Last Dances – Rachel Tess & Danish Dance Theatre
What would you do for the last dance you would ever perform? Why is this your last dance? Choreographer Rachel Tess posed those questions to the dancers at Danish Dance Theatre (DDT), creating a very personal starting point for Last Dances, which premieres July 3-4 at Wanås Konst. The audience is free to come and go or delve into the marathon format over the course of four hours.
“The question I posed to them, “What would your last dance be?” is very personal. We set up a safe space for the dancers to explore that question. And found a frame in which their interpretations of the tasks I proposed could encompass their individuality and criticality”, says Tess.
With their answers, Tess and the dancers began to develop movement for the performance that was brought forth from their viewpoints and the outcome of mutual encouragement. The performance is based on each dancer’s exploration, rooting from their answers and producing a group narrative as they shared with each other. In their solos, they sought to be as generous as possible, work with rhythm, interrupt, avoid the “big solo”, get lost in space, and divide their body into small parts. In addition, each dancer’s “Last song” was recorded and became a movable soundscape playing from tiny speakers inside handmade amplifiers.
Last Dances was crafted through attention to sensation and physicality. If we close our eyes, how do we sense the space around us? If we stand close to someone, how do we sense that person without seeing or touching him or her?
Detailed costumes by the artist Peter Linde Busk include both hand-painted shoes and lashes that partly obscure the dancers’ vision. With Last Dances, Tess continues her work outside the traditional stage and her interest in various meetings with audiences. The audience becomes sensitized to the room through the dancers’ movements and personal stories.
Pontus Lidberg, artistic director of Danish Dance Theatre describes the initiative with Last Dances:
“Contemporary dance is a collective concept, it can be anything from physical theater to movement-based performing arts and installations that approach the visual arts. Danish Dance Theatre embraces the breadth and with this work wants to meet an audience that might otherwise not find us, or we them.”
Rachel Tess (b. 1970, works in Knislinge, Sweden) is an American dancer, choreographer, and curator. Tess has been a member of Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal, Gothenburg Opera Ballet, and the Cullberg Ballet in Stockholm. Her works have been presented by Baryshnikov Arts Center (New York), Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (New York), Dansens Hus (Stockholm), MDT (Stockholm), Dansstationen (Malmö), among others. Tess has received the Birgit Cullberg Stipendium (2018) and Danish Dance Theatre’s “Generator – Choreographic Fellowship” (2020). She is the artistic director of Milvus Artistic Research Center (MARC) in Knislinge.
Peter Linde Busk (b. Copenhagen, 1973 where he lives and works) is educated at the Slade School of Fine Art, London; Hunter College of Art, New York and The Royal Academy of Arts, London. In 2008 he studied at the Art Academy in Düsseldorf with the artist Peter Doig. He has exhibited extensively internationally and in Sweden and had a solo exhibition at Borås Art Museum, 2017. Linde Busk is represented in the collections Rubell Family Collection, Miami; Saatchi Collection, London; Holstebro Art Museum and ARKEN Museum of Modern Art, Ishøj. In 2020, he was awarded the New Carlsberg Foundation’s Artist Scholarship.
Choreography: Rachel Tess with Danish Dance Theatres dancers
Date and time: July 3–4, 12.30 pm – 4.30 pm
Place: The Barn, Wanås Konst
Dancers: Merete Hersvik, Jessica Lyall, Lucas Threefoot, Edward Pearce, Bradley Waller
Sound: Uli Ruchlinski and dancers
Costume: Peter Linde Busk
Tailor: Maria Ipsen
Artistic Consultant: Isaac Spencer
With support from: Augustinusfonden, Bikubenfonden, Knud Højgaards Fond, Aage og Johanne Louis-Hansens Fond
Tickets: firstname.lastname@example.org. You will receive a confirmation email showing that you have been offered a seat. The performance is included in the admission fee (maximum 30 people in the room).
Since 2014, Wanås Konst has actively incorporated dance and performance into its program as a long time investment in live art, art that must be experienced in the moment and requires your presence in the here and now.
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Wanås Konst – Center for Art & Learning, presents and communicates contemporary art that challenges and redefines society, working outside in the landscape around Wanås in Skåne, southern Sweden. The permanent collection in the sculpture park is complemented with a program of temporary exhibitions, both outdoors and in the Art Gallery, and events such as guided tours, artists’ talks, performances and workshops engaging a wide audience. Wanås Konst produces site-specific international art and learning in an innovative and accessible way.
Wanås Konst is run by The Wanås Foundation, a non-profit foundation created in 1994, in Östra Göinge municipality, in the South of Sweden, 1.5 h from Copenhagen, Denmark. Founding Director Marika Wachtmeister initiated the art projects at Wanås in 1987. Since 2011 the foundation is led by Elisabeth Millqvist and Mattias Givell. Wanås Konst is part supported by state, regional (Region Skåne) and municipal funding, part self financed, as well as supported by private foundations and sponsors. Read more on the website www.wanaskonst.se
Wanås is a place in the world where art, nature and history meet. At Wanås the sculpture park Wanås Konst, Wanås Restaurant Hotel and Wanås Estate coexist and a private 15th century castle is also found on site. Wanås Konst is part of European Land + Art Network (ELAN) and Wanås is a sustainable destination. More information, please visit www.wanas.se