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Ian Kaler and Planningtorock create for Cullbergbaletten

Every dancer in Cullbergbaletten has their own story, and the company connects them. Who are the people in the group, and how do they construct this group? Navigating and shifting through different situations, who are they in private and how does that shape their stage characters?

“I am very interested in narrative, how real and personal stories are contained in our bodies, and can be animated through movement, amplified in different readings through music, and bring up memories and associations in relationship to the space we’re in. ON THE CUSP is part of a choreographic series exploring portraits – the title describes a situation at the tipping point, the moment before something is changing, in a state of becoming. I want to create portraits of each dancer that overlap the biographical with the fantastic or imagined or desired, thus building characters that are specific to each of them and constructed at the same time. Both music and performance play with a range of emotional intensities as layers on top of the movement practice”, says choreographer Ian Kaler.

Ian Kaler (AT/DE)
Ian Kaler studied Transmedial Art at the University of Applied Arts, Vienna and graduated from the BA Pilotprogram Contemporary Dance, Context, Choreography at the Inter-University Center for Dance, the University of the Arts, Berlin. Since 2010 he develops his physical and creative practice in choreographic series in exchange with different artists through different (visual) media. From 2015 – 2018 Kaler developed the choreographic series o.T. (German acronym for “untitled”) in close collaboration with musician Planningtorock and different guests. o.T. contains three pieces and one practice format up to date. o.T. | RAW PRACTICE was presented at LABO Stockholm, curated by Cullbergbaletten, in April 2018. LIVFE – the first part of a new series of works that combine movement with (spoken) language, live music and live video premiered at Akademietheater in the frame of ImPulsTanz Vienna International Dance Festival in August 2017 and was presented in a newly edited version at HAU1 in Berlin in April 2018. Ian Kaler is rehearsing with Planningtorock on their multimedia musical concert performance Power House which will premiere at Berghain in Berlin in January 2019. Ian Kaler develops workshops as research formats analog to his choreographic series, so far for DOCH School for Dance and Circus Stockholm, ImPulsTanz Vienna International Dance Festival, Tanzquartier Wien as well as for the Escuela Profesional de Danza in Mazatlán and the University of Sonora in Mexico. Besides giving workshops for professional dancers with mixed abilities he has also transmitted his practice in workshops for practitioners from backgrounds other than dance.

“We are honored and delighted that Ian Kaler accepted to create his first company piece for Cullbergbaletten. Today, Ian Kaler belongs to a leading group of artists of his generation in Europe but his work has been fascinating for me since I saw the queer solo he made as a student in Berlin in 2010, Save a horse, ride a cowboy. His artistic proposals are original, take risks and have a unique, specific style. Ian Kaler is rooted in the 21st century and works from his socio-politically context, defining and redefining his style, aesthetics and working methods in a direct relation to what is going on in the here and now. His works are immersive, accessible and thought-provoking”, says Cullbergbaletten’s artistic director Gabriel Smeets.

With ON THE CUSP, Cullbergbaletten follows up on the last years’ direction with close collaborations between choreographers and musicians. Jam Rostron/Planningtorock creates the music, composed for electronic brass instrumentation.

“For ON THE CUSP I decided to work solely with brass instruments because brass has this unique quality to be both humorous and dramatic at the same time. The ‘film like’ soundtrack I’m composing will shift between bombastic dance tracks filled with attitude and a sense of urgency, to symphonic narratives that swell with emotion and stories”, says Jam Rostron/Planningtorock

Jam Rostron/Planningtorock
Planningtorock, aka Jam Rostron, is a Bolton-born Berlin-based singer-songwriter, composer, producer and director with three critically acclaimed studio albums of left-field dance to their name, not to mention various collaborations, operas, film scores and remixes. A self-taught, non-binary, working-class musician, they’ve spent a decade plus queering sound and vision as Planningtorock. Planningtorock debuted in the Noughties with 2006’s Have It All [Chicks On speed], finding artistic community among fellow DIY outliers and gender outlaws such as Peaches and The Knife. Their sound – tense, spellbinding dance music with classical flourishes, unexpected brass and pitched-down vocals that have become Planningotorock’s signature – have earned them a dedicated following. W, Planningtorock’s critically acclaimed 2011 debut on DFA, revealed a visionary and politicized producer. It offered up deeply queered art-pop – 2014’s All Love’s Legal (“a masterclass in left-of-centre dance music”, Mixmag), released on Rostron’s own imprint Human Level with banner-ready slogans like Patriarchy Over And Out, Let’s Talk About Gender Baby, revealed their ability to combine pop-oriented music with a political message.

ON THE CUSP credits
Choreographic framing and direction: Ian Kaler
Music: Jam Rostron/Planningtorock
Set design: Stephanie Rauch
Lighting design and video: Imogen Heath
Costume design and movement input/choreographic assistance: Stéphane Peeps/ FAAM Studio
Created together with the dancers of Cullbergbaletten
World Premiere at Tanzquartier, Vienna, 10 January 2019
Sweden premiere NorrlandsOperan, Umeå, 30 January 2019

Tour 2019
Vienna, Tanzquartier 10-12 January
Umeå, NorrlandsOperan 30 January
Essen, PACT Zollverein 8-9 February
Stockholm, Dansens Hus 21-22 February
More dates are added continuously.

A co-production between Cullbergbaletten, Tanzquartier Vienna, NorrlandsOperan Umeå and PACT Zollverein Essen. Ian Kaler is supported by Wien Kultur.

Cullbergbaletten is the leading repertoire company for contemporary dance in Sweden. The company is an important contributor to the international presentation of dance and choreography with tours all over the world. Cullbergbaletten works with a range of international choreographers and artists. The company currently has 16 dancers from nearly as many countries, and guest dancers are continuously invited to various projects. Since its inception the individual quality of each dancer has been Cullbergbaletten’s defining characteristic. By collaborating with choreographers and directors who are rooted in the contemporary field, Cullbergbaletten contributes strongly to the development of performing arts and dance as an art form. Cullbergbaletten’s activities encompass different projects and productions including workshops, conferences, seminars, and lectures. The directors are Gabriel Smeets and Stina Dahlström. Cullbergbaletten was founded in 1967 by Birgit Cullberg under the auspices of Riksteatern, the Swedish National Touring Theatre, of which it is still part.