The environment of professional morning dance classes at Ljubljana Dance Theatre was the stage for television screens which presented a series of video interviews with Slovenian dance producers, choreographers, and theoreticians. Nina Meško and Tanja Lažetić were interested in their relationship towards their own work, and towards contemporary dance art in Slovenia and abroad; they were also interested in their criteria and evaluation of dance performances. The goal of the interviews was to try and acquaint the viewer with the position of contemporary dance within contemporary society, the arts, and the production system. The project hoped to tackle the position of the artist towards his or her own creations. The title of the project was taken from Wim Wenders' film Der Stand der Dinge, presenting the director's reflections on the film industry and the position of the artist within. The State of Things was also about the intensive establishment of reflection, as this is a project questioning the conditions and contexts of its own origin.
The State of Things staged a high level of reflection of one's own media, which enabled viewers insight into those key segments of contemporary dance practice which remain hidden in the case of most projects.
Excerpts from the interviews:
"I think that the main problem of the Slovene modern dance is that creators of dance shows flirt too often with the audience, too often they think about how audiences or critics will receive them and because of that shows often stay on the level of quality entertainment or amusement. While shows with a deeper, thoughtful content or a deeper concept are rare in Slovenia."
Uršula Cetinski, producer
"Once in a while a choreographer must be tested with several dancers. Only when one works with several dancers one can verify how space functions - when one gets the opportunity of a big space. And what is also true is that nowadays modern dance is pushed away into small spaces. If we take a look at where shows take place… Dance needs space. In an area of five per seven metres you cannot make an ambitious project. Not even a solo."
Matjaz Farič, choreographer
"Over the last fifteen years some groups have had the opportunity to make it to the top of world dancing, but none of them can be considered… There are a couple of them that are in fact better middle class - they tour a lot, they are prominent at good festivals, but unfortunately not in a continuous manner. And that is because there is no background to support continuous and serious work."
Nevenka Koprivšek, producer
"At many a show I would say to myself: If someone who knew nothing about modern dance came to watch this, they would never come again to see something like that: "This is modern dance, then? It doesn't interest me!" Many times there was 'something like that'. Because it is so hermetic, so closed."
Mala Kline, choreographer and dancer
"I think the problem of modern art is that it actually seeks an answer to the question how to operate within conditions where it is protected, where it is not threatened by the danger that it would not exist… Of course, a great deal of interesting art has already been done on that subject - and I think that dance is part of that story too…"
Emil Hrvatin, theatre director and theoretician