BJÖRN SÄFSTEN

In the work and practice of choreographer Björn Säfsten, the body and the mind and its connected actions are scrutinized, dissected and exposed. The focus is often to research how different methods of thinking patterns can alter the way we move. The choreography at hand is seen as a result of a dialog between each performers movement heritage and the choreographic proposition. The physical practice exposes images that result from a certain physical action, often attempting to transform it´s possible representations. The work takes visual twists and turns, often moulding itself while being performed, establishing itself anew each time for each audience encounter. We aim to expose physical dilemmas, deliberately creating situations where the performer’s thoughts are revealed, opened up to the viewer. The work fools around with the notion of language – striving to confuse and divert the viewer from the regularity of bodily reading. The body is seen as a multiplex of wills, desires and directions, moving away from the notion of a bodily and mental entity. The exact texture of the singular movement stands at the core of the work.

The operations of Säfsten Produktion is 2018 made possible with generous support by the Swedish Arts Council, Stockholms Stad and the Swedish Arts Grants Committee.

I SJÄLVA VERKET

An autobiographical and arbitrary all-knowing performance about something everybody does but no one knows what it is: dance!

The title “I själva verket” could in Swedish be read in two ways within this context. As a saying it would translate to “In fact”, but it can also be understood as “In the actual piece”. Swedes also use it as an expression saying ”I praktiken” meaning literally ”In the practice” saying “in the real world” or “In the actual”. The title contains and projects the ambition with this performance. It comes from a strive of wanting to answer and open up conversations that Säfsten has had the last 8 years with audience members regarding contemporary dance, theories of dance practices and why some work might look or be read in a certain way.

Säfsten has developed numeros formats for conversations, workshops and performance-lecture to find an adequate meeting ground with a general audience. During the last 8 years he has continually toured around Sweden with this type of projects. An experience that has made him notice patterns in what type of questions and worries that puzzles the audience when it comes to contemporary dance. The questions vary but a number of themes tends to come back. In “I själva verket” he attempts to talk and dance, sometimes simultaneously, to show, visualise, explain, question and juggle the complicated issues at hand.

Where does the movements in contemporary dance come from, how can they be interpreted and is there a right way to understand dance? Is dancing a sort of sign language, where movements have certain meaning? It often seems rather self-centered? And how can I relate the dance to the outside world, the artist or my own history?

It’s of course impossible to answer all questions or to give a certain, fully or even a broad understanding of a whole artfield within an hour, but maybe it’s possible to give a little insight to some questions that echo in the audience. The piece is not attempting to give clear or easy answers; it’s rather feeding of the complications of the themes being brought up. Some answers will be spoken, others will be danced, some will be questioned, others left hanging, but many will be touched and attempted. Hopefully the audience will be stimulated in both mind and body and leave the theater with helpful thoughts to continue exploring the vast and interesting field called contemporary dance.

Production Säfsten Produktion, Nordberg Movement and Riksteatern. Co-production between Säfsten Produktion and Riksteatern

Choreography: Björn Säfsten and Anja Arnquist, Performer: Björn Säfsten, Rehearsal director: Anja Arnquist, Set designer: Joakim Nyström, Lighting designer: Anton Andersson, Sound designer: Hans Appelqvist, Dramaturge: Gunilla Heilborn, Artistic expert in voguing: Fredrik Quiñones, Conversation partner during the process: Chrysa Parkinson, Extra thank you to: Aviance and Frida Selander

Production Säfsten Produktion, Nordberg Movement and Riksteatern. Co-production between Säfsten Produktion and Riksteatern

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LOST NIGHT

In an abstract existence, three individuals come together in an attempt to talk and share a listening coexistence. They form a choir, a flock and at the same time are three different people who talk about what happened before. Together they process a multitude of emotions and attempt in different ways to categorise their impressions, actions and thoughts. Some emotions become embodied and wander away, others enable a physical space to serve as an outlet.

In Lost Night Björn Säfsten and dancers Sophie Augot, Alexander Gottfarb and Marianne Kjaersund attempt to approach the feeling of loss. It´s a puzzle of fictional situations whose building blocks process what it means to lose something or someone. In the performance, the dancers use words, sound, song and movement to take in and sing out the choreography. Composer Hans Appelkvist has created soundscapes, compositions and songs together with the dancers who perform them.

Idea and choreography: Björn Säfsten in close collaboration with participating performers. Dancers: Sophie Augot, Alexander Gottfarb, Marianne Kjaersund Music: Hans Appelqvist Light design: Susanna Hedin Production manager: Anja Arnquist Production: Säfsten Produktion and Nordberg Movement Made possible with support by the Swedish Arts Council, The Swedish Arts Grants Committee, Stockholms Stad. Residencies at The Swedish Arts Council and Arbeitsplatz Wien.

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