Maria Hassabi [US]



03.05 – 05.05.2014

Rough and fragile

For her third production at the Kaaitheater, Maria Hassabi is creating a piece for the larger stage. Five solos develop simultaneously on stage. Hassabi stretches the time of the movements so much that each body becomes a living sculpture.  

PREMIERE – as the title indicates – examines the significance of a first performance: the transition from private to public, from fragile to prestigious, from ‘process’ to ‘product’. For Hassabi, every performance is like a first performance: she physically challenges the dancers to such an extent that a rough, non-theatrical, fragile form emerges. This is accentuated further by the use of light. Hassabi’s work is always an installation of bodies, sound and light as well as a dance piece. In this performance light is as important a ‘body’ as the dancers. The light sometimes becomes blinding, for the performers too, it heats up the theatre, becomes almost unbearable and then is briefly extinguished and comes to rest.  

PREMIERE is a premiere in the sense that the (first) contact with the audience attempts to be a ‘physical’ contact, where both the performers and the audience really feel the theatrical elements because of the way they are stretched out. As The Village Voice wrote about Hassabi’s oeuvre: ‘Gazing at this exquisitely designed living sculpture, you also feel your own body straining with Hassabi, and in the slow friction between these two views, mysterious emotions ignite.’ – Deborah Jowitt, The Village Voice

• The New York-Cypriot dancer and choreographer Maria Hassabi has already appeared at the Kaaitheater with SoloShow and Counter-relief (Kaai) – 2013. She took part in the 2013 Venice Biennale (Cyprus Pavilion). PREMIERE premiered at the Performa Festival in New York.

'Hassabi is a master of slowness and stillness - her pieces are like art installations brought to life by dancers.'  - Arts Journal

with Andros-Zins Browne, Hristoula Harakas, Paige Martin, Robert Steijn & Maria Hassabi, sound-designer Alex Waterman and visual artist/dramaturg Scott Lyall | co-production The Kitchen and Performa 13 in New York City; also co-produced by Kunstenfestivaldesarts (Brussels), Kaaitheater (Brussels), steirischer herbst (Graz) and Dance4 (Nottingham) | funding from The MAP Fund, a program of Creative Capital, Jerome Foundation, LMCC’s Extended Life program | public funds from the Manhattan Community Arts Fund | supported by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs; administered by Lower Manhattan Cultural Council