Humans, as animals, show an amazing ability to accomodate to a wide range of situations and contexts, from cozy to awkward. That is the center point of The Adaptation, the choreography created by Björn Säfsten that will be represented next week at La Casa Encendida (Madrid) as part of the En Tránsito and Artistas en Residencia project, a joint plataform to promote young audiovisual artists (from the fields of Dance, Performance, Installation and Video) by providing them with economical support, a rehearsal space and stage to perform.
The Adaptation: Anja Arnquist and Sophie Augot on stage.
Already performed last summer at a mysterious and hidden place, an old church of Alcalá de Henares (a small universitary town outside Madrid), the team of The Adaptation returns to an Spanish stage, the patio of La Casa Encedida, after some successful performances at the Scandinavian countries. Björn Säfsten, a young and promising choreographer (Umea, Sweden, 1981), is the head of the team. He has created a very complete piece that not only has a interesting concept behind but that is also supported by a mixed group of artists from Sweden and Spain that contribute to the powerful final result. The dancers, Sophie Augot and Anja Arnquist, give strenght and yet lightness to the movements, often strong and struggling.
Björn Säfsten, the choreographer of the piece.
Jesús Franch, a Spanish architect living in Stockholm, was in charge of the scenography. For that, he added a moving layer made of bricks of expanded styrofoam as the only, but very significant, item on stage. He likes to describe it as a “dominant scenography” because it moves up and down and oscillates around the dancers, constraining their movements and creating the dynamics, often sharp and unpredictable. This layer is a central part of the piece, because it forces the dancers to “adapt” their routines to it and justifies the title of the project.
The dancers adapt their routines to the movement of the layer.
Pola.r0i.de composed the music, that melts with the movements, complementing the choreography in an absolutely coherent way. It also shifts from melodic to confusing, as the situation towards the scenography does, acompaning and rocking the dancers and helping the spectator to understand what he is seeing, becoming some kind of auditive narrator. It was the first time this musician from Madrid –already a familiar name in the electronic scene, having played at festivals like Sonar– received a commission like this. But he was excited by the challenge of approaching an unknow field for him. “Composing for The Adaptation was a unique experience. Working closely with Bjorn, Anja and Sophie during the process gave the piece a strong meaning. I first composed small pieces for the different parts of the choreography and then I focused on the structure. Every day, during rehearsals, I could see the sensibility of the dancers grasping the smallest details of the sounds and incorporating them to their movements, which was a very stimulating feeling for me as a musician”.
They all –both the choreographer and the dancers, as well as the musician and the scenographer– agree that the final result is strong and homogenic, and so the reviews of the shows have said so far. The Adaptation has actually marked the beginning of a productive collaboration for this ensemble, hopefully a proper company in a near future. They have already created another piece called I Say Tomato And You Don’t Even Talk About Vegetables and they have been selected for one the most important dance competitions in Sweden for the next September, hosted by the House of Dance, in which four choreographers will show their works and the winner will have access to a significant economical prize, a full evening production and at least seven shows at Swedish cities. They are excited and crossing their fingers.
But like all Art performances, specially concerning Dance, its definitely useless to try to put the feeling they produce into words. They are meant to be experienced live, and next week they will be two chances to do that. So, if you are in Madrid, don’t miss it.
Choreography: Björn Säfsten.
Scenography: Jesús Franch.
Dancers: Sophie Augot and Anja Arnquist.
Video: Alejo Maside.
Thursday 31st of May and Friday 1st of June. 22:00 p.m at
La Casa Encendida, Madrid.