Extended Play

Extended Play se déploie par l’alternance de solos et d’unissions, au fil d’une chorégraphie minutieusement écrite qui puise dans les codes du hip-hop – par ailleurs rappelés par la panoplie des danseurs, vêtus de baskets, de genouillères et de survêtements. Les puissants battements de bras sont ponctués de claquements de doigts, les ondulations du buste mâtinées de quelques déhanchés de twerk. Lorsque les danseurs battent la mesure au sol on en ressent les vibrations, qui introduisent une large gamme de jeux de rythmes : une mélodie saccadée tranche sur la fluidité des mouvements, une pulsation accentuée souligne la flexion d’une articulation ; la musique se fait ressort et caisse de résonance des gestes.

pour Ma Culture 30/03/2018

Extended Play voit les danseurs générer la bande-son de cette performance en utilisant une technologie dédiée qui recrée l'illusion d'un DJ set pour corps et mouvements. Proposé dans une forme libre où tout le monde, artistes et spectateurs, est sur un pied d'égalité, cette pièce devrait jouer les prolongations le temps d'un diptyque sur les mécanismes de la pop.

Philippe Noisette "Ula Sickle monte le son à Montreuil" dans Scénes, Les Inrocks 07.06.2016

Ula Sickle et Daniela Bershan observent et démontent les mécanismes du pop, isolent ses plus petits dénominateurs communs et poussent ainsi cette texture commune vers l’abstraction et le minimalisme. En s’emparant de la matérialité de ses éléments — de ses attitudes, de ses gestes, des émotions qu’elle génère, de sa rythmique, de ses algorythmes — plus que de ses références immédiates, de ses images et de ses signifiants, Extended Play propose un espace où les tensions et les codes de la culture contemporaine sont à la fois joués et disséqués.

Emmanuelle Mougne pour Les Rencontres Chorégraphiques de Seine-Saint-Denis



In Prelude (2014), a production that was performed in the Brussels Kaaitheater, the Norwegian singer Stine Janvin Motland tried to adapt to a sensitive, overstimulating environment: aggressive wind machines, nervous ticking fluorescent tubes and speakers that transmit white noise, putting her vulnerable body to the test in a highly direct manner. With the help of her extended vocal techniques – in which the possibilities of the human voice are explored to beyond what we consider recognisable - Motland explores the boundaries between the organic and inorganic, between the human and the digital. Due to Leguay's subtle live sound modulation often it is no longer obvious whether we hear Motland singing or whether her airy notes are being manipulated electronically.

Charlotte de Somviele in "Contemporary Dance in Flanders" an online special by Flanders Arts Institute


Kinshasa Electric

Kinshasa is a constantly changing megalopolis in the heart of Africa, whose culture very much reflects globalization. Ula Sickle, a Canadian choreographer who lives in Brussels, plunged into the Congolese capital to create two solos pieces back in 2010 and 2012. She returned there for Kinshasa Electric, danced by three young Congolese - Joel Tenda, Popol Amisi and Jeannot Kunbonyeki - to a score by Daniela Bershan alias Baba Electronica. Rooted in the music and dance of Kin nightlife and in the full range of local variations on world pop culture, the show they have come up with is organic and energetic, a fascinating reflection of the sounds and movements of our times.

Gilles Bechet "Kinshasa Remade" - Agenda Magazine, May 2014

“Kinshasa Electric relies on a series of references […] which continuously branches off in the audience’s mind (and thus strongly differs depending on the context). Ultimately however it always “postpones” a fixed beginning or ending, a fixed origin or shape. What is traditional and what is contemporary? What is Congolese and what is Western? What is authentic and what has been construed? In Kinshasa Electric identity is “always on the move” and constantly undermines this type of opposition.”

“Identity has […] become a more flexible and more complicated concept. Because how can you find your own voice in a mediatised and post-national society, in which references travel faster than light? How to relate to all this cultural heritage, whose origin is sometimes lost? How can this cultural cross-pollination give rise to a more inclusive concept of identity and community, which is tailored to the twenty-first century?”

Charlotte de Somviele on Kinshasa Electric in “Ass Talk and Clubbing Vibes” - Etcetera Performing Arts Magazine, September 2014


Light Solos

The performative body is a complex composite and shifting aesthetic fabrication, a heterogeneous ensemble of various percepts and affects that – notwithstanding its artificial nature – is ‘more real than real’. Producing such a hyper-real performative body differing from the involved performing body is the hallmark of Sickle’s performance works. This exploratory quest is vastly inspired by her interest in the multi-layered materiality of the live produced image and, concomitantly, in the physicality of the imaginary relationship linking spectatorship and stage-events. Simple but effective means may do the work. Thus in Lights Solos, a set of stroboscopic lamps accompanied by the sound of the amplified light remediates Sickle’s moving body into a succession of vividly juxtaposed images. Theirs is a slightly uncanny optical materiality that has a ghost-like quality but is at the same time all too real and genuinely affective in its fragmenting of the dancing body (and this even if one is acquainted with the stroboscope-effect from discotheques).

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


Extreme Tension

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



Both, “Jolie” and “Solid Gold”, are attempts to interrogate the conditions of our perception of the body, which define if we are able to apprehend a body in its movements as powerful and present or as dependent and precarious. These questions are formulated by means of postmodern dance. But they are also enlarged by a precise rethinking of contemporary issues of concern regarding the way bodies are increasingly colonized by digitalized, connected and globalized power structures. The performances call for a continued negotiation of these questions and remain a request for further consideration of body politics, precariousness and the social belonging of a body in contemporary dance.

Ana Hoffner - "Politicizing Contemporary Dance"