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My body will not be archived: on Ulf Gadd and his work

Varmt välkommen till en presentation av konstnärligt arbete från Masterprogrammet nya performativa praktiker.

Av Anna Westberg

A performance lecture and a ritual of remembering

Being a dancer is being a bridge. Dancers bridge time and space, and the choreographic intention to an audience. In my practice I build a memory bridge for a person who meant a lot to me as a young dance student, and to Swedish culture in general in the 70s and 80s. He died in 2008. Today his name is seldom mentioned. His name is Ulf Gadd.

Together with set designer Svenerik Goude he created a series of dance theatre works that formed a legendary period in Swedish dance history. They worked within the traditional apparatus of a ballet institution, Stora Teatern, or “Storan”, in Gothenburg, and they expanded the understanding of the art form and its relevance at the time.

My method consists of conversations with people who knew and worked with him. I glean from archives, read articles and watch the little video documentation that is preserved. In the dance studio I practice listening through dancing to musical scores from some of Gadd’s works. I dig through my embodied, sedimented dances in order to understand what Ulf Gadd signifies for me today. My presentation takes on the format of a performance lecture. It is hosted by Dansmuseet (the Museum of Dance in Stockholm), with its collection of dance related objects, many of them with connotations to Ulf Gadd and his works.

In addition, I create a booklet about him in which the design mirrors the programs from the theatre house he worked in. In doing this, I align myself with Ulf Gadd’s educational mission and his belief in the role of culture in building a good society for all. I present a piece of Swedish dance history unrightfully forgotten.

I also align myself with my understanding of the dancer being a bridge.

Anna Westberg


PROGRAM NPP:s presentationsveckor 9-19 maj 2019