The Listeners

Alma Söderberg

The future collaborations between Cullberg and Swedish choreographer Alma Söderberg will be a new adventure as Söderberg, after gathering experience in creating solos for herself and a for a small number of dancers, will make her first big scale creations.

In her first work for the company, The Listeners, she will continue her research on the relationship between dance and music. At the base of every creation are three building principles: rhythm, voice and movement, all simultaneously at work and a continuous repetition of the practice. Rhythm is not only the motor of her work but also the subject of her artistic research. Sound and movement are woven together in a composition that is rich in layers of perception. The Listeners will premiere at Norrlandsoperan in Umeå, in January 2020.

In The Listeners Alma Söderberg will work with eight dancers in Cullberg. Using voice, rhythm and movement they will explore the relation between listening and moving. In a performance that could be a concert in the sense that it mainly invokes listening, the space and the bodies are played as instruments. The dance becomes a tool to describe what one hears, and the sounding becomes a tool to describe what one sees. Sounds and movements create knots and entanglements that feedback off each other and that produces a situation where the skill of paying attention is practiced on all sides, on that of the performer-listener and on that of the audience-listener. In that sense the title does not only refer to the performers but also to the audience. The role of the performer is to notice and let notice, the skill is to listen and describe.

“One of the reasons I want to work with Cullberg is the craft and skills of the dancers”, says Alma Söderberg.

A part from this there will be a polyrhythmic composition that will add yet another layer to the practice of listening that audience and performer are sharing. This composition will present alternatives of what to hear, each single listener might hear different things as the layers of rhythm give options of what to focus on. If one pays attention to one sound or movement it might sound or look in a certain way, but as one shifts focus to something else that was already there, the gravity shifts, the beat stumbles or the movement take on another quality. A tapestry of movements and sounds create a field of visual and aural input that one can travel within through nothing more than perception.

Choreography Alma Söderberg
Music Dehendrik Lechat Willekens
Costume design Behnaz Aram
Lighting design Pol Matthé
Dramaturge Igor Dobricic
Artistic advice Anja Röttgerkamp
Rehearsal director Thomas Zamolo
Duration: approx. 60 minutes
With 8-9 dancers.
World premiere 24 January, 2020, Norrlandsoperan Umeå, Sweden.
A co-production with Norrlandsoperan, Umeå, PACT Zollverein, Essen and Hellerau, Dresden.