Liisa Risu | Dark – Dance of Death
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Dark – Dance of Death

About This Project

“One moment more. One last. Grace to breathe that void. Know happiness.”

(Samuel Beckett)


The starting point for Dark has been Samuel Beckett’s novel Ill Seen Ill Said (Mal vu mal dit, 1981). The book is a frighteningly beautiful and shocking exploration of human consciousness and the act of perception in the atmosphere of a slow death. Typically for Beckett, Ill Seen Ill Said suggests another variation on the theme of Time.


However, Dark is not a stage interpretation of Beckett’s work but an independent dance piece made under the influence of this novel. Only eight words from Beckett’s text will be heard in Dark. Occasionally though, the dancers recite the memorised original text with their movement.


In practise, we have searched for parallels for the novel’s linguistic and structural forms, and worked on emotions evoked on us by the text. It has been rewarding to immerse ourselves as a group into the magical force of Beckett’s virtuoso text. The elements of Dark; choreography, visuality and sounds have been equally inspired by the novel and the differing backgrounds of the makers.


The dance vocabulary of Dark focuses on joints and on carefully defined and graded structural improvisation. The stage poetry of Dark moves between narrative and abstract. The forms and themes of the work are rooted in opposites: life and death, light and shadow, black and white, free and bound. The centre point for dancing and choreographic work has been the beauty created by repetition, fragmentation and incompleteness as well as the notion of space. The relationship between improvisation and life, with different degrees of restrictions and freedom, is also an important theme. I try to search for a situation in which dance in a performance is, besides performing the choreography itself, also a genuinely creative moment.



This work is available for touring.


50 min

Date of Premiere

24.9.2009 Zodiak, Helsinki