Preview: Rewriting at Sadler’s Wells

Rewriting Jonathan Burrows at Sadlers Wells
Rewriting Jonathan Burrows at Sadlers Wells

What does the practice of choreography consist of? In Rewriting, Jonathan Burrows attempts to map out the expanded territory called choreography, in a performance both hesitant and exuberant. Best known for his thought-provoking appearances with long-time collaborator Matteo Fargion, the acclaimed British artist returns to Sadler’s Wells with his first full length solo.

Rewriting collates salvaged material from an unseen performance, staged on a table-top alongside 108 questions and statements from Burrows’ A Choreographers’ Handbook (2010). Part magic trick, part meditation, this is a masterful work by a great mind and performer. Rewriting unpicks what has been written and what is being seen to consider new ways to define what choreography might be.

Rewriting premiered in 2019 as part of the Stamsund International Festival in Norway and in addition to the run at Sadler’s Wells the piece has also been invited to Hebden Bridge Arts Festival, Impulstanz Vienna, Kaaitheater Brussels, Pact Zollverein Essen, Stavanger Festival and Xing Bologna.

Jonathan Burrows danced for 13 years with the Royal Ballet, during which time he also performed extensively for the experimental choreographer Rosemary Butcher. He has since created an internationally renowned body of work including Stoics (1992), The Stop Quartet (1996) and Weak Dance Strong Questions (with Jan Ritsema 2001), as well as his long series of collaborations with composer Matteo Fargion, and in particular Both Sitting Duet (2002), The Quiet Dance (2005), Speaking Dance (2006), Cheap Lecture (2009), The Cow Piece (2009) and Body Not Fit For Purpose (2014). Burrows and Fargion are co-produced by PACT Zollverein Essen, Sadler’s Wells Theatre London and BIT Teatergarasjen Bergen. Burrows is a founder visiting member of faculty at P.A.R.T.S, the school of Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker in Brussels and has been Guest Professor at universities in Berlin, Gent, Giessen, Hamburg and London. His A Choreographer’s Handbook has so far sold 15,000 copies worldwide and been translated into Bulgarian, German, French and Slovenian, with a Chinese translation in preparation. He is currently a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Dance Research, Coventry University.

Burrows’ previous work at Sadler’s Wells has included the 2016 online project 52 Portraits which has attracted an online audience of 58,000 people, and directing Sadler’s Wells Summer University programme (2011-2018). Burrows’ most recently presented Let us stop this mad rush towards the end, an acclaimed commission for the December 2019 London Festival of Contemporary Music created in collaboration with composer Matteo Fargion, dancer Claire Godsmark and singer Francesca Fargion. Jonathan, Matteo and Francesca will also tour Music For Lectures, an ongoing series which invites a talk accompanied by a rock band. Editions so far include Music For Lectures/Every word was once an animal with Mette Edvardsen, which will be performed in London on February 9th as part of Fest en Fest, and Music For Lectures/She Dancing with Katye Coe, which opened the 2019 Nottdance Festival.

Rewriting  is at Sadler’s Wells 2nd and 3rd April 2020.

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