Sure beats lounging about on the settee

Whereas Americans only have one word for living room, the Brits have many – all depending on your social class. While the upper classes would call it a drawing room (derived from the word withdrawing, don't you know, when the women would withdraw to the living room after their ‘supper’, leaving the men to light their cigars, drink their brandy and generally screw up the world), the working classes call it a lounge (“What … you live in an airport?”). It is left to the middle classes to simply uses living (or sitting) room. Coming from The Netherlands, however, this all sounds a bit old-fashioned. My grandma would tell me about the ‘Sunday room’, which was only used on Sundays or to receive guests. Kids weren’t allowed at all. 


But besides all that, Living Room is also the name of the performance group Recoil’s latest dance production. Combining dance and video animations, it might sound like a weird combination, but this is exactly what choreographer Tina Tarpgaard has done. Talking to InOut, Tarpgaard describes ‘her’ living room as “a room in motion, evoked not just by the dancers but also by an almost organically living video scenography”. The floor and walls start to move and the space begins to breathe. 


The collaboration with software artists isn’t new for Tarpgaard. “The core of this recent work is defined by the close relation between the choreographic material and motion sensitive video graphics,” explains Tarpgaard on Recoil’s website. “This very intriguing combination of expanding the motion of the body by choreographing light and darkness as well as the dancers, has been an exciting challenge to find a balanced combination between software art and the performer on stage. Through dance, live video and electronic sound, we create performances that aim to explore technology as an equal and interactive partner to the performing artist.”


In 2003, Tarpgaard and composer Pelle Skovmand formed performance group Recoil, with the intention of establishing collaboration between artists across genre and borders. They have since 2003 produced stage project in Denmark and abroad. Ole Kristensen and Jonas Jongejan are Recoil’s software artists. “We work with tracking technology and the intricacies of interactive software on stage because it enables us to create dynamic places and environments that depend on human presence,” adds Kristensen on Recoil’s website. “The dance should need the technology and vice versa to be interesting.”


Dancers Nelson Smith, Siri Wolthoorn, Rumiko Otsuka and Jonas Örknér crawl over the floor and bite each other’s elbow (yes, really) while following the video animations on the floor. According to Tarpgaard, “this close relationship between body and space and how they mutually control or influence each other is a fascination Recoil has pursued from many different perspectives. Living Room is about the powerful and the powerless. A visual story about breaking free from pre-destined roles and respectively giving and taking space.”


Living Room

Dansehallerne, Pasteursvej 20, 1799 Cph V;

Ends March 24, daily performances at 20:00;

Tickets: 60-130kr; 3329 1029;,


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