[resi]stance – Bahar Gökten and Daniela Rodriguez Romero
Bahar Gökten and Daniela Rodriguez Romero are urban dance artists. Their process-oriented works focus on the principles of motion and cultural practices of urban dance styles such as locking, breaking and popping – styles used by youth in the city to push back against repressive politico-cultural decisions and to create a sense of belonging by tapping into authentic forms of expression. Thus, the ethos of self-creation and self-becoming continues to free up new perspectives and to strengthen actors. The constant intergenerational negotiation of cultural practice gives rise to the continuous evolution of dance forms. Today, it inspires a worldwide community of solidarity.
Originating at youth centres before making its way to theatre stages, it can now be found in museums – all the while remaining inspired by concrete and asphalt. In their works, Bahar Gökten and Daniela Rodriguez Romero build cultural bridges, explore choreographic methods, collect cultural knowledge and promote young dancers. All these aspects are essential components of their creative philosophy.
With [resi]stance, the two dancers are for the first time launching a venue for motion research at the museum, temporarily transforming the exhibition areas into experimental motion laboratories and offering the opportunity to watch, try things out and discover embodied resistance.
In preparation for the exhibition RESIST! The Art of Resistance, the dance artists Bahar Gökten and Daniela Rodriguez Romero designed and produced a format that serves as the interface between formal and informal practices. In this framework, they conducted interdisciplinary research on anti- and post-colonial resistance, tracing the synergies of urban dance art and ethnology. Between August 3-9, 2020, 27 young dancers from the urban scene in NRW worked as motion researchers, spending a week with the curators and guest speakers from the exhibition RESIST! The Art of Resistance. The guest speakers’ talks created access to their exhibits and related topics. In the motion labs, the urban dancers physically and sensorially reflected on the exhibits, intuitively sharing their impressions. In the relaxed atmosphere of the Baustelle (“construction site”), the different actors entered into dialogue at eye level, testing methods of scenic research. Its aim was to introduce a sustainable source of inspiration for all parties and to draft some initial findings to be further developed in-depth by the urban dancers.
Bahar Gökten is a dancer and choreographer. Drawing on her foundation in urban dance styles, she taps into and develops movement from a variety of approaches. Her process-oriented creative philosophy is characterized by a cross-genre curiosity and the power of improvisation. Together with five other female choreographers, she founded the NRW-based Kollektiv nutrospektif in 2012, with which she realizes innovative interface formats and was recently named one of the Factory Artists of the tanzhaus nrw. She also demonstrates a strong commitment to cultural education in the form of concepts for and with young people.
Daniela Rodriguez Romero is a freelance choreographer, dance facilitator and urban dancer. In her artistic work, she explores urban dance art in other contexts. Her premise is to research artistic methods with which an authentic and individual expression can be found in the spectrum of urban movement principles. In the cooperation with the Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum – Cultures of the World, her process-oriented work will receive a further sphere of activity and research in Cologne in 2020. As artist in residence for the exhibition “RESIST! – The Art of Resistance” she will work together with the dancer and choreographer Bahar Gökten to continue her informal dance research in collaboration with an institution and to bundle formal-informal synergies.