Ula Sickle (CA/PL) is a choreographer and performer, living and working in Brussels, Belgium. From a background in contemporary dance, she works across disciplines, and often in collaboration with artists from other domains such as the visual arts, contemporary music or architecture. While her work takes many forms, from film to installation to live performance, it centers on a choreographic approach to movement and a work on perception and reception, specific to the live arts.
Ula’s interest in looking for an alternative to the cannon of contemporary dance, has led her to seek out performers who embody other movement histories. The solos Solid Gold (2010) & Jolie (2011) as well as the group performance Kinshasa Electric (2014) which premiered at Kunstenfestivaldesarts, are all collaborations with performers from Kinshasa (DR Congo). Extreme Tension (2012) is a powerful solo for a self-taught dancer in her 60’s, and Prelude (2014) is a solo for a female vocalist. Frequently centered around strong performers, Ula searches for forms of choreographic writing, where the cultural coding and political power of ‘popular’ dancing can be revealed or where the musicality and materiality of the body itself can take center stage.
Born in Toronto in 1978, she studied Art History & Semiotics at the University of Toronto and Performance Studies at Paris VIII, before attending P.A.R.T.S. Performing Arts Research and Training Studios in Brussels. Her theoretical background informs her working process, however she searches for an approach that is both conceptually grounded and physically curious. From 2008-2010 Ula pursued her interest in the visual arts and film, studying at Le Fresnoy, a post-graduate media program in the North of France, where she also met sound artist Yann Leguay, a frequent collaborator. The role of sound is very central, as well as the use of light, not as framing devices but as active agents in the choreographic process. The video works Looping the Loop (2009) and Atomic 5.1 (2010), as well as the filmic dance pieces, Light Solos (2010-13) all stem from her time at Le Fresnoy.
Ula Sickle has been presented in many international theaters and venues, among them the Kaaitheater, KVS and Kunstenfestivaldesarts (Brussels BE), ImpulsTanz festival and TanzQuartier (Vienna AT), Zodiak & Moving in November Festival (Helsinki FI), Reykjavik Dance festival (Iceland IS), Tangeant (Montreal CA), Nowy Teatr (Warsaw PL), B:OM festival (Seoul KR) and les Rencontres chorégraphiques internationales de Seine-Saint-Denis (Paris FR).
Ula is supported by the Canada Council for the Arts and the Flemish Arts Commission.