For the season 2008-2009, the Theatre School of Amsterdam / Amsterdam Art Academy invited choreographer Steve Paxton for an Artist in Residence with the choreography students of the SNDO program. Paxton wanted to rework de piece Ave Nue that he had created in 1985.
The production took place in an industrial space (the old baggage-sorting hall of the decommissioned cruise terminal KNSM), certain challenges consisted of:
- managing a technical co-direction and conceiving a lighting plan for a long, narrow space in which the audience is divided into two groups facing each other with the performers dancing in the middle (a “profile stage” setup);
- designing and constructing the rostras (rolling bleachers) to be able to move the audience from the centre of the space to its extremities while remaining seated;
- separate the hall in multiple spaces for the production: the main performance space, a tech booth that is invisible to the eye despite being in sight of the audience, a reception space for the audience that could be used as a kitchen during the creation week, a dressing room for the performers, manipulable circulation areas;
- lighting the space in sections;
- improvise every performance with the lighting to interact with the dancers.
More on Ave Nue
Originally performed in 1985 in an abandoned army facility in Brussels, the piece was a research into the perception of space, dimensions and time through light.
The performance Ave Nue is made up out of [the] fragments of movement combined with ad hoc light and sound improvisation. What a dancer does where depends on where he is at that moment. What light is on or off depends on where the dancers are. [..] The space is emphasized by the lighting [..] The lighting not only determines what you can see, but also how you see it. It prescribes your ideas about the relation between dancers, the colour and the mood of the space, and the time of the day.
Jochem Naafs, Playful Performance
Original idea and choreography: Steve Paxton.
Executive production managers: Odin Heyligen, Jetske Nolten.
Technical direction: Jurjen Barel, Merijn Versnel.
Lights: Jurjen Barel.
Sound: Merijn Versnel.
Technical consultants: Jan Reyckaert, Paul Beuk.
Dramaturgy: Myriam van Imschoot.
Interpreters: Alma Soderberg, Daniel Almgren Recen, Emma Wilson, Pablo Fontdevila, Rodrigo Sobarzo, Roger Sala Reijner, Stephanie Lühn, Teilo Troncy, Tomislav Feller, Yurie Umamoto.
…and various other workshop participants, mentors and people documenting.