Production Details / Press Releases
In the monochrome interior of a gym, strewn with blue athletic mats and balls, ten performers enact their routines. Slowly, the gym reveals itself to be a film set, the scenes so many images. Surreal athletic training turns into frantic, trance-like dancing; personal confessions transform into pop songs. As rehearsals for the production’s video trailer begin, dance develops into athletic discipline, song mutates into movement, language turns explicitly physical.
“The Stages of Staging” (2013), Alexandra Bachzetsis’s new work, explores the individual and collective aspirations of a cast of performers as they play out both on and off the stage – or the camera. The tropes of the meta-film and contemporary video culture are employed as models for how we live and work, see and promote ourselves, and how we depict desire – our own and the audience’s. As the performers move through various cultural codes – the meta-films of Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Britain’s working-class Northern Soul, 1990s-era rave culture, privatized athletic training, and Internet-informed modes of self-staging – questions are raised. How does one tell a story through moving images and the bodies that compose them? Why stage our privacy for a public? Finally, what kind of film is this? Are we watching the process of its construction, its failure, or simply its trailer? Using film stills as research material, mats as projection surfaces for video close-ups, and athletic balls as props, Bachzetsis’s work explores contemporary ideas of identity in terms of image-making, framing, and athleticism. The cast’s sheer physicality – inflected by the cool commercialization of myriad cultural influences – composes so many projections, offering emotional alternatives for the self and the world in which it is staged. As the trailer puts it: “It’s a romance. It’s a romantic comedy. It’s an action movie. It’s a cover version.”
Text by Quinn Latimer
Alexandra Bachzetsis (born 1974 in Zurich) is an artist, performer and choreographer based in Zurich. Her professional background includes a wide range of disciplines: theatre, dance and visual arts. Since 2001, she has been working independently, producing and presenting her own work in theatres and contemporary art venues. Her work constitutes an inquiry into genres of performing arts, techniques of choreography and forms of scenic behaviour. Bachzetsis’ main interest lies in codes that govern gestures, both in everyday life and on stage.
She studied at the Zürcher Kunstgymnasium (CH), the Dimitrischule in Verscio (CH) and the Performance Education Program at the STUK arts centre in Leuven (BE). She then continued to post-graduate level at Das Arts, the Advanced Research in Theatre and Dance Studies centre in Amsterdam (NL). During her training years, she began to work as a dancer in contemporary dance and performance contexts, collaborating among others with Sasha Waltz & Guests in Berlin (D) and with Les Ballets C. de la B. in Gent (BE), where she worked with Christine De Smedt and Koen Augustijnen. In 2007, Bachzetsis received the Migros Kulturprozent Jubilee Award. In 2008 she took part in the 5th Berlin Bienniale for Contemporary Art and had a major solo exhibition, “SHOW”, curated by Adam Szymczyk at the Kunsthalle Basel, where she premiered a new performance “Dream Season”. In 2012 she won the Swiss Performance Prize and her work “Etude” was included in dOCUMENTA (13).
Cast & Credits
Concept and choreography: Alexandra Bachzetsis
Performance: Alexandra Bachzetsis, Emese Csornai, Staiv Gentis, Kristin Guðmundsson, Kiriakos Hadjiioannou, Michael Helland, Benjamin Jäger, Emilie Nana, Peter Sattler, Saga Sigurdardottir
Dramaturgy: Quinn Latimer
Music: Tobias Koch
Music and conceptual advice: Read Vanborm
Light design and technology: Tina Bleuler, Patrik Rimann
Costumes: Patrizia Jaeger
Costume and production assistant: Cosima Gadient
Graphic: Julia Born
Photography and video: Melanie Hofmann
Production: All Exclusive
Production management: Anna Geering
Supported by: City of Zurich Culture, Canton of Basel-Landschaft, Canton of Basel-City, Pro Helvetia – Schweizerische Kulturstiftung, Markus Weisskopf Basel, Migros Cultural Center, Ernst Göhner Foundation, GGG Basel, Ernst and Olga Gubler- Hablützel Foundation, Basellandschaftliche Kantonalbank Jubiläumsstiftung, Stanley Thomas Johnson Foundation
Theaterversion co-produced by: Kaserne Basel and Theaterhaus Gessnerallee Zürich
Museum version co-produced by: Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam
In cooperation with: Dampfzentrale Bern, ADC Genève, Théâtre Sévelin 36 Lausanne, within the framework of Reso – Tanznetwerk Schweiz, Triptic – Kulturaustausch am Oberrhein
Special thanks to all private donors
Tanz im August 2014
Artistic director: Virve Sutinen
Production management: Sven Neumann, Andrea Niederbuchner
Supported by the Governing Mayor of Berlin – Senate Chancellery – Cultural Affairs.
Funded by the Capital Culture Fund and Stiftung Deutsche Klassenlotterie.
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):