During spring of 2020, the world was paralysed by the corona pandemic and theatres all over the world were forced to close. Performances were cancelled and ballet companies worldwide were faced with a dilemma. No more audience and challenges were abundant. What could be done?
At the end of May, choreographer Alexander Ekman was contracted by the Royal Swedish Ballet to develop a corona-adapted piece for the dancers. During the spring, Ekman explored – together with the dancers – a new way to experience ballet and the theatre during the pandemic.
“When I arrived at the opera house in the middle of the pandemic in June, the auditorium was empty. An idea came to me, I wanted to create a corona-adapted, on-going piece for the stage – a piece that could change every day. I called it SHIFT. I wanted the auditorium to be open and give the audience the opportunity to choose how long they wanted to stay and experience the piece. When you do not have fixed beginning or end, you experience time and art differently. But, unfortunately, it was not possible to safely implement the idea during this pandemic. Still, this process led to a material created in the midst of these two weeks during the pandemic, when the whole world stood still.”
The evening also includes Ekman’s internationally renowned CACTI (2010), that has not previously been staged in Sweden.
“This work is about how we observe art and how we often feel the need to analyze and ‘understand’ art. I believe that there is no right way and that everyone can interpret and experience art the way they want. CACTI was created during a period of my life where I was very confused and upset every time someone would write about my work.”
A string quartet from the Royal Swedish Orchestra accompanies the dancers on stage.
Ekman, who has previoulsy created Tyll, Midsummer Night’s Dream and recently Escapist for the Royal Swedish Ballet, has over the last few years been firmly established on the international dance scene with new creations such as Play for the Paris Opera, Cow at the Semperoper Dresden and A Swan Lakeat the Norwegian National Ballet.
THE PERFORMANCE IS PRODUCED WITH THE SUPPORT OF THE BARBRO OSHER PRO SUECIA FOUNDATION.