensively during two week-long research labs. The labs took place in March 2024 in Munich and May 2024 in Glasgow. 

Here TWR member Malcolm Sutherland reflects on his experience of Meeting Points III in this reflective blog:

Image (above) TWR & Tanzbüro München promotional materials. Photo by Brian Hartley

 

Malcolm Sutherland on Meeting Points III- June 2024: 

The meeting of 4 strangers in a studio with 2 weeks of an open schedule ahead of them, what is going to happen?!

Well…only good things as it turns out. I had little to no expectations heading into the first week in Munich, which I think was a good place to be in this kind of unpredictable encounter.  

After waking up at 4 am to travel, it wasn’t the ideal beginning, but tiredness was alleviated by a warm welcome at the Tanzbüro in Munich.  To kick things off, we had a lovely creative facilitation by local artists Susanne Schneider and Judith Hummel which ranged from a physical workshop to powerpoint presentations about their practice.  This session broke the ice and the rest of the first day was spent getting to know each other. 

In a dance studio, the four artists embrace each other in a group hug

Image (above): Kathrin, Malcolm, Salma & Matteo share a warm embrace in the studio at Tanzburo Munchen. Photo by Sara Johnstone

That evening we went to see a quite brilliant performance of Doris Uhlich’s In Ordnung, a spellbinding work where non dancers exert tremendous physical efforts in coordinating both their bodies and set designs in complex rhythms and patterns as the sounds of DJ Boris Kopeining surround the audience and even get some (including myself) moving and stirring in their seats. 

The rest of the week in the studio was relaxed and valuable. There were discussions ranging from the very small to the very big.  We generally spent more time talking than moving although we did sample some delicious Aerobics with Soul ® with Salma, an early morning Tai Chi class, and a local contact improvisation group. Outside of the studio we got to know the city which included walks in Olympia park, a German Feminist Rap concert, and a Caipirinha at Bahnwärterthiel.  

Image (above): sheets of paper with offerings and notes from the artistic discussions adorn the walls. Photo by Brian Hartley

In May, we welcomed Matteo & Kathrin to Glasgow and although some sore throats and coughs were present, we still had a lovely time meeting up again.  Previous Meeting Points artist Bridie Gane facilitated a session which involved talking through ideas which are yet to be realised.  We were also blessed with a Voice session with Susan Worsfold who guided us through a morning where we could give power and depth to our voices.

Throughout the week, we picked up on topics which we had previously discussed as well as taking part in The Work Room/Barrowland Ballet pro classes on Thursday & Friday. We were also fortunate to catch a show of Fleur Darkin’s My Muses Take Care of Me at the impressive Burrell Collection.  Although there were no Highland coos in Pollok Park, we could still celebrate Matteo’s birthday that day!

Salma, Malcom, Kathrin and Matteo sit on the grass in the sunshine outside the Burrell Collection, smiling and holding paper cups. In a tupperware in front of them is a cute box of cupcakes with birthday candles

Image (above): Malcolm, Salma, Matteo and Kathrin enjoy birthday cupcakes in the sun, sat on the grass in Pollock Park outside the Burrell Collection.

There was a gentle sharing at The Goethe Institut, which took place after some great Falafel and introducing Kathrin to Irn Bru. Although there wasn’t much time to show the famous Scottish nature, we did manage to make a trip to Loch Lomond and even get the sun tan lotion out! It was so precious to spend this time with good and open people and to engage in stimulating topics of discussion. Everything felt very natural and our exchange flowed organically from the beginning which meant the time was filled with meaning and value.

Image (above) The exchange artists share reflections on their two weeks of creative labs at the Goethe Institut, Glasgow. Clockwise from top left: Kathrin Knöpfle, Salma Faraji, Malcolm Sutherland & Matteo Carvone. Photos by Brian Hartley

 

This experience has led me to realise the importance of sharing and reflection.  In the business of freelance life when our minds are often focused on the future rather than the present, I appreciated that Meeting Points could provide more of a focus on the here and now, without the pressure of time or a result, our wonderings could follow intuition.  I do feel I should spend more time practising doing less (in the sense of producing something) ...there's something valuable in just having conversations and opening up to the vulnerability of our profession and place within it.  

To The Work Room and Tanzbüro, Thank you/Dankeschön for this wonderful experience and to Salma, Kathrin and Matteo…let’s do this again sometime. 

Outside the Goethe Institut, Salma, Malcolm, Kathrin and Matteo stand at the top of the steps, smiling to the camera

Image (above): The Meeting Points III artists raise a glass outside the Goethe Institut, Glasgow. Photo by Brian Hartley

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