Throughout her own training, Carolyn Carlson came across brilliant dance teachers, from Anna Sokolov, the choreographer and teacher marked by her collaboration with Martha Graham, via Joan Woodbury, a pupil of Mary Wigman and pillar of dance education at the University of Utah, to Alwin Nikolaïs, for whom she was a dancer from 1965 to 1972. More than a technique, Nikolaïs passed on to Carlson a philosophy based on improvisation, choreographic composition and a concept of the dancing body according to four principles: time, space, form and continuity of movement. He also instilled in her the conviction that creation and learning are inseparable, that you only create because you discover.
Since then, Carolyn Carlson has become a creator and teacher in her own right. She has passed on her approach to movement as poetic gesture to several generations of dancers all over the world, particularly in France, Italy and Finland.
This passion for passing on led her to establish and direct a dance school in Venice, the Accademia Isola Danza, from 1999 to 2002. In 1999, she also founded the Atelier de Paris, an international training centre where the greatest masters come to impart their knowledge.
Guardians of Carlson’s dance idiom, those who perform in her pieces in turn acquire her liking for passing on. When on tour, the Company often organises masterclasses led by the choreographer and her performers alongside the shows.
“Time, Space, Form and Perpetual Motion are the tools needed to create a graphic and poetic language. You have to be in contact with the world, aware of its sufferings, study the arts, music and poetry, be open to others and all these experiences will inspire your way of dancing. The richer your life, the richer your dance will be. An artist must have just one obsession in life: to touch people’s souls and reveal the share of poetry within them.
This search for the invisible will help you rise up. We other dancers, we steal moments of grace from the universe.” Carolyn Carlson