What does being fully present involve, and what do you need to be able to stay there? When someone stands on a stage, can they ever remain a real person without being interpreted as a character, without playing a part?
…AND… is the result of an unusual partnership between choreographers Björn Säfsten and Philippe Blanchard. From two different generations, they delve deeply into what shapes the people we are, how we express our identity and how social changes engage in our consciousness.
…AND… is a unique performance in the form of two different but closely related works which share a stage and an audience. The big picture and the recognition between the two is there, but at the same time each work has its own clear identity and history. One thing they both have in common is that they are all about relationships, communication, identity, about switching roles and swapping places.
– Our aim was perhaps not to depict "reality" on stage. The question is, is there a reality in our art? We use something which seems authentic in order to create fiction, and I imagine that the audience know it is fiction. Although the performers try to persuade them that the opposite is true. Although the audience try to view it as something real. The stage is fiction, the relationship between the dancers and the audience is fiction. So what is real? Our intellectual exchange? Our emotional understanding?
…AND… stimulates the brain and touches the heart, asks questions about expectation and what is real, explores the body and sees human limitations and possibilities while focusing on presence.
Skånes Dansteater is the biggest independent dance institution in Sweden. A repertory company featuring works by contemporary Swedish, Nordic and international choreographers.
More information on Skånes Dansteater here.
About the choreographers
Choreographer Björn Säfsten works in Stockholm but originally came from Umeå. His work has received a lot of attention all over Sweden and internationally over the past few years. Björn focuses mainly on exploration of movement as an ambivalent language in his artistic work. Björn has worked with Skånes Dansteater and Cullbergbaletten and has won first prize in the 2007 Dansens Hus choreography competition and the Arts Grants Committee's 2009 Birgit Cullberg scholarship, and he has developed ten original works for and with his own ensemble. Björn has appeared with NorrlandsOperan a number of times in shows such as Display (2011), Introduction (2012) and, most recently, Fictional Copies (2014), all of which were co-produced by NorrlandsOperan.
Björn on his work with …AND…:
–Every show I create is an extension of my own working method, but this time I have stretched myself even further. I am trying new ways of working with scores, providing information for the dancers which they can use to improvise with which I have never worked with before.
More information about Björn Säfsten here.
Philippe Blanchard was born in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France, and trained in music and dance at the Conservatoire in La Randelle. Philippe has worked as a dancer with some of the most famous companies in the world, including Nederlands Dans Theater, Batsheva Dance Company and Cullbergbaletten. He founded the dance company Adekwhat in Stockholm in 1998. Philippe has choreographed a number of successful productions with his own dancers and also for dance companies in Sweden and abroad. Musicality, physicality, humour and stage presence are key to Philippe, who enjoys exploring social codes and unspoken rules in his work.
Philippe on his work with …AND…:
–The development of my works is dependent on how the group meets up and shares information, and the actual creation is an attempt to understand one another. This is an unusual process in this regard and does not involve working with my usual structure, and I have to renegotiate my approach. I can both dig more deeply into my experience and move beyond it.
Here is more information about Philippe Blanchard.