A Solo for the Duo

CHOREOGRAPHY • What is shared virtual space? •

In November 2014 we embarked on a new work in two-women-machine-show. We started out by reading Michael Peterson’s book Straight White Male: Performance Art Monologues (1997), which introduced us to the history of stage monologues and its inherent privileges and conflicts. According to Peterson, the position of the monologist is historically claimed and performed by a white, heterosexual man. Facing this information we felt an evident invitation to intervene and investigate the solo format as a female duo. Since then we’ve understood, that in order to enter the 'monological territory' as a duo, it first and foremost requires a common understanding of the soloist position.

During our residency at Bakelit in Budapest we wanted to identify principles that define the solo format in the making of a monological concept, which would then be translated into a duo-context. Following this outline the question of how two individuals become one body also arose. Earlier in our work, we’ve experimented vastly with different transcending techniques through hypnosis, through different shamanic ceremonies and practises of meditation. In preparation for a coming practice we employed our experience with these deep and concentrated body states in search for tools with which we could become “one”.

The performance score that we ended up working with derived from a series of meditations through which we attempted to access one another in the realm of a shared virtual space. The idea was to investigate the experience of being "one". The score worked as a guideline for the physical manifestation of a series of rather abstract imagery that appeared during our common meditations and in these shared spaces. We believe our findings could be categorised as that which lies outside of the rational mind. It was in this shared abstraction and through the practice of writing a common performance score that paid homage to these found abstractions that we experienced a sense of an expanded "I". 

The choreographic and conceptual work was based on a shared process between two people. The choice to perform it solo produced a new experience that preserved and enhanced the physical memory of the other’s presence.
A Solo for the Duo / Performance Score #5 was performed simultaneously in Helsinki and Budapest on the 21st of September, 2016

THE SCORE • From the meditation on “Weightless Dancing Arms” (11.08.16) •

Wasp face
Fox, dark masks from my dream, rabbit, dog, bear
Dressed in suit (leftover from the “straight white male”? representing the monologist?)

Image: the purple space + buzzing sound
connecting with the other in the virtual space
movement/action not clear

Movement, direction, quality
Weightless in the center of a soap-bubble, I have no arms.
We’re standing close in a big space. Our shoulders are touching. Closed eyes. We dance our own individual dance - it’s precisely composed in its development. We are improvising following a prepared score of images and qualities. It’s not synchronised in movement - but you might sense a synchronisation in quality. It’s definitely belonging together, without reaching into each other. We can’t be disturbed. There’s no such thing - disturbance. The concentration is what it is - it’s undisturbable. The audience notice all shifts - from us to the space - because there is nothing else than us present.

21st of Sep. Bakelit. L1DanceFest, Budapest, HU


Idea & staging: Marie-Louise Stentebjerg, Ida-Elisabeth Larsen
Dramaturg: Zsófia Varga
Administration: Projektcentret

In residency: Bakelit
Support: The Danish Arts Foundation, L1DanceFest