When the curtain rises for the premiere, five performers – immersed in bright, white light – will appear with the aim of rediscovering slowness. In recent years, the Cyprus-born and New-York based choreographer and performer Maria Hassabi has focused on the relationship between the body and its representation in images. Emphasising the sculptural qualities of corporeality and a relentless expansion of time, “Premiere” almost assumes the form of a tableau vivant, constantly changing – thus holding very unusual moments of surprise in store.
What is expected of a premiere, the first meeting of work and audience? For Hassabi, the creative act is only turned into an artwork by the expectations of visitors. She plays with this aspect when she asks the audience’s full concentration for the incredibly slow and yet complex, parallel solos of the performers – it is the attention of the guests to the premiere that lends force to the event.
“Premiere” is not just a meditation on change and a game of expectations, but also a confrontation of privacy and publicness, fragility and prestige, process and product. The fact that Maria Hassabi took part in the 55th Venice Biennale in 2013 underscores the entrenchment and significance of her works in the context of visual art.
Co-produced by steirischer herbst, The Kitchen, Performa as part of Performa 13, Kunstenfestivaldesarts, Kaaitheater & Dance4 With support of Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s Extended Life Program Supported by MAP Fund, Jerome Foundation, LMCC Manhattan Community Arts Fund & Mertz Gilmore Foundation’s Late-Stage Production Stipends Residencies at Kaaitheater, Pa-f & Mount Tremper Co-presented by NXTSTP, with the support of the Culture Programme of the European Union
By Maria Hassabi With Biba Bell, Hristoula Harakas, Maria Hassabi, Robert Steijn & Andros Zins-Browne Dramaturgy Scott Lyall Styling threeASFOUR Sound design Alex Waterman Light design Zack Tinkelman & Maria Hassabi Production Assistent Meghan Finn & Kate Ryan