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Bára Sigfúsdottir - The lover

ABOUT THE PERFORMANCE

How many meaning can the word lovers have and how many connotations are attached to it? An Icelandic choreographer living in Brussels does not have a clear answer. But one thing is certain: we can‘t talk about romantic love. Bára‘s choreography consists of vibrations, pulses and imperceptible physical initiations broadcast to viewers as SOS code. Everything is intimate, exposed on the backdrop of the majestic image by Noemie Goudal, a French artist who, with inexorable fascination, deals with undefined space between reality and imagination, between the real and the vision. Bára's solo consists of two parts in which we can see the rise and fall of an animal species. The first half is filled with growth and potency, the second with decay and destruction. Bára Sigfúsdottir's choreographic path is showing a clear upward trend. The fact that the performance has been included in programs of festivals and theaters such as Juli Danse in Amsterdam and Théâtre National de Chaillot in Paris gives further  proof.

The Lover, a solo by the Icelandic dancer and choreographer Bára Sigfúsdóttir (graduated from the Brussels dance school P.A.R.T.S. in 2011) exists in two versions. The original version for the black box included an impressive scenography by design studio 88888, with photographs by French artist Noémie Goudal, from whose series Les Amants Sigfúsdóttir borrowed the title of her performance. For practical reasons, this photographic installation could however not be rebuilt and included in the location version Sigfúsdóttir created in 2015 for the Ostend theatre festival Theater Aan Zee. Those who feared that the performance would lose expressiveness because of this were wrong: the necessarily pared-down location version stimulated the imagination at least as much, if not more, than the theatre version.

She focused the attention even more on the fascinating language of movement which Sigfúsdóttir uses to talk about life – not the humdrum human life with its anecdotal problems, but the biological development of human existence and how it affects the much older geological given. The 'lovers' in Sigfúsdóttirs performance are not exactly in a romantic mood; the choreography portrays the relationship between nature and man in a possessive-aggressive sense: the point at which human culture overpowers nature to suck it empty, a love that is so great it becomes destructive.

The short solo consists of two parts, in which one might recognize the rise and decline of a species. The first half is imbued with growth and potency, the second with decay and destruction. In the theatre version, the otherwise empty scene is bordered to the rear by a huge picture by Goudal displaying a vault with columns, a picture full of surreal mysticism reminiscent of M.C. Escher. On location in the abandoned warehouse in Ostend, the bare concrete pillars are made of stone. Between these pillars there sits, hunched – in the evoked, respectively, real space – a creature. It could be a prehistoric animal, but just as well a plant species or a single cell: the fact is that it is not an individual being, but an organism, a species, that is emerging.

This emergence begins with the vibration of a muscle in the arm, the outward turning of the arm, followed by the slow, outward folding of the body, like a lotus flower. Starting with a writhing of toes, an attempt to get upright, to grow, is made – but the ‘limbs’ of the creature seem not well attuned to each other, the joints fail to do their work and the feet, hands, fingers and arms flail about autonomously like the limbs of a starfish, unhindered by a central, or authoritative guiding consciousness. We witness a process of trial and error: nature evolves by rewarding that which accidentally becomes the most adapted to its environment. At times the growth process comes to a halt, only to, with a sudden shock – a growth surge – start again.

ABOUT BÁRA SIGFÚSDOTTIR

Bára Sigfúsdóttir is an Icelandic choreographer and dancer. She studied contemporary dance at theIcelandic Academy of Arts, at MDT Amsterdam and lastly at P.A.R.T.S., where she focused both on dance training, movement research and choreography. In her professional career Bára has initiated and participated in several dance projects as well as more theatrical work and film. As a performer, Bára has amongst others worked with Or and Oran dance company, Miet Warlop (replacing inSpringville), Quan Bui Ngoc, Iris Bouch & Kobe Proesmans, UntamedProductions, Liesbeth Marit, Aëla Labbe, We are from LA, Klaartje Lambrechtsand she was one of the main choreographers of the project NORDIC SCORE : ESCAPEAND TRANSFORMATION by Janne-Camilla Lyster that premiered in november 2015 in DansensHus Oslo.

As a choreographer Bára Sigfúsdóttir made her debut with the solo performance On the other side of a sand dune, with music creation by Sóley (Iceland). On the other side of a sand dune is currently touring and has been selected for platforms such as December Dance (Bruges) and ICE HOT (Oslo).

In its essence, the work of Sigfúsdóttir is very personal. Her Icelandic cultural background and own life experiences are inspiration sources for her creations. Within these personal elements she selects those she can export to a universal context and to which anyone can relate to. The young choreographer is interested in human beings, their existence, behaviour and actions and wishes to refer to them in her choreography. At the same time she researches how the same movement can have multiple intentions and new associations by adding small changes in repetition. Sigfúsdóttir’s work is characterized by her outstanding performative qualities and the necessity to express herself in her unique movement language. Her choreographic idiom is eloquent and proper to her specific body structure. The purposeful use of separate body parts is a tool with which the choreographer wants to tell a new story. At the same time Sigfúsdóttir communicates in a direct and identifiable way with her audience thanks to the balanced accordance between narration, abstraction and theatricality.

CREDITS


Concept, choreography and performance: Bára Sigfúsdóttir
Concept and photography: Noémie Goudal
Scenography: Noémie Goudal in collaboration with 88888
Music and sound design: Borko
Dramaturgy: Sara Vanderieck
Lighting design: Kris Van Oudenhoven
Costume: Andrea Kränzlin
Technics: Kris Van Oudenhove and/or Marlies Jacques/Bardia Mohamad/Jeroen Verrecht
Production: Curtain Call Productions
Coproduction: Workspace Brussels, TAKT Dommelhof, Vooruit (in the frame of the European Network DNA (Departures and Arrivals). Co-funded by the Creative Europe Program of the European Union.)
With the support of: wpZimmer, Dansens Hus Stockholm, de Warande, De Werf, CAMPO, Pianofabriek and Bora Bora Aarhus
With the financial support of: the Flemish Government, the Flemish Community Commission of the Brussels Capital Region, the French Embassy in Belgium (Service de Coopération et d’Action Culturelle (SCAC)

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OyqHXd6eQq0

Websites: http://www.barasigfusdottir.com/the-lover/

REVIEWS

With The Lover, The Icelandic dancer Bára Sigfúsdóttir created an enchanting choreography that begins with a quivering arm - rarely seen anything more fascinating than these simple movements of human muscles. You will be all eyes watching this enchanting man-beast.

– Evelyne Coussens in De Morgen, 30th of May 2015 by Evelyne Coussens, published 19 October 2015 in Theerkrant