Production Details / Press Releases
In “SCAN” (1999/2000) four bodies move in a narrowly spaced rigid grid. Rays of light projected onto the floor of the stage almost slash the bodies open. The dancers attempt to carry out highly energetic movements as objectively as if they were examining the inner mechanics of activity as such. In “SCAN” Butcher observes the body from outside and inside, in strong contrasts recalling x-ray images. Despite the audience watching from four sides and the work’s concern with themes like x-raying and rasterisation, “SCAN” proclaims the autonomy of the physical, according to the dance scholar Susan Leigh Foster: in its vitality, the body defies the repressive power of technology.
Butcher wanted to do away with the superfluity that was solely choreographic craft and reveal instead sensorial images of the body in a dense, pixellated work. Yet, in the end, she realised that the dance form was still embedded in the movement. In the film at the end of the piece, projected dance movement unravels disconcertingly into hesitant sketches and inconsequential gestures, excised in rehearsal from the live performance. They provide a pre-performance imagery, ghosting it. By including rehearsal footage, Vong frames live performance reflectively, as a provisional end point. Perhaps it is, in Bruce Nauman’s phrase, so he can “keep taking it apart”, admit of no final version.
In nearly four decades Rosemary Butcher has made over 50 works, which have toured internationally, and she is regarded as one of Europe’s most consistently radical and innovative choreographers. Profoundly influenced by her time in New York from 1970–72, when she encountered the work of The Judson Group at its height, she subsequently introduced those ideas to Britain at her 1976 ground-breaking concert in London’s Serpentine Gallery. Since then, Butcher has developed her own movement language and choreographic structure. By her determination to remain an independent artist, her use of cross-arts collaboration in music, visual arts, film and architecture within the choreographic process and her frequent choice of non-theatrical spaces to present her work, she has forged her own place within the European contemporary dance scene. Unlike many of her British contemporaries who see their work as dance-theatre, Butcher’s influence has followed the ideas and concepts of architecture and the visual arts, particularly in painting and sculpture, and has engaged with the developing philosophies within those movements. In 2014 Butcher was named a Member of the “Most Excellent Order of the British Empire” (MBE) for her contributions to dance in the UK.
Cast & Credits
Choreography: Rosemary Butcher in collaboration with
Dance: Ben Ash, Henry Montes, Lauren Potter, Rahel Vonmoos
Film, Lighting installation: Vong Phaophanit
Composition: Cathy Lane
Technical management: Gregor Knüppel
Dancers of the premiere (1999/2000): Jonathan Burrows, Henry Montes, Lauren Potter, Fin Walker
Funded by the Arts Council England.
With the support of Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance.
Restaging co-produced by Tanz im August.
Tanz im August 2015
Artistic director: Virve Sutinen
Production management: Sven Neumann
Artistic collaboration & project management: Andrea Niederbuchner
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.
Supported by Aventis Foundation.
HAU Hebbel am Ufer (HAU1)
Tickets: +49 (0)30 259 004 27
The video documentation is produced on behalf of the Senate Department for Culture and Europe. 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)