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Extreme Tension

Text / Press / Video

Ula Sickle, Marie de Corte & Yann Leguay
Performance 50 min

Extreme Tension is a solo inspired by the drawing series of the same name by artist Louise Bourgeois. The solo uses the sparseness of the pages, notation-like drawings and handwritten text as the score for a dance performance, interpreted by performer Marie De Corte. In a new staging of the performance for gallery spaces, the audience is invited to chose their own perspective on an unfolding series of actions and scenographic displacements.

Sound artist Yann Leguay creates a new sound score from live and prerecorded footage that zooms into the body, under the skin, rendering it both seductively close and strangely unfamiliar. This play between proximity and distance is central to the work of Louise Bourgeois who during her long career never ceased to show, without reservation and with much force, the psychological and physical intimacy of the human body. In this sense the performance is not a portrait of Marie or of Louise, but rather of a body, exposed as an unknown landscape, both powerful and fragile.

A new version created in 2014 for Stuk, center for Movement, Image and Sound, reworked the piece for a gallery context. 

Concept: Ula Sickle / Creation & performance: Marie De Corte / Sound creation & live performance: Yann Leguay / Scenography & Costume: Marie Szersnovicz / Light design: Ula Sickle / Graphic design: Pierre Lecrenier - La petite usine / Production: Caravan Production / Co-production: Kaaitheater / Residencies: Kaaitheater, Wp Zimmer, Dommelhof. With the support of the Canada Council for the Arts

Première:Kaaitheater Studios, September 26th, 27 & 28th, 2012; Cultuurcentrum Kortrijk September 29th, 2012; Takt Dommelhof, Neerpelt, January 11th, 2013; Cultuurcentrum De Werf, Geel, March 12, 2013; Stadsschowburg Brugge, March 14th, 2013, "Move Me" festival Stuk, Leuven, October 21st, 2014.

The human body, which many still routinely regard as the principal locus of dance and choreography, is not one but many things. Consider it to be a material multiplicity or, rather, the embodiment of a virtual potentiality of countless material states that it only partially enacts or realizes over time through a continually redefined process of becoming. Some of these materializations come and go with ageing: Marie De Corte’s well-trained older body in Ula Sickle’s Extreme Tension evidently moves or gestures differently than a young dancer (and it will take many words to articulate this multifaceted otherness beyond worn-out clichés such as ‘less agile’ or ‘more vulnerable’). However, a twofold performativity is at stake. There are the movements and poses enacted by De Corte, which are intrinsically linked to her physical capacities; and there is the performative body that emerges out of the continuously metamorphosing intra-action between De Corte’s moving body, lighting, the audience’s collective attention and particularly the sound score by Sickle’s frequent collaborator Yann Leguay. His musical score entertains various micro-relations with De Corte’s gestures and poses, ranging from intimately close to aloof-like neutrality, but mostly in a way that clearly supersedes the mere act of framing. The evolving soundscape indeed co-performs the performative body: it is an agent in its own right, with a singular materiality and a peculiar agency

Rudi Laermans "Ula Sickle: Assembling materialities, creating performative bodies" PARTS 20 years - 50 Portraits