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Are classics made to be rewritten? Monumental questions the intersections between the canonical and the common.

A solo dance work made with history and activated by labour. Monumental is a container for reconstructions of Anna Pavlova's seminal 1905 solo, 'The Dying Swan'. Using a variety of conceptual and embodied strategies; a port de bra reconstruction, recitation of original texts and a ghostly re-imagination; Martin Hansen maps myriad perspectives on this historical icon. The audience, encountering the historical, become complicit with the artist as the work methodically queers time and artefact. Monumental splinters the singularity of Pavlova’s solo into a series of dynamic tensions between the ‘then’ and ‘now’, and between the icon and its observer(s). 

The writing of Isabel Stengers’ ‘Reclaiming Animism’ frames this poetic yet political piece, which seeks to reveal the politics of class behind classical literacy and the shadow dynamics of in- and exclusion that the bourgeois theatre has historically enacted. Hansen weaves and interrelates materials with the increasingly troubled historical figure to playfully expose and complicate the processes of power that determine what is and is not canonical. 

‘’A stark deconstruction to demonstrate the impossibility of reconstructing the past, but also to explore the desperate longing ingrained in classical ballet.’’

—Monner Dithmer, Springback Magazine 2017

‘’This is a clinical quest into the nuanced mysteries of death and classicism’’

—Cath Carver, Springback Magazine 2017


Produced by Martin Hansen with support from HZT Berlin. Presented at Tanznacht Berlin, PACT Zollverein (Essen, Germany), Semper Oper (Dresden, Germany), Ballhaus Ost (Berlin, Germany), Spring Forward Festival (Aarhus, Denmark), CALA (Cori, Italy), Lonely in the Rain (Joensu, Finland), Rencontre Choregrafique Internationale de Saint Denis (Paris, France), Kanal Centre Pompidou (Brussels), Dancehouse Melbourne

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