Björn Säfsten / I Själva Verket

An autobiographical and arbitrary all-knowing performance about something everybody does but no one knows what it is: dance!

The title “I själva verket” could in Swedish be read in two ways within this context. As a saying it would translate to “In fact”, but it can also be understood as “In the actual piece”. Swedes also use it as an expression saying ”I praktiken” meaning literally ”In the practice” saying “in the real world” or “In the actual”. The title contains and projects the ambition with this performance. It comes from a strive of wanting to answer and open up conversations that Säfsten has had the last 8 years with audience members regarding contemporary dance, theories of dance practices and why some work might look or be read in a certain way.

Säfsten has developed numeros formats for conversations, workshops and performance-lecture to find an adequate meeting ground with a general audience. During the last 8 years he has continually toured around Sweden with this type of projects. An experience that has made him notice patterns in what type of questions and worries that puzzles the audience when it comes to contemporary dance. The questions vary but a number of themes tends to come back. In “I själva verket” he attempts to talk and dance, sometimes simultaneously, to show, visualise, explain, question and juggle the complicated issues at hand.

Where does the movements in contemporary dance come from, how can they be interpreted and is there a right way to understand dance? Is dancing a sort of sign language, where movements have certain meaning? It often seems rather self-centered? And how can I relate the dance to the outside world, the artist or my own history?

It’s of course impossible to answer all questions or to give a certain, fully or even a broad understanding of a whole artfield within an hour, but maybe it’s possible to give a little insight to some questions that echo in the audience. The piece is not attempting to give clear or easy answers; it’s rather feeding of the complications of the themes being brought up. Some answers will be spoken, others will be danced, some will be questioned, others left hanging, but many will be touched and attempted. Hopefully the audience will be stimulated in both mind and body and leave the theater with helpful thoughts to continue exploring the vast and interesting field called contemporary dance.

Choreography: Björn Säfsten and Anja Arnquist
Performer: Björn Säfsten
Rehearsal director: Anja Arnquist
Set designer: Joakim Nyström
Lighting designer: Anton Andersson
Sound designer: Hans Appelqvist
Dramaturge: Gunilla Heilborn
Artistic expert in voguing: Fredrik Quiñones
Conversation partner during the process: Chrysa Parkinson
Extra thank you to: Aviance and Frida Selander

Production Säfsten Produktion, Nordberg Movement and Riksteatern. Co-production between Säfsten Produktion and Riksteatern