Choreography and Direction: DEBORAH HAY

With artistic support from Jeanine Durning and Ros Warby

Jeanine Durning is a choreographer and performer from New York, creating work that has been described by The New Yorker as having both “the potential for philosophical revelation and theatrical disaster.” She is the recipient of The Alpert Award for Choreography as well as of a number of grants and residencies. In addition to her own projects, she has created over twenty-five works for companies, independent performers and institutions, including most recently for Toronto Dance Theatre. As a performer, she has collaborated with many choreographers with diverse creative concerns. In 2005, she began working with Deborah Hay and has performed in and toured several ensemble works including O,O and If I Sing to You. From 2010-2013, she was involved with Hay’s work with Motion Bank with her solo adaptation of No Time to Fly and the trio As Holy Sites Go, as well as the duet with Ros Warby, As Holy Sites Go/duet. Jeanine Durning has a dedicated teaching practice at SNDO/Amsterdam, HZT/Berlin and at many universities in the US.

Ros Warby is a leading Australian dancer/choreographer. Her award winning work has been presented in Australia, Europe and the USA (including Venice Biennale, Dance Umbrella, Sydney Opera House, Dance Theatre Workshop, NY). The solo dances she creates invoke characters that often transcend archetypes by sliding between iconic figures and ideas. Recognised for her unique performance work, Warby has also performed with numerous companies and artists including Lucy Guerin Inc. and the Deborah Hay Company. Warby is currently serving as Adjunct Assistant Professor at the Univiersity of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Dpt. World Arts and Cultures / Dance.

In collaboration with Ty Boomershine, Amancio Gonzalez, Brit Rodemund, Christopher Roman and Jone San Martin

Lighting Design: Tanja Rühl

Tanja Rühl was trained as a specialist in theatrical engineering at the Frankfurt opera, and from 2002 onwards was lighting assistant at Ballett Frankfurt under the artistic directorship of William Forsythe. When the company was reorganized as the Forsythe Company in 2005, she undertook the post of Lighting Supervisor, from 2007 onwards creating numerous lighting designs for the company. As a member of the Forsythe production team she is worldwide a consultant for questions of technique and design wherever performances of Forsythe‘s works are mounted. Since the summer of 2014 she has concentrated on developing an international career as a freelance lighting designer for a wide variety of artists and companies.

Composition and Live-Electronics: Mattef Kuhlmey

Mattef Kuhlmey is a musician, sound designer and music teacher. With his band ALP he creates silent movie soundtracks. His label FORTSCHRITT MUSIK is a platform for companioned bands.  Mattef teaches for fifteen years Polish, Czech and German youth in the project LANTERNA FUTURI. For several years he worked as a theater musician, mainly in the field of dance theater and performance, with a substantial interest in the exploration and balance of technical possibilities and musical traditions.

Costume Design: Judith Adam

Judith Adam studied fashion design in Berlin and began working as a costume designer in 2004. Her regular collaborator since then is the choreographer Tim Plegge, with whom she has created pieces including Momo, Kaspar Hauser, and their current production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. She also designed the costumes for ballets by Reginaldo Oliveiras (Der Fall M., Anne Frank) and Antoine Jully (Jurassic Trip, Men and Women), and has worked with directors Helena Waldmann (Made in Bangladesh, Gute Pässe schlechte Pässe), Amigo Kadir Memis (Cabdance) and Gabriele Reuter (Tourist – a de-centred play, The Amplitude). Beside her great interest in contemporary dance, Judith Adam has worked in musical theatre with directors including Corinna Tetzel, Michaela Dicu, Elmar Ottenthal and Annette Leistenschneider. She teaches a seminar on dance costumes at the Academy of Fine Arts Dresden.

Tailoring and Costume-Making: Sophia Piepenbrock-Saitz

Sophia-Elise Piepenbrock-Saitz studied costume design at the Academy of Fine Arts Dresden from 2011 to 2015, graduating with a diploma in design. Previously she had completed her vocational training in women’s tailoring. A freelance tailor since 2017, she produces costumes for theatre and dance productions as well as taking on commissions from private clients. Her experience of working in theatre costume workshops includes the Semper Opera Dresden, the Friedrichstadtpalast Berlin, and the Sydney Opera House.

Assistant to the choreographer: Katharina Rost


Deborah Hay:

Dance is my form of political activism. It is not how I dance or why I dance. It is that I dance.

The Tenacity of Space represents a catastrophic loss of learned dance behavior. Rather than rely on their physical bodies and what they can do, the DANCE ON quintet was encouraged to relentlessly notice everything in their visual field to support their moving bodies. Immensity is within ourselves. It is attached to a sort of expansion of being that life curbs and caution arrests…(Gaston Bachelard, Poetics of Space)

Recognizable movement is not an element in my work. Instead I create conditions that are intended give rise to an atmosphere of indefinable logic for both the dancer and the audience. What keeps me interested in Tenacity of Space is what I cannot name or point to in watching how the DANCE ON ENSEMBLE responds to my choreography. Tenacity of Space is a phrase I found while reading Harvest, a recent Jim Crace novel. It was my second reading of the book and I turned to it during my five weeks with the ensemble. The phrase leapt out perhaps because of two particular issues in the news, one being Trump’s ascension to power and the other being the Syrian Diaspora. During my second week with the dancers I felt a need to somehow reference these disempowering world conditions in the dance being made. Changing the title from Nothing is Outside to Tenacity of Space changed how we continued to work together.


Premiere: 24 March 2017, tanzhaus NRW, Düsseldorf

Co-production: tanzhaus nrw, ADC-Association Danse Contemporaine Genève

Supported by the NPN Coproduction Fund for Dance, which is funded by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media on the basis of a decision made by the German Bundestag.

DANCE ON is an initiative by DIEHL+RITTER gUG funded by the German Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media, co-funded by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union as part of DANCE ON, PASS ON, DREAM ON