The table turns
2016, Oktoberdans, BIT Teatergarasjen, Bergen, Norway
The Table Turns is about freedom and power on the dance floor, conveyed through four turntables and one dancer. Club dancing as we know it springs from an upheaval in dance culture in the 1960s and 70s, especially in the USA.
The civilized and controlled couple dance was replaced by unbridled moves in disused industrial premises and old attics; orchestras were replaced by a DJ, swing rhythms by beats. Suddenly people of different skin colour or the same sex could dance together. In this sense, club dancing and other liberation movements helped turn leisure time and lifestyle into arenas of political struggle. Letting loose in the crowd on the dance floor became a way to demonstrate your freedom. Yet this freedom is limited. The dancers can only express themselves within the limits set by a mysterious DJ figure. Behind the spontaneous community is an individual that controls the evening’s rises and falls in speed and intensity – the entire dramaturgy of the dance floor.
The Table Turns challenges this power dynamic. The dancer controls the rotation of the records and the position of the pin through movement sensors. When the dancer dances to the music, the music appears directly and mechanically through the dance. Paradoxically enough, this control leads to a loss of freedom, a radical narrowing of the possibilities of movement. As the dancer relies on dancing forth the music, the dance and music are simultaneously created and oppose each other. By reversing the connection between sound and movement the performance questions the relationship between individual and community, the power dynamic between dance and music, and the tension between dance as an art form and dance as a social activity.
Concept/dance: Karen Eide Bøen
Concept/electronics: Roar Sletteland
Dramaturge: Gulli Sekse
Scenography: Apichaya Wanthiang
Assistant Scenography: Markus Moestue
Light design: Leo Preston
Assistant Light design: Dominique Pollet
Producer: Gulli Kr. Sekse
Co-production: BIT Teatergarasjen
The exhibition was kindly supported by Norwegian Art Council, Bergen Kommune, and FFUK.
Photo credit: Apichaya Wanthiang