Deborah Hay is a big name in American (and beyond) post-modern, experimental choreography. In a long and distinguished career, Hay has worked on blurring the distinction between trained and untrained performers; she is interested in movement that engages the performer on several levels of consciousness.
Add to this already intriguing mix the music of the avant-garde artist Laurie Anderson and you have a recipe for a fascinating – though not easy! – work.
Called Figure A Sea, Cullberg Ballet’s collaboration with Hay and Anderson is a work of technical precision and minimalist expression. This is how dancers and choreographer describe it:
Deborah Hay’s method is to give dancers a set of questions and tasks, which they are then required to work out for themselves to come up with a sequence of movement. They may connect with each other, or perform locked in individual spaces; or both.
In Figure a Sea, dancer and stage become a world of infinite possibilities; the work is a meditation on seeing. Cullberg Ballet dancers are faced with a series of ‘what if?’ questions; and the aim is not to look at the world while they’re dancing, but to participate in it.
Laurie Anderson’s electronic music provides an ethereal meditative backdrop against which the dancers develop their movement; silence, too, plays an important role.
Following a performance in Berkeley, California, earlier this year, Figure a Sea was described by The Daily Californian as ‘dance at its most self aware, dance that contemplated its existence, recognized the passage of time and reimagined space,’ the impact of which was ‘electrifying.’
Hay’s work is not easy, nor is it for everybody; but if you are open to new experiences, then this one-off performance at the Queen Elizabeth Hall may bring you plentiful rewards.
|Cullberg Ballet, Figure a Sea, Southbank Centre
|Queen Elizabeth Hall, South Bank Centre, Belvedere Road, SE1 8XX | MAP
On 06 Sep 19, 19:30 Dur.: 1 hour approx no interval
|£18-£26 (+ booking fee; concessions available)
|Click here to book