Dansportalen

Artiklar från 2008 – till idag

Artiklar från 2008 – till idag

Kuckel Foto Mats Bäcker

" I am inspired by different styles of dance and I put no limitations or judgments on what kind of dance sources that inspired". Photo Mats Bäcker

29 feb
2020

Alexander Ekman, highly topical choreographer

Well renowned choreographer Alexander Ekman, 36, has a voluminous luggage of successes in his baggage. When you open the case, they fly out of it. Eskapist which opened in the spring 2019 at the Stockholm Opera was a great success. The piece was broadcasted recently in Swedish television.

Now – less than a year after his great success with Eskapist Alexander has presented a new performance called Kuckel (Clucking), at the small Orion Theater in the southern part of central Stockholm. Alexander Ekman talks to Dansportalen a few days before the premiere of Kuckel.

Alexander Ekman Tobias Regell

Alexander Ekman. Photo Tobias Regell

So, what is “Kuckel”?

I wanted to work at the Orion theatre to be able to make some experiments with thoughts that I have had for some time. Looking for something new in my art. It contains six dancers, soloists if you like, all very strong characters.

We work intensely with topics like how we manipulate each other – how we influence each other. How six persons with different goals, different targets, how things can develop in an unexpected direction.

When we speak, the work is in the middle of the creative process and Alexander is not ready to say where it will land.

One can recognize some attraction for “show”, in your performances. Do you agree?

The answer is another question, as very often with Alexander Ekman, he likes to question things. He asks himself how we define what “show” is, of course a relevant objection. He says:

To me show means something that makes you absorbed, to be present within the performance, drawing your attention, entertaining.

Scenic effects another thing I am curious about. Your works have used water, hay,balls and more. Is there a limit? He answers with another question:

What is an “effect”.? My pieces have contained all these elements, but I see it as parts from the nature! It is my job as an artist to work without limits! Of course, it depends on what you want to express.I do believe that it's in the theatre you have the opportunity to see the unexpected.

Kuckel Mats Bäcker

From left: Alexander Ekman, Yvan Auzely, Oscar Salomonsson, Matteo Carvone, Jesse Kvarsky and Charlotta Öfverholm. Photo Mats Bäcker

Naturally, it is your vision and your wish. But it can be a challenge for the theatres to stretch their resources with difficult technical demands? Do you have to compromise?

Yes, that's a part to be creative. I sometimes come up with ideas that are over the top. But I would not be creative if I where not able to fit in my ideas to the circumstances that I have.

Do you ever think about to sell well, or being “spectacular”? Again, I understand my question feeds another.

Alexander answers that it is really everyone’s own opinion about what is being spectacular really means. About selling well – he really does not want to answer that question.

Can you mention some role models, persons or choreographers that you really appreciate?

Yes, Pina Bausch, Mahatma Gandhi, William Forsythe, Hans Rosling and Greta Thunberg are people I admire!

Kuckel Foto Mats Bäcker

Matteo Carvone and Charlotta Öfverholm. Photo Mats Bäcker

I see a lot of funny or enjoyable ingredients in your ballets. How important is humour to you?

Very, very important. Every year, I have a new word for myself; for this year 2020 it is HUMOR! And that is also a question of definition!

Interesting is that humor is one of the most difficult things you can do. It is such a sensitive thing to work with. It can be misunderstood, misconduct, it can have the wrong target and you need to be careful with how you use it. But it's really important for sure.

In the works I have seen, I personally appreciate your mix of classical technique with your own movements. It makes a link of tradition into contemporary if you like the expression. Are you grateful for your background and training with different techniques?

I am a trained classical dancer, I understand that language and I also understand that environment. I guess I have an eye for how to bring a classical trained dancer in to a more contemporary mode. I am inspired by different styles of dance and I put no limitations or judgments on what kind of dance sources that inspire me.

Kuckel Foto Mats Bäcker

Jesse Kvarsky and Matteo Carvone. Photo Mats Bäcker

You have received many prices throughout the years, we can see The Cullberg scholarship, the Medea prize, SVD:s (a Swedish major newspaper) Opera prize, and the Ganneviks prize. What is your reaction to getting all these awards?

It is beautiful that we give prices to each other! It gives me energy to continue my development. I am so happy and grateful for the appreciation and push the prices give me, and I really see them as encouragement. You are in an exposed position as an artist, undisclosed, left to the audience’s opinion.

Which are the differences in staging a work in foreign countries (outside Sweden) ?

I feel the cultural differences are the same as the ones you can see in each country you visit. One thing is that the dance world is really international.

Which do you think is the best or most interesting of all the works you have done? Upcoming “Kuckel” is said to be the 50:th work you have done!

Alexander chooses to mention “Cacti” from 2010, and he describes that work as a good handicraft, with nice rhythms. Also: “Play” at the Paris Opera Garnier 2017, “Eskapist” at the Stockholm Opera from spring 2019.

These works have a very clear story in which I have worked with great help from Carina Nildalen who has helped me to find the concepts. Our collaboration has helped me to let my creativity flow freely, Alexander explains.

Kuckel Foto Mats Bäcker

Matteo Carvone. Photo Mats Bäcker

How do you finance your works?

I have worked with so many international companies and have been asked to implement my artistic works, and I have always been paid as commissioned by them. That is the easy answer.

* * *

But there are different stories. This year Alexander Ekman recently received a scholarship from Micael Bindefelds Foundation to the memory of the holocaust. A generous attribution that will finance and help to create a new work called “Vanmakt” [Impotence].

Marie Louise Waldenström
Stockholm

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