»They give thought body« was an attempt to integrate queer theory into the choreographic work in theme as well as in method and expression. The goal was to stage representations of different identities and to offer an understanding of the body, gender, identity, sexuality and movement as functions of a constant process, rather than as something static.
The cast played unsexual anti-bunnies, nurses with lesbianism as a norm, male disco divas, butterflies in briefs etc. They give thought body wanted to present alternatives to the heterosexual norm, through play expand the room for interpretation and translate complex theoretical arguments to physical practice. Hopefully the audience would reflect on the issues the work wanted to discuss and be entertained at the same time.
They give thought body was created 2003 but although recent it may sound the discussion about gender and queer had yet to really take of in the Swedish dance world. The production of the work encountered resistance from some of the more influential parts of the Swedish dance and cultural scene. Remarks along the lines of “We cannot support this kind of art”, “Nobody wants to see this, it’s way too political.”, “You are ruining your career.”, “Does it have to be so feminist?”, “Where is the art of dance here?” “What does queer mean?” and so on, were uttered while some expressed curiosity and received Hellkvist Sellén with a relieved sigh: “Finally…”.
The work was produced and financed on voluntary basis and opened at Moderna Dansteatern (MDT), where it sold out. There was indeed a public interest in feminist stage art, which would continue to be apparent.
They give thought body was the first work of Malin Hellkvist Sellén that specifically tried to let the audience go through a process similar to the one that the cast had gone through during the work. This has become characteristic since then. By focusing on the questions relevant to a piece and investigating them in the light of every possible angle in front of an audience, Hellkvist-Sellén is looking for options, loop holes, alternatives, interpretations and new questions. Each performance on stage is a search for possibilities that is taking place together with her audience, and the goal to re-phrase the question rather than formulate an answer.
CONCEPT/CHOREOGRAPHY: Malin Hellkvist Sellén PARTICIPANTS: Kristiina Viiala, Tove Sahlin, Minna Kiper, Natalie Ringler, Malin Hellkvist Sellén COSTUME: Malin Hellkvist Sellén, Lena Lindgren SET/LIGHT DESIGN: Erik Westerlund
Length 60 min
Premiere Moderna Dansteatern Stockholm, Sweden 2003.