13.11.2016 | Words by: Mathis Neuhaus.
What is it that defines a dance floor? One could argue for the necessity of certain obvious elements like a booth, a booming sound system or just any, in the sense of the word, floor that provides enough space to dance. But then again, at some point everyone certainly made the experience of a functioning dance floor without any of the above stated factors given and without any of the above stated factors missed. This leads to the guess: maybe it is the dancers and artists that define the dance floor while dancing, in the very process of embracing it. Together they are shaping its visual repertoire and consequently form and display an integral part of its aesthetic.
Architecture cannot be excluded completely from these contemplations though. It is the visible and unalterable foundation for everything that follows. It certainly makes a difference if a dance floor has windows, high or low ceilings, a lot of light or very little and if it is purpose-built or integrated in an already used environment, a place with history of sorts. But what follows from there is the question: what is in a space? Is it the concrete that gives it its aesthetic identity or is it the diffuse?
For example, the former bicycle garage that is home to De School’s dance floor relies on a stark and ever-present composition. It is, we all know this by now, a dark and intense spatial experience that plays a big role in the reception of the club. But in this given parameters the routes that could be taken still remain endless. It can go from the darkest, storming Techno to a sun-kissed Steel drum-workout. Sometimes in the same night, in the same hour even. Some routes may be easier to walk on and not far to seek, some may be more demanding, but they are all present as possibilities. In this case, the dance floor’s aesthetic is a constant negotiation in the given framework. Debated over by the dancers and the artists who are also bringing a lot of aesthetical potential to the table: whether it be fashion or their personalities, their human unpredictability.
This November, the basement dance floor’s aesthetics are going to be broadened further in a night baptized as De Trance. Focusing on a genre that relies heavily on a distinct set of visual codes. Think, with a bit of exaggeration, space imagery, colorful collages in the spectrum of the rainbow, depictions of hallucinogenic experiences and certain other elements that shape a dance floor into a trance floor. Green lasers (a lot of them) and smoke were already mentioned. Trance is collective ecstasy fueled by arpeggios and breakdowns. The collective ecstasy is essential to a trance floor’s aesthetic; it is togetherness catalyzed also by the genres history. A history that many people seem to be able to relate to. Just browse through the discussion in the night’s Facebook Event: a journey through the epochs and varieties of Trance music, collectively laid out and cherished.
Aesthetics, one might say, became a played-out buzz word of present times. As a branch of philosophy it has been around for ages, but nowadays everything seems to get aestheticized in the battle for short attention. As for the dance floor, it is maybe not so much about the attention, but an attempt to understand what makes it tick and function.