What’s the reason for a competition? Why choreographic? – Elías Míguez

What’s the reason for a competition? Why choreographic?

And how to rethink those categories in the actual context…


From the first day I began the reviewing program for the 31° Certamen Coreográfico de Madrid* the two questions in the title of this article were around my head. For me, the first image that comes to mind is a beauty contest (showing how colonized my imagination is, because in my native Argentina such contests are really unusual, and in choreographic arts almost non-existent). But what I’m sure about is that a competition is a classical instrument for erasing singularity in the contestants, and evaluating them into a small series of things.

Also, it’s choreography in the sense that it’s a modern tool for social control (fundamentally in space and time), it’s a form of social order. Think of the roads that you take from home to work, or the new apps that not only inform you about the traffic but also suggest a better way to get where you want to go.

In this scenario, I wonder: what are the parameters for valuing some performances above others? That’s a question for a judge. But as a choreographer: what are my motivations for exposing my work to that kind of control system?

In the 31° Certamen Coreográfico de Madrid, there are so many awards that all the contestants said: you’re almost sure to get at least one. That perspective lowers the competitive atmosphere that might exist in other contests.

To me, what cropped up as a real necessity was the possibility to think and rethink. Although we are in a contest, and know that with more authority comes responsibility (like in «Spider-man»!), creating and recreating our own uniqueness, our own ways of seeing and being within this contemporary art context, will push boundaries of that contest, and break the conservative and traditional ideas of what the competition should be.

*  My journey at the Certamen began with «El cuerpo activista» workshop co-ordinated by Teja Reba and Alexis Eupierre.


Elías Míguez

(Foto de J.C. Arévalo)

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