Site-specific solstice ritual for 5 dancers and 1 violin.

Premiere: 17th June 1998, Frederiksberg District Heating Works, Copenhagen

In June 1998, Anders Christiansen and Thomas Eisenhardt were both invited by Åben Dans Productions to stage a sun ritual on the days around Midsummer Night. The two dance ceremonies were performed outdoors in two different locations within the newly-built Frederiksberg District Heating Works. Anders Christiansen's contribution, Bøn (Prayer), was set to the music of Anne Eltard, who performed live on the violin herself. She had also taught the dancers to perform simple compositions on the violin, cello and drum.

Concept & Direction: Anders Christiansen
Choreography: Anders Christiansen and the dancers
Dancers: Lisbeth Klixbüll, Trine Thiirmann Thomsen, Jytte Kjøbek, Ole Birger Hansen, Bo Rønnov Andersen
Violin: Anne Eltard
Music: Anne Eltard – compositions for live performance, and recorded soundscape
Set design: Dorte Holbek
Costume design: Lise Klitten
Lighting design: Thomas Bek
Production: Åben Dans Productions

Duration: ca. 50 minutes

Press quotes:
The Masters of Fire.
”Two of our best younger dancers reflect upon the ancient ritual of midsummer solstice. The mystical worship of the sun! While the world around us is absorbed in fireworks and speeches around the bonfires, here, the dancers celebrate the sun and light with two dance ceremonies at the Frederiksberg District Heating Works. ...The works were daring and good, even if I had to admit that my senses clamped up in the cold like oysters.”
Janus Kodal (Ekstra Bladet, 24th June 1998)

”The second part of the ritual, Bøn (Prayer), involved new locations within the heating plant, which, as with the first part, is illuminated by Thomas Bek's beautifully designed lighting. Up high in a window, one can discern Anne Eltard, whose sensitive violin playing stands out as the most authentic in the staged ritual. Like the notes' minimal movements, Anders Christiansen's choreography keeps itself within a simple, minimalistic, but also tight language of movement, which, in well-formulated dance sequences, brings hands and head in the black suits into focus.”
Vibeke Wern (Berlingske Tidende, 22th June 1998)

”The individual is much sought after. Thus, I pray, and thus I show my dedication. The individual is in focus, and one man's prayer is just as respected as another's. The dancers sit in the background and look in turn at each other's prayers. We sit in front of them and watch breathless at their humility before the god.

In flashes, a fellowship arises between the worshippers. Common experience binds them together, even if it only lasts a few seconds. But the fellowship never includes the whole group at the same time. Still, there is no talk about splitting up. A tacit deference to each other permeates the whole ceremony. Live music links the prayers, and creates, together with the lighting and the darkness of the evening, an atmosphere among the audience. We are witnesses to a holy séance, which under normal circumstances, is reserved only for the believers and worshippers, but tonight it is permitted to give in to our voyeuristic curiosity and experience the holy in close-up.

Anders Christiansen's ceremony created an ethereal and aesthetic experience, which was a magnificent contrast to the immense and physical 1st ceremony. Christiansen also showed that his choreography could surprise and overwhelm the audience, when one of the dancers gracefully, and apparently effortlessly, climbed the glass facade of the heating plant, as the start of the ending of the ceremony.”
Thorninger (Terpsichore 1998)

Frederiksberg District Heating Works, Copenhagen, 17-27 June 1998.

SOL was produced with support from The Danish Arts Council, The State Arts Foundation, Københavns Kulturelle Udviklings Pulje, Frederiksberg Kommune, Nationalbankens Jubilæumsfond, KODA's kollektive båndmidler, Dansescenen.


Photographs: Per Morten Abrahamsen
1 Ole Birger Hansen,
2 Ole Birger Hansen, Lisbeth Klixbüll, Jytte Kjøbek, Trine Thiirmann Thomsen
3 Ole Birger Hansen