Teaching and Research


Teaching and research

In 1978, thanks to Harry Sheppard, Mark Tompkins meets Steve Paxton and Lisa Nelson and Contact Improvisation, during a two week summer workshop at the Ste Baume. It’s a revelation for him and a dozen other workshop participants. Back in Paris, they create l’Atelier Contact to practice and promote this dance. For the next five years, Mark Tompkins is very active, organising workshops and performances of Contact Improvisation and other forms of Release Techniques.

In 1979, Mark Tompkins begins to teach in Paris and in France, and becomes one of the precursors of Contact Improvisaion in Europe. He travels a lot, teaching and performing, notably with Steve Paxton, Lisa Nelson, Kirstie Simson. Little by little his center of interest shifts from Contact Improvisation towards improvisation and real time composition. His curiosity leads him to explore the relationships between dance and video, dance and architecture, dance and light, dance and music.

In the 90’s, he organizes workshops with dancers and choregraphers working intensively with real time composition - Julyen Hamilton, Frans Poelstra, David Zambrano, Alessandro Certini, Sasha Waltz and participates in the improvised performances of Klick Clique, an informal group of dancers and musicians - Frans Poelstra, Sasha Waltz, David Zambrano, Dietmar Deisner, Johannes Bauer, Tristan Honsinger… He meets the portugueses Nuno Rebelo, Vera Mantero et Joao Fiadeiro.

In 1998, he organizes On the Edge – A Festival of Improvisation in Paris. This large scale event included a three week intensive workshop directed by Lisa Nelson, Steve Paxton and Simone Forti with 50 participants, followed by ten days of performances with Lisa, Steve and Simone and also Vera Mantero, Joao Fiadeiro, Nuno Rebelo, Marco Franco, Julyen Hamilton, Carme Renalias, David Zambrano, Frans Poelstra. A smaller number of these artists tours to Strasbourg and Marseille.

In 2003, he proposes Embody at TanzQuartier in Vienna, both a performance festival and a pluridisciplanary laboratory around the questions of gender and the construction of « complex images ». With Vera Mantero, Frans Poelstra, Milli Bitterli, Mara Mattuschka, Saskia Hölbling, Daniel Aschwanden, Barbara Kraus, Walter Lauterer, Pavel Braila, Miguel Pereira, Isabelle Ginot, Andrea B. Braidt, Claudia Bosse, Mihai Mihalcea, Robert Trappl.

Since 2002, the company I.D.A. proposes summer workshops in Arbecey, a small village in the Franche-Comté region of France. The workshop participants come from France, Europe and elsewhere . These intensive ten day workshops are co-directed by Mark Tompkins and an invited artist : Vera Mantero in 2002, Kirstie Simson in 2003 and 2004, David Zambrano in 2004, Benoît Lachambre and Frans Poelstra in 2005, Alain Buffard in 2006, Yves Noël Genod in 2007, Gilles Toutevoix in 2008.

The specificity of these workshops, and the connection Mark Tompkins shares with the guest artists, resides in the practice of improvisation and real time composition, and also an investigation into the (re)presentation of the body. It is also the desire that during the workshop a dialogue will arise, in which the complementarity and the confrontation of the two teachers will stimulate and question the participants as well as the artists themselves.

Besides the intensive workshops in Arbecey, he teaches in France and abroad.

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La Cie I.D.A. Mark Tompkins est subventionnée par la DRAC Ile-de-France / Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication au titre de l'Aide à la compagnie et par la Ville de Paris.

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