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  • Chris O'Reilly

The Body as Reference for (R)Evolution - Creation process begins Saturday

On Saturday 26 February, United Cowboys begin the creation process for The Body as Reference for (R)Evolution at Gothenburg’s Kronhuset Kreativ Arena.

Artistic Directors Maarten van der Put and Pauline Roelants will continue their investigation on the mentality of performing, amongst others, in this creation on physicality as language and means of dialogue.

“In the creation period from 26 February until 4 March, we build up a temporary world, with a temporary community. 10 participants will conquer the space and explore their pace and input.

“At the same time, the scenery will be build-up, bit by bit, not to stay there definite yet. All is flexible at first. Images, structures and short performances are created and integrated into the whole. From 2 March onwards, the biotope will get its form and structure,” says Pauline Roelants.

The Biotope concept and method

For a number of years, Dutch performance company United Cowboys has been building biotopes on location; self-sufficient environments, in which dancers, performers and musicians are present.

The space is being redefined. The audience can walk around to observe and absorb this world from all angles - they can stop to watch, move on, step out and come back again.

The performers lead the audience along this apparent freedom that is guided by the underlying direction, revealed in tight rules and dramaturgy. There is no fixed time limit; duration is being agreed on per location with the approximate duration in Gothenburg being four hours. The performance in Gothenburg will take place at Kronhuset on Saturday 5 March from 19:00 hrs.

“The method to come to creation is guided improvisation, physical challenges and individual input. We like to compare it with jazz, in which arrangements are made, everyone has his input from certain skills, there are solo’s, there is group activity and there is an ongoing flow.”


The creation process and performance in Gothenburg is the first of three in a new collaboration in the frame of Perform Europe – an EU-funded project which aims to rethink cross-border performing arts presentation in a more inclusive, sustainable and balanced way. This project was one of only 19 to be awarded funding after a two-stage application process.

Aspects of the co-creation process and some of the cast will be taken to the following stages of the collaboration in Sofia and Kyiv.

Alongside the five performers from United Cowboy’s core team, five performers based in Sweden were selected from an open call to join the process, each with a very different skillset and background in performance.

“Working on the individual skills in relation to presence are the basis for the first sections – a getting to know each other. From this introduction, all participants are invited to “defend” their individual territory. A body, space, energy challenge.

“The individual profiles, as a result of the introduction, will be the fundament for a guided and structured improvisation at first. We will be working around finding freedom within limitations.

“We connect head, heart, body. The further we come, the more freedom and space will be conquered. The improvisations will be longer and working up to a sense of infinity. Eventually, we work up to an ongoing set-up of dance, images, structures and flows; this will lead us to a structured duration biotope on 5 March,” explains Pauline Roelants.

Enter the Biotope

All are welcome to experience The Body as Reference for (R)Evolution with tickets available to book for free here. As it is a durational performance, the audience is welcome to experience it however and as long as they please.

This co-creation is made possible thanks to funding from Perform Europe and the support of KulturUngdom and the Netherlands Embassy in Sweden.

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