Meet the artists: Alexander McCabe and Stefanie Schwimmbeck

While the first #CROWDdance 2022 residency enters its second week at TaikaBox in Finland, today marks the start of the second residency with artists Alex McCabe and Stefanie Schwimmbeck who are coming together at The Workroom in Glasgow, Scotland. Find out more about Alex and Stefanie below:

Alex McCabe

Image © Alex McCabe

Alex McCabe is a dance artist and musician based between Glasgow and Milan, making work that centres around people and sees the moving body as a catalyst for communion and discovery in an isolating world.

What are you hoping to explore during the CROWD 2022 residencies?
I hope to explore non-hierarchical models for enabling communities to dance. I also hope to imagine decolonising arts ‘outreach’ as a concept. 

Why did you want to be a CROWD 2022 artist?
I wanted to dedicate significant time and space to collaboratively digging deep into the hows, whos, whys and wheres of participatory practice and develop beyond paradigms that feel increasingly outdated.

What are you looking forward to the most in terms of the residencies and the overall CROWD 2022 programme?
I’m very much looking forward to being paired with a research companion and to see what this new relationship brings to our collective and individual thinking.

What made you interested in creating art with the community?
I’ve always envisioned the purpose of art as the constant carving and recarving of communities. All interaction with art does this, whether mindfully and proactively or naively and passively.

What is the strength of community based work for you?
The strength of community based work is in the recarving of cultural delineations and/or bridging of cultural distinctions that takes place, enabling new, robust and lasting connections.

What are the limitations working with a community?
The limitations of working with a community are ethical and political. The artist must hand over power to the creative community created and not the reverse.

Stefanie Schwimmbeck

Image © Sebastian Brill

Stefanie Schwimmbeck works as a dancer and dance teacher in Cologne and is interested in dance as an arts and learning content as well as sustainability in the performing arts.

What are you hoping to explore during the CROWD 2022 residencies?
I am hoping to further develop myself as an artist in cultural education work and to question and broaden my learned work structures during the CROWD 2022 residency.

Why did you want to be a CROWD 2022 artist?
I want to be a CROWD 2022 artist because I see the exchange with other dance creators as exciting and appealing. As well I would like to take another step on optimizing and professionalizing my freelance professional work both in my teaching work and in my artistic work.

What are you looking forward to the most in terms of the residencies and the overall CROWD 2022 programme?
I am looking very much forward to getting to know all the other CROWD dance artists from so many different countries. This is very special for me and makes the programme rich an experience!

What made you interested in creating art with the community?
It is important to me to convey contemporary dance as an art form. Creating art with the community builds a bridge between the artistic work, the research and the audience and can play a central role in strengthening dance as an art form.

What is the strength of community based work for you?
The elements from contemporary, non-stylistic dance offers the necessary openness to respond to the individual, creative and aesthetic abilities of the partcipants and to promote them. My goal is that in my community based work each participant develops their own personal dance material from their own ideas and creativity, thus creating the opportunity to develop and identify with it.

What are the limitations working with a community?
It’s hard to say, because each work has different limitations. I have learned that the support of the local staff (e.g. teacher, social workers) is the most important factor in the success of working with a community.

Does community dance travel? How?
I hope community dance travels with each participant: Into our bodies, into our hearts and also to our joy of life.

Across the coming months, we’ll be inviting our ten artists and the host partners to capture elements of their residencies and share insight into their work and the areas they’re exploring within the realm of community-engaged dance. Follow our blog here and #CROWDdance on social media for further updates.

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