Antistatic Interview with Mark Tompkins// HOMMAGES: A tribute to Vaslav Nijinski, Valeska Gert, Josephine Baker,Harry Sheppard
Finding a personal path into the complexity of these legendary dance artists
What was your main interest in creating the solos about these four legendary dance artists united in “Hommages”? What was your artistic approach to them?
These solos were created separately over a period of almost ten years, from 1989 to 1998. Nijinski and Josephine Baker were commissions, Harry Sheppard and Valeska Gert were my initiative. Although the four solos happened to be homages to legendary artists, they were not made to be shown together. In 1998, I had the opportunity to present them as an evening at ImPulsTanz in Vienna. I was surprised and thrilled to discover the correspondences between them and the public followed.
Creating and enacting solos for these singular and rebellious dance legends while remaining myselfwas the foundation of the works, to evokebut not illustratetheir lives or works. Finding my personal path into the complexity of each artist, while playing with both their public and private lives. Working with historical people, it’s important to share your references with the audience, but also to extend your personal fantasy and guide them to a more mysterious place.
How would you define your artistic position to dance and performance today?
I don’t really try to define a position, I do things that interest me: sometimes a group piece, sometimes a solo, sometimes an improvised performance, sometimes a concert …
Right now, I’m making an evening solo, STAYING ALIVE, about life, ageing and death. I haven’t made a solo for myself in more than ten years, and I felt the need to reconnect with that special state. I try not to repeat myself, and as my questions and interests change, I attempt to fulfill these desires.