Photo Ursula Kaufmann

Boris Charmatz: A Dancer’s Day

Kaapeliaukio 3, 00180 Helsinki
Tanssin talo - Dance House Helsinki

A Dancer’s Day includes not only a performance – three in fact – but also the time before and the party afterwards.

A Dancer’s Day includes not only a performance – three in fact – but also the time before and the party afterwards. As the name suggests, it’s a dancer’s day, but one in which attendees are invited to participate. Those who arrive early can practise the moves with the dancers, warm up their bodies and attend a workshop led by renowned choreographer Boris Charmatz to discover the dancer in themselves.

A dancer’s day also includes refuelling and rest, but even these activities are carried out collectively, as one mega-body. Participants can spread their picnic lunches on a blanket, pull their blankets together and share their food – all this while a naked dancer performs the choreographer Tino Sehgal’s piece (untitled). The work has also been called a “museum of dance”, as the dancer traces movements, steps and recognisable dance styles through a thousand years of history. The space and people are what make the work unique: it is always shaped in the present. People can be lulled into a nap after (untitled) by the snoring of someone sitting next to them, or perhaps by the dancer’s song or the hum of their own bodies. 

The six-hour day will also feature the dancers’ performance of 10000 gestures. Choreographer Charmatz, who envisioned the work and day’s programme, has often questioned performance practices during his career. Those who attend the performance become participants, dancers and now spectators, before whom the dancers make 10,000 moves without repeating a single one. The audience now contain the movements within their own bodies, having participated in the warm-up and workshop.

The movement will continue through the rest of the evening. A DJ will invite all bodies to the floor to move to the pumping rhythm of techno – sweating as they perform their newly-learned moves or abandon them for others entirely. The movements and time will gradually slow on the dance floor. The techno party will be followed by a piece for two dancers, étrangler le temps, which consists of slow, elongated movements, leading the audience to the night and the end of A Dancer’s Day.