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 than her own. The solos Solid Gold (2010) & Jolie (2011) as well as the upcoming Kinshasa Electric (2014) for the next Kunstenfestivaldesarts, with three dancers and a DJ, 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. Frequently centered around strong performers, she searches for forms of choreographic writing, where the culture 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 in Paris, 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. The visual aspect of her performance work, in particular the use of light, is also very central. 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.Sound artist and regular collaborator Yann Leguay (FR) brings a concrete and material approach to sound that is the perfect match to Ula’s own physically grounded choreographic writing. Since their meeting in 2008, Yann has created the original sound design for most of Ula’s projects and the pair have also co authored several works (Solid Gold, Jolie, Light Solos). Working with the sounds of the dancers’ movement, footsteps, breath and voices, or the amplified technical dispositive of the performance venue, his work creates an intimate connection between the performers, the surrounding space and the audience. Throughout their different collaborations, Ula & Yann have created a consistent aesthetic and methodology.
Ula Sickle’s work has been presented in many international theaters and venues, among them the Kaaitheater (Brussels BE), KVS (Brussels BE), Kunstenfestivaldesarts (Brussels BE), ImpulsTanz festival and TanzQuartier (Vienna AT), Zodiak & Moving in November (Helsinki FI), 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.