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The New Yorker Trajal Harrell and the Hungarian Eszter Salamon are both choreographers who like to play around with the fascinating interplay between the performer and the audience, between the one dancing and the one watching. Harrell, who also appeared in last year’s Holland Festival, mixes voguing, house and contemporary dance and will present a new work for four dancers. Salamon will stage a new version of her choreography Reproduction for eight dancers. Both works refer to the way the body is used in marketing and advertising, challenging our views of sexuality and identity. By commissioning these two works, the Swedish Cullberg Ballet sets out a new course under the artistic direction of Gabriel Smeets.
The Return of the Modern Dance
In the history of dance there has always been a fascination with the communication between the one who dances and the one who watches. Who is in control: the performer or the viewer? Choreographers have seduced, triggered, directed and manipulated the gaze of the audience with the bodies they presented on stage, allowing the audience to create their own dream of the body: a perfect body that can fly or a very grounded body that takes a strong position.
The American Trajal Harrell and the Hungarian Eszter Salamon are two of the most interesting contemporary choreographers who both explore the gaze of the dancer and the audience in their work, whilst at the same time investigating the performative body. Is what we see really what we get? Is the body a construction of our desires or fears? And what do we expose by exposing our body to the gaze of someone else?
Under the new artistic direction of Gabriel Smeets, the Swedish Cullberg Ballet presents a double bill of works by these two exciting choreographers.
A choreographer of international renown, Harrell works at the interface between voguing and house. Several of his works have been nominated for best dance works by Time Out New York. For the Cullberg Ballet, he has created an exclusive new work for four dancers.
Eszter Salamon is active both as a dancer and a choreographer. Her works are performed frequently in Europe, the US and Asia. For the Cullberg Ballet, she will recreate her 2004 work for eight dancers Reproduction.
Both Trajal Harrell and Eszter Salamon are questioning the laws of the theatre and how the audience’s gaze directs the way we perceive bodies on stage,’ says new artistic director of the Cullberg Ballet Gabriel Smeets. ‘Employing different dance styles and approaches, both choreographers are interested in how bodies are presented in the entertainment and marketing industries. The two performances will challenge our views on sexuality, transformation and identity.’