Deborah Hay | Interview
Figure a Sea, choreography by Deborah Hay, is the last challenge of the Swedish company Cullberg Ballet. The new creation brings together 21 dancers in an artistic master meeting between some of the performing arts finest: the choreographer Deborah Hay and composer (music & sound score) Laurie Anderson.
After the world premiere at Dansens Hus, Stockholm, on 24 September 2015, Figure a Sea sees its Italian premiere at Bassano Operaestate festival on 23 August 2016.
Here a brief enlightening interview with the famous American choreographer Deborah Hay.
Figure a Sea seems the answer to the unlimited directions a body can take. How did the idea of this performance come out?
I worked with the Cullberg Ballet in a workshop setting 2 years prior to the commission. I was inspired by their technical strength, their personal vivacity, their bodily intelligence and wit, and the way in which they opened themselves to my approach to movement and performance.
You focus a lot on the performer, questioning his memories and engaging his limits. How do you deal with the audience, which importance does it have?
The audience has always figured strongly in my solo performance practice and I therefore ask the same of the dancers with whom I am working.
For Merce Cunningham dance was independent from the other arts. How have you interacted with the music composer Laurie Anderson and the light designer Minna Tikkainen?
Minna and I worked together for about 5 weeks during the learning of Figure a Sea. Laurie and I had little time working together but our mutual trust and admiration fed the collaboration.
What is dance for you today? How has it changed during your career?
I work like a dog at being a pig in how I practice dance. Over the course of my career I have become even more of a pig.
by Lara Crippa
Choreography and direction: Deborah Hay
Composer: Laurie Anderson
Set and lighting design: Minna Tiikkainen
Danced by: Ulrika Berg, Anand Bolder, Barry Brannum, Alexandra Campbell, Eleanor Campbell, Jac Carlsson, Eszter Czédulás, Agnieszka Sjökvist Dlugoszewska, Tilman O’Donnell, Samuel Draper, Unn Faleide, Anne Hiekkaranta, Katie Jacobson, Paolo Mangiola, Eva Mohn, Gesine Moog, Vera Nevanlinna, Anna Pehrsson, Adam Schütt, Daniel Sjökvist, Vincent Van der Plas, Tiran Willemse
Co-commissioners: Zodiak, Center for New Dance, Helsinki, Finland
Peak Performances @ Montclair State University, New Jersey, USA
Balletto di Roma, Rome, Italy
Centro per la Scena Contemporanea – Comune di Bassano del Grappa, Bassano del Grappa, Italy
CCAP, Stockholm, Sweden
Supported by the Italian Cultural Institute, Stockholm