Is it you or is it me? An intriguing Trip for your mind at Skånes Dansteater

Skånes Dansteater is one of Europe’s best stages for contemporary dance in our view. Always innovative, always exploring and always reaching high into your feelings. With “Trip” that premiered only yesterday with three individual performances in the same show, this is actually a theme, to explore the relation between the dancer and the audience and the feelings that occur in them. As Åsa Söderberg, resigning (and by now legendary) Managing Director of Skånes Dansteater, concludes: “Dance takes place both through the performer and within the spectator – simultaneously“.  Or as Fernando Melo, choreographer of one of the performances of the evening, “The Longest Distance Between Two Points”, concludes: “According to surprising results discovered by neurologists in the field of mirror neurons, when we see a movement on stage, our brains create the same brain activity as the person doing the movement. In other words, watching the movement is not simply an emotional interpretation, but rather a physical and sensuous activity“.


all photos by: Timo Stengel

Have you ever watched a boxing match and found that the contestants are dancing around each other? Well obviously, you have. Choreographer Roser López Espinosa explores the feelings of a female boxer exercising and preparing for the fight, getting up in the ring and ultimately being defeated. As spectators we get to feel every single punch our boxer gets. In slow motion Sarah Bellugi Kima gives life to the feeling of building your strength, making yourself invincible, being scared, being fragile, taking a rough punch, getting up, persevering and maxing out your energy. A 25 minute drama only seen through her eyes, ending up with ringing ears as she wakes up from the final knock out. Not really aware of what actually transpired she looks at the world around her, feeling her hands aching, slowly taking in what happened, feeling her body and reminiscing the event. It takes time to wake up but when she ultimately does, she realizes – she is covered in blood, manifested in blood colored leafs slowly drizzling down over her body as the curtain falls.

photo by: Timo Stengel 

Roser López Espinosa and Sarah Bellugi Karma has done a marvelous job at visualizing the strength, the fragility, the pain, and the inner fight to not give in to defeat, to pain – but to persevere. The boxing match becomes a metaphor for what many of us can struggle with in our daily lives, not just in a boxing ring. How we get defeated but rise again, take another punch, go through another round and how it is not until afterwards we do realize – how much it has cost, how much it took to pull through. Cause when we are in the midst of it, we rise, we take the punch, we fight to achieve our goals. But deep down, we are all fragile, all in doubt at some point, and we all need time to lick our wounds, to recharge – and to rise again.

The Longest Distance Between Two Points

photo by: Timo Stengel

This beautifully choreographed performance explores the limitations around us, how we move within the borders set up for us, how they limit our movements, control us and how frustrating those borders can be. Our main character is subjected to people around him putting up fences, making his moves for him, touching him, angering him, making him feel seen, loved, energetic.

photo by: Timo Stengel

The people around him control him up until the point where he lets them go, finds love in his equal, a female mirror reflection of his own self.

photo by: Timo Stengel

They attract each other, move with each other in a mirroring dance where there is still a thin wall between them.  They are alike. Eventually, he lets her in, lets her touch him, caress him, follow his movements. He lets himself feel. But suddenly, he is as trapped by her, just as he was by the people around him. She dominates him even worse than they did.  Or.. Was it them? Is it her…? Or are they figures of his imagination? Is he in fact making this up in his own head, in his own feelings? Is it he himself who sets up these limitations? That forces him to stay within the fences? That holds himself down?

And to what purpose does he do this? To fit in? To be accepted? To be loved?

Fernando Melo has put together a performance where sound, music and scenography becomes one with the feelings portrayed by the dancers, a performance that asks these questions and makes you feel exactly what our main character feels. Elegant, beautiful and moving.

Snapshots of a Crowd

photo by: Timo Stengel

Lidia Wos, long time dancer at Skånes Dansteater has, since long, become a full fledged choreographer that keeps challenging herself to expand her universe and master all that builds up to a complete dance performance. In this particular piece she has left her old way of working, where music comes first and the idea corresponds to that music – in favor of a much more involving, collaborating development of an abstract idea.

Snapshots of a Crowd explores eight individuals, how they interact, relate and communicate with each other. As individuals, as a collective. As individuals we always mimic other people around us in our movements, our tone, the words we use. That’s all part of being human, to build up a fellowship with others where we find that we are alike.

photo by: Timo Stengel

Lidia Wos has mastered this exploration with perfection. She has developed the whole idea together with not only the dancers but with the composer Anders Ortman who has created the soundscape that is as important to this performance as the dance and choreography is. He has worked with the dancers to find their own sounds, to create sounds that emanate from their movements. Some of these sounds are incorporate into the music itself, some of them are made live by the dancers on stage – sounds that make it abundantly clear how we mirror each other, how we all always are individuals but how we all always also are part of a collective. You can feel and see the desire to fit in, to be like the others while also craving to break free, to be our own and to be unique. Lidia makes this all come to life in a very humorous, rhythmic way where she finds much of our “normal” non verbal communication  and displays it in way that is quite fun and bizarre but nevertheless true. A cough, a sneeze, a tap – all small or big movements and sounds that, in any meeting room, can be seen repeated around a table. We mirror those activities to show that we fit in, that we are like you, that you are like us. While constantly fighting to show – or hide – who we really are.

photo by: Timo Stengel

Skånes Dansteater is a fantastic stage and dance company. In “Trip” they have manifested what it is that attracts us to modern dance. The feelings. To come and see a performance without any need for prerequisite knowledge – just sit yourself down, watch, see, hear and – feel. It’s a truly liberating art form where all things work together to communicate a feeling . Where the story you see might differ from what someone else sees, might differ from what the choreographer and the dancers thought to display – but where what you see and feel is always correct. It’s your experience and it happened within you. And that the limitations for what you feel and perceive – are yours. So let yourself go. Let yourself feel.

Thank you Åsa

This evening also marked the end of an era as it was the last premiere for Åsa Söderberg as Managing Director. What a run she has had for the last 12 years, with magic performances like The Feeling of Going, monumental performances like Dockplats, the dark science fiction-like Black Silk and many many many more. Thank you Åsa for being that strong, fierce persevering woman who has gotten the job done and made your team be able to harvest so many successes. We’re sure you’ve had your doubts and taken a few punches along the way, but you have always risen and stood the champion – with your team, collectively.



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