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Recording: 2016-08-31 , Tanz im August 2016 | Haus der Berliner Festspiele (Video © Walter Bickmann)

Cullberg Ballet, Deborah Hay, Laurie Anderson

Figure a Sea

Tanz im August 2016 | Haus der Berliner Festspiele

Production Details / Press Releases

In “Figure a Sea”, Cullberg Ballet brings together 18 dancers in an artistic master meeting between two of the performing arts very greatest: the choreographer Deborah Hay and composer Laurie Anderson. Within “Figure a Sea”, the dancer and the stage are considered a sea of endless possibilities. The choreography moves between technical proficiency and minimalistic expression. Nothing happens by chance. Hay challenges, without diminishing, the dancer’s intelligence, beauty and speed. Ease, accuracy, visibility, ambiguity and uniformity are the key words for this work. Hay describes “Figure a Sea” as a meditation on seeing: Seeing music, fleeting incidences, synchronicities, collectivity and surprise. For her, it is a space for self-reflection: a space for seeing oneself seeing.

Deborah Hay is one of the most radical and influential post-modern artists, who still expands our perception of dance. Here, she joins forces with another pioneer Laurie Anderson, performance artist, musician and film-maker, to create a delightful experience of the music, sound and choreography.

Cullberg Ballet has performed all over the world and is an important contributor to the international presentation of contemporary dance. The company also engages in national outreach through its tours within Sweden. Cullberg Ballet collaborates with a variety of national and international choreographers and performing artists who create works for large as well as small stages. Cullberg Ballet’s activities encompass different projects and productions including collaborations with dance training programs. Cullberg Ballet was founded by Birgit Cullberg in 1967 under the auspices of Riksteatern – The Swedish National Touring Theatre, of which it still is a part. The company currently has 16 dancers from nearly as many countries. Since its inception, the stage personalities, creativity and technical strength of its dancers have been Cullberg Ballet’s defining characteristics. Gabriel Smeets is the artistic director since 2014.

American icon dancer, choreographer and author Deborah Hay was born 1941 in Brooklyn. She trained with Merce Cunningham and Mia Slavenska, and she danced with the Cunningham Dance Company in 1964. Hay was part of the Judson Church Movement in New York in the 1960s which became one of the most radical and explosive postmodern 20th century art movements. She focused on large scale dance projects, and later almost exclusively on rarified and enigmatic solo dances based on her experimental choreographic method. She has also choreographed a duet for herself and Mikhail Baryshnikov, ” Single Duet” in 2000. Deborah Hay is the recipient of numerous Fellowships and Endowments. In 2009, she received an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Dance from the Theater Academy in Helsinki, Finland. After a two year research collaboration with Motion Bank, a project of the Forsythe Company, an online interactive website was dedicated to Hay’s choreographic aesthetics. “Turn Your F*cking Head” is a documentary made in 2012 by British filmmaker Becky Edmunds. Deborah Hay’s new book “Using the sky: a dance” was launched, September 2015.

Laurie Anderson (born in 1947 in Glen Ellyn) began her career as a sculptor and performance artist in the late 1960s. Early in her career she worked as an illustrator and art critic. She is a pioneer in electronic music and has written both popular and art music and collaborated with, among others, William Burroughs, Peter Gabriel and Lou Reed. Since 1975, she has recorded seven albums. Anderson plays several instruments, variations of the violin being her main one. “O Superman” from 1981 is one of her most famous songs which also reached as high as second place in the British charts. Her film “Heart of a Dog” was screened at The Venice Film Festival 2015.

Cast & Credits

Choreography, directed by: Deborah Hay
Composition: Laurie Anderson
Light design: Minna Tiikkainen
Sounddesign: Martin Ekman
Assistant lighting design: Heikki Paasonen
Costume: Marita Tjärnström
Choreographic assistant: Mira Mutka, Laurent Pichaud
With: Adam Schütt, Anand Bolder, Camille Prieux, Daniel Sjökvist, Darío Barreto Damas, Eleanor Campbell, Eszter Czédulás, Eva Mohn, Gesine Moog, Jac Carlsson, Katie Jacobson, Samuel Draper, Tilman O’Donnell, Tiran Willemse, Ulrika Berg (guest), Unn Faleide, Vera Nevanlinna (guest), Vincent Van der Plas
Coproduction: Zodiak, Center for New Dance, Helsinki, Finland, Peak Performances @ Montclair State University, New Jersey, USA, Balletto di Roma, Rome, Italy, Centro per la Scena Contemporanea – Comune di Bassano del Grappa, Italy, CCAP, Stockholm , Sweden.
With the support of the Italian Cultural Institute Stockholm.

Tanz im August 2016
Artistic director: Virve Sutinen
Executive Producer: Sven Neumann
Production: Isa Köhler, Andreas Skjönberg, Andrea Niederbuchner
Assistance of Artistic Director / Production: Marie Schmieder
Tanz im August is a festival by HAU Hebbel am Ufer, funded by the the Capital Culture Fund and the Governing Mayor of Berlin – Senate Chancellery – Cultural Affairs.

Haus der Berliner Festspiele

Schaperstraße 24
10719 Berlin

Tickets: +49 (o)30 254 89 100

Video Documentation

The video documentation is produced on behalf of the Senate Department for Culture and Social Cohesion. The purpose of this contract is to document productions in the field of contemporary dance in Berlin. The master recordings are archived by the University Library of the Berlin University of Arts. Copies of the recordings on DVD are available for viewing exclusively in the reference collections of the following archives (at media desks in these institutions):

University Library of the Berlin University of Arts
Mediathek für Tanz und Theater des Internationalen Theaterinstituts / Mime Centrum Berlin
Inter-University Centre for Dance Berlin (HZT)

Deborah Hay / Trailers and Video Documentations

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