Wednesday, August 25, 2010

new web site!

The blog will continue to be updated, but check the website for an overview of performances & projects as well as links to collaborators & partner institutions.



Friday, July 30, 2010

Next season: Jolie (working title)

After Solid Gold, Jolie (working title) is a new solo created with and for Jolie Ngemi, a young Congolese dancer & performer from Kinshasa. The performance takes as a point of departure dance in its most popular form, sampled from music videos, staged concerts & nightclubs. Where Solid Gold looked back in time at the historical steps that inform contemporary Hip Hop, Jolie stays firmly in the present, while looking towards the future.

Like Solid Gold, Jolie also broaches the question of natural resources in the Congo - where diamonds, coltan & tin ore are the country's most powerful capital. While the young generation do not profit from these resources, their energy & creativity is also undervalued. The youth have little say in the future of the country and women in particular are absent from this debate.

Jolie aims to make the audience feel in a direct and immediate way the energy, determination & creative potential of today's Congolese youth, while offering a welcome feminine perspective.

Created with and performed by Jolie Ngemi / Concept: Ula Sickle / Sound concept & design: Yann Leguay / Production: Rebecca September / Administration & tour management: Caravan Production for Rebecca September vzw / Co-production: Kaaitheater, KVS.

Next season: June 9th & 10th, 2011 Kaaistudios, Brussels 
w/ Solid Gold

Friday, July 16, 2010

Solid Gold @ Kinshasa

Solid Gold was presented July 15th & 16th, during the Second Platform for Contemporary Dance in Kinshas (DR Congo). The week-long event was organized by the KVS, the Centre Culturel Francais (Halle de la Gombe) and the Centre Wallonie Bruxelles.

photo: Salka Ardal Rosengren

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Brave New Worlds @ Theater der Welt

Brave New Worlds
Exhibition July 9th, 10th & 11th, 2010

Theater der Welt, Essen

In 2010 the Chinese government founded a development fund for Africa, the total sum of which was more than nearly half again of Germany's entire global development budget. Brave New Worlds probes the migration process of the money, goods and people connected to it. Five artists from Kinshasa and five of their counterparts from Guangzhou visit each other. They are architects, theatre-makers, painters, writers or critics and they are looking for traces of their own culture in the other's country through stories, objects, experiences. The classic western criteria of centre and periphery, of east/west or north/south are nul and void. What chance does this new-orientation of Africa offer? Is the Chinese development help simply old-fashioned colonisation in modern clothes? And how does this affect us Europeans? Following their excursions, the artists meet up in Mülheim and invite us along. They will show their work and a documentary about the journeys, there will be the opportunity to find out more about the topic in one-to-one conversations, lectures and discussions. Will anything remain of the cliches about the red superpower and the poor, black continent?

With: Alain Polo, Chen Shuyu, Chi Peng, Freddy Tsimba, Kiripi Katembo, Marie Louise Bibish Mumbu, Pak Chuen Sheung, Vitshois Mwilambwe Bondo, Zhao Chuan, Jiang Jun

Artistic coordination: Els Silvrants, Ula Sickle, Paul Kerstens, Chen Shuyu / Video documentation: Adrienne Altenhaus

Production: Institute for Provocation (Beijing-Antwerp), KVS, Theater der Welt 2010 / Suppported by: Arthub Asia / Prince Klaus Fund

Friday, May 7, 2010

Atomic 5.1

Atomic 5.1
Performance (20 min)

Le Fresnoy: Studio National des Arts Contemporains
9 Juin, 2010 - 20h, 21h

“Strobos” means whirlwind in ancient Greek and scope and comes from “skopeïn”, which means to observe. The 5 stroboscopic lamps (Martin Atomic 3000’s) used in the performance are placed in a circular formation making reference to this etymology. By placing the lights at different angles, but aiming at a same object or direction, a change of position (or a movement) is perceived even when there is no real movement. It is the opposite of the stroboscopic effect in which a movement caught in a flash of light seems still or frozen. This arrangement and the choreographic research play with real movement (the dancer who moves) and fictional movements (the alternating light and the angle of light). The sound produced by the lamps, amplified and modulated, becomes a subtle musical score.

The performer, caught in this whirling light, resembles an animated figure, recalling the first animated films, but also current 3-D imagery - the angled light produces an unexpected sensation of depth. The set-up is a sort of ‘live-image making machine’, using a simple technology, intimately linked to the history of cinema.

Concept, performance & light programming: Ula Sickle / Concept & sound design: Yann Leguay / Pure data: Jean-Marie Boyer / Dramaturgy : Shila Anaraki / Body double: Ramona Nagabczynska, Elisabeth Schilling & Artémise Ploegaerts / Technical assistance : Marc Defrise / Production: Le Fresnoy / Residencies: Teatr Nowy (Warsaw), WorkSpaceBrussels & Les Brigittines (Brussels) / With the support of Les Brigittines & Teatr Nowy

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Atomic 5.1 (film) is a short film based on the choreographic material and light set-up from the performance Atomic 5.1. Produced by le Fresnoy, Studio National des Arts Contemporains, the strobe lights used in the live show create a rhythmical editing that cuts the image, creating a natural montage.

First screening @ Le Fresnoy June 4th, 2010
Duration: 12 min

Choreography & Light programming : Ula Sickle / Sound concept, recording & mix : Yann Leguay / Performance (Film): Franziska Aigner /Camera : Guillaume Brault / Electrician : Sylvain Briant / Editing & Color Calibration: Pauline Pirisnury / Camera, script & light assistance: Ines Berghman, Charly Caillaux, Sophie Piedallu, Julien Party / Atomic 3000 light rental: Axyom / Production Le Fresnoy / Special thanks: Migeul Nieto, Ramona Nagabczyńska, Elisabeth Shilling, Artemise Ploegaerts & Shila Anaraki.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Solid Gold @ KVS

Solid Gold performed as part of the KVS < > Congo festival -> BOX 8:30pm April 14th 2010

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Kirsi Monni's Montreal lecture

"In Ula Sickle's work Solid Gold, we don’t see an entertaining black guy dancing to the music. Instead we hear his breath and feel his footsteps, which dance around the cultural and colonial history of black Africans. The intense presence of the dancer prohibits the audiences’ immersion in an entertaining flow of dancing, thus making visible the dance as a consciously choreographed act, a collection of socio-cultural gestures indicating the economic and political ideologies that lie underneath. From this work I read references to social dancing as well as to the entertainment industry, to undocumented personal histories as well as to collective histories of colonialism and the African Diaspora. What touches me here is the simplicity of the presentation, which allows me to closely perceive the dancing as an embodied thinking of one’s cultural and political heritage. "

Kirsi Monni from "What Kinds of Ideas Are Guiding Choreographic Work? - conceptualising choreography since 1960s"

The full article can be downloaded here :
(highly recommended!)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Solid Gold: A review @

by Sylvian Verstricht

"No fanfare at Tangente this week. Fuck being submerged in a dark room, fuck seductive melodious music, fuck the ceremony that is usually the dance show. All that’s left of it is for us to walk in the room and sit in a chair, waiting for something to happen. The bright stage lights are already on and they don’t go down before Dinozord (dancer Patrick Mbungu) walks over to centre stage from the audience. No big costume either: a grey t-shirt, exercise pants, and sneakers.

Appropriate for the second week (of three) of Tangente’s Idea-Based Dances program, inspired by two movements with similar roots. The first emerged during the 60s with the Judson Dance Theater in New York City, which marked the beginnings of post-modern dance. Their source of inspiration: conceptual art. The second arose in France in the mid-90s with a new generation of choreographers that abandoned movement to integrate other art forms into their practice, thereby creating “non-dance.”

But Dinozord definitely dances in Ula Sickle’s Solid Gold. In fact, he covers the entire spectrum of dance from the African diaspora, from its roots to street dance styles performed in Congo today, passing through 20s Harlem, Broadway, the New York street dance scene of the 70s and 80s, and the more recent styles coming out of Los Angeles, like Krump. All of this in 30 minutes.

What makes this dance history lesson that much more compelling, however, is Sickle’s sound choice: no pop music. In fact, no music at all, in the strictest sense of the term. Again, very much in keeping with the practices of the Judson Dance Theater. Instead, what we get is the amplified sound from four microphones taped to the floor all around the stage, and (as we discover later) one right underneath Dinozord’s nostrils. His breath first sounds like a pen scribbling on a piece of paper. It is his, yet disembodied, marking the presence of two entities onstage: the physical and the electronic bodies.

We also hear his footsteps. Everything about Solid Gold highlights its own being. Like much of the work that emerged from Judson, it does not attempt to stand for something other than itself; it is what it is. As Dinozord’s breathing becomes heavier as his body proportionally drips with sweat, it becomes clear that Solid Gold is about its own physicality rather than an attempt to seduce us with pleasing aesthetics. If the body is anything other than itself, it is (as many of the dances displayed here prove) a political tool . .

Full Article:

Friday, March 5, 2010

Solid Gold: Review @ mouVoir

par "Magnifique solo de la chorégraphe Ula Sickle et son interprète Dinozord"

Tracer l'histoire de la danse hip hop sur le corps d'un danseur, en remontant jusqu'à ses origines dans la danse africaine voilà le défit qu'à relevé magistralement la chorégraphe Ula Sickle avec son interprète Dinozord dans Solid Gold. Ce solo s'intégrait toujours dans la série idéodanse de Tangente. En danse (en arts) l'intention est une chose. L'incarner en est une autre. Or force est de constater qu'ici, rien ne s'est perdu en chemin. Au contraire. L'idée de la chorégraphe s'est comme épanouie au contact de l'énergie et de l'intelligence corporelle de son interprète. Dinozord, danseur contemporain d'origine congolaise porte en lui, comme tout danseur, une histoire corporelle faite de plusieurs couches superposée. Elle sont ici dévoilées tour à tour . .

Article complet a lire sur le blog:

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Solid Gold / Upcoming

In collaboration with Dinozord & Yann Leguay

This work-in-progress is being created in several stages thanks to residencies from: Pianofabriek Kunstenwerkplaats, Les Bains Connectives, KVS (Brussels) & Tangente (Montreal) With financial support from: VGC, Office franco-quebecois de la jeunesse, Canada Council for the Arts. Special thanks: Studio Kabako.


March 18th & 19th @ 5pm - Pianofabriek
Fortstraat 35 1060 Sint-Gillis, Brussel

March 4th - 6th @ 7:30pm & 7th @ 4pm - Tangente
840 Rue Cherrier, Montreal

April 14th @ 8:30pm - KVS

Arduinkaai 9, 1000 Brussel

Created with and performed by Dinozord, a young contemporary dancer from Kinshasa, Solid Gold traces the roots of Hip Hop, from traditional African dance to forms of entertainment dance from Broadway and Hollywood to MTV. As the solo moves from one hit dance style to the next, and from one epoch to another, the amplified steps of one dance become the sound score for the next. Gradually the dancers movement becomes a musical score providing the impulse for the next groove.

Inspired by the 1979 American television show of the same name, where the previous year’s musical hits were performed in playback by a chorus of dancers, as well as by the film ìSoul Powerî on James’s Brown’s visit to the Zaire during the reign of Mobutu, Solid Gold also refers to the exploitation of the Congo's natural resources, and to its true and often overlooked resource; the energy, determination and creativity of its youth.

Concept: Ula Sickle / Created with and performed by Dinozord / Sound concept & design: Yann Leguay / Production: Rebecca September / Management: Caravanproductions for Rebecca September vzw

Friday, January 8, 2010

Viewmaster The Series - Episode 1

VIEWMASTER 2007 - 2010
Heike Langsdorf, Laurent Liefooghe & Ula Sickle

Performance: February 2nd, 8:30pm
Workshop: February 3rd - 5th
Conference: February 26th, 2-5pm
w/ Performance by Inari Salmivaara @ 8pm

The Series:

After touring since 2007 with a performance and installation for which
they developed the illusion-machine “Viewmaster”, Heike Langsdorf,
Laurent Liefooghe and Ula Sickle now offer a chance for others to explore the possibilities of this ‘magic‘ tool. “The Series” invites artists from different disciplines to use the Viewmaster to produce a new work. Works emerging can range from cinematic, performative, visual and even auditive attempts to make use of the tool. Each time the Viewmaster moves to another residency location, a new work is added to the series by a guest artist.

The first installment will be co-produced by Huis a/d Werf in Utrecht, where Finnish choreographer Inari Salmivaara will explore the box during a two-week residency in February 2010. The workshop and residency will be accompanied by a seminare for the PHD students of the Media and performance department of the University of Utrecht on the topic of ‘Liveness’.

@ Huis a/d Werf, Utrecht

For more about Inari
Huis a/d Werf

Friday, November 6, 2009

Blind Spot @ Teatr Nowy / Warsaw

Blind Spot
Installation / performance

November 14th, 2009
Teatr Nowy, Warsaw
18:00 - 22:00

Blind Spot (now Atomic 5.1), is an installation for 5 stroboscopic lights. Set in a large empty space in a circular formation, the lamps are programed to go off at different times and in varied rhythms in a sequence lasting several minutes and continuously looped over the evening. The spectator is invited to observe from a distance and/or to enter the circle, becoming a performer for the other spectators entering and leaving the exhibition space. The lights illuminate the room and the figure(s) in the space at different angles, producing a sensation of movement. The set-up literally makes the room and the people in the space seem to be dancing.

With the strobe effect images are retained by the retina and are held in place by the same "visual editor" that eliminates the blind spot. The viewer focuses on the last position of anyone he or she is looking at and is somewhat disoriented when the next flash shows the person's new position. The mind attempts to link the images, producing a continuity where there is none. Using multiple sources of light at different angles, a change of position is perceived even if there has been no real displacement. Working with depth, real movement can seem to happen on different planes and in unnatural succession. The installation (and performance) plays with these real and perceived movements.

Commissioned by Teatr Nowy, Blind Spot was realized during a week-long residency in Warsaw and presented as a project-in-process on November 14th, 2009.

Performed by: Ramona Nagabczyńska

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Viewmaster in rekto : verso

Kijken is de Kunst
Wouter Hillaert
 / redactioneel

Abstracte, hedendaagse dans als een bezwerende, bijna hallucinatorische trip, waar je je ogen bij uitwrijft? Het kan. Zo’n ervaring bood deze zomer de installatie Viewmaster op Theater Aan Zee. Het Brusselse trio Heike Langsdorf, Ula Sickle en Laurent Liefooghe bouwde een simpele triplex box met twee kamers die in een rechte hoek op elkaar aansluiten. Een schuin spiegelglas scheidt beide kamers, volgens de principes van de negentiende-eeuwse machine ‘Pepper’s ghost illusion’. Met wisselende belichtingen kun je het publiek, dat via een centraal raam de box inkijkt, de illusie geven dat er twee dansers, elk in hun eigen kamertje, op dezelfde plek dooreenvloeien als geesten, als in een live videoclip. Het zorgde voor een van de hoogst denkbare artistieke ervaringen. Je ogen bij de neus genomen.

Zo zijn er twee soorten kunst die ingrijpen op het kijken zelf. Er is kunst die het erbij moet zeggen dat ze je kijk verandert. En er is kunst die dat gewoon doet, voor iedereen met twee ogen. Creaties à la Viewmaster of beeldend werk als dat van Escher of Magritte gaan naar de essentie van kunst. Ze bevragen heel concreet de objectieve blik waarmee we naar de wereld menen te kijken. Ze vertrekken daarbij niet van voorkennis, maar van de simpele gelijkheid tussen ziende mensen. In die zin bespelen ze ook de essentie van wat een ‘publiek’ is: aanschouwers, viewers . . .

rekto : verso

(for full article)

Friday, September 18, 2009

In the works: Solid Gold

Currently in residence in the Pianofabriek (Brussels) :
September 14th - 24th, 2009

A performance by Ula Sickle in collaboration with Dinozord & Yann Leguay

Concept: Ula Sickle / Created with and performed by Dinozord / Sound concept & design: Yann Leguay / Production: Rebecca September / Management: Caravanproductions for Rebecca September vzw / Residency: Pianofabriek Kunstenwerkplaats, Les Bains Connectives, KVS, Tangente (Montreal) / Support: VGC, Office franco-quÈbÈcois de la jeunesse, Canada Council for the Arts / Special thanks: Studio Kabako.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Looping the Loop @ Galerie Anita Beckers

The video Installation Looping the Loop: From African Dance to American Hip Hop and back Again as part of the exhibition Performance // Frame @ Galerie Anita Beckers, Frankfurt

Galerie Anita Beckers
Frankenalle 74, Frankfurt
04.09.2009 - 30.10.2009

15 years after the symposium “LIFE IS ART ENOUGH - Performance and expanded art forms. One approach” – organized by Anita Beckers in collaboration with the Institute Mathildenhöhe in Darmstadt - we would like to pick up the thread again in the gallery and through selected positions question the current situation of Performance as an artistic medium. In a moment when the art market regenerates, artists whose work deals with one's own body and is commercially difficult, seem to trigger new critical discourses.

For the season start, Performance // Frame tries to pick up some thematic directions within Performance art and confront positions from the 70s with younger artists.

Participating artists: Victor Alimpiev | Maria Jose Arjona | Karolin Back & Mira Bussemer | Kathryn Cornelius | Dennis Feser | Patrycja German | Nilbar Güres | Séverine Hubard | Jürgen Klauke | Vollrad Kutscher | Bjørn Melhus | Julia Oschatz | Johanna Reich | Ulrike Rosenbach | Amparo Sard | Ula Sickle | Annegret Soltau | Sebastian Stumpf | Herbert Weber | Eva Weingärtner | Paul Wiersbinski | Elizabeth Wurst

Monday, August 10, 2009

Viewmaster @ Theater Aan Zee

Viewmaster opened at TAZ / Theater Aan Zee, Oostende 03/08 - 07/08 2009, with 10 performances over 5 days @ the Stadshuis in the city center. An Article about Viewmaster appeared in deMorgen, weekend-edition Aug 1st.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Looping the Loop

Looping the Loop:
From African Dance to American Hop Hop and Back Again
Video Installation
In collaboration w/ Dinozord & Petna Ndaliko Katondolo

Le Fresnoy / Studio National des Arts Contemporains
June 12th - July 30th

In Looping the Loop Dinozord, a young Hip Hop dancer from Kinshasa (DR Congo) traces the roots of this trans-historical and trans-national dance form, looking to traditional African dance as well as to forms of entertainment dance from Broadway and Hollywood to MTV.

Presented as an installation, the life-size video projection is displayed next to a still image taken from a film by Congolese filmmaker Petna Katondolo, who’s reportages on life in Goma (East DRC) for Metropolis TV (NL), are a source of inspiration for this project. The image and the ambient sound that accompany it, were taken during a dance competition he organized in October 2008. Simultaneous with a regional conflict backed by international players over the area’s natural resources, the dance competition was attended by thousands of local spectators as well as refugees displaced by the war.

Looping the Loop is a new video installation produced by Le Fresnoy (2009) Concept: Ula Sickle / In collaboration with: Dinozord & Petna Ndaliko Katondolo / Sound design: Yann Leguay / Camera: Vincent Pinckaers

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Nickelodeon @ The Rotterdam Film Festival

[christoph ragg
christophe meierhans
heike langsdorf
with the participation of ula sickle]

Nickelodeon @ The Rotterdam International Film Festival:

24.01.2009 _ 22h

With Nickelodeon, the audience selects film excerpts from a list of 35 titles, using a system very similar to that of the jukebox. The performers occupy the positions of the camera crew and using aluminum frames of different sizes, perform short choreographies based on the original camera movements (travelings, pans, zoom's, etc.), to the sound of the original soundtrack.

The selection of excerpts from feature films, documentaries, television shows, advertisements and animations are all faithfully recreated for you, but without the actors, costumes, decor or original images; these take shape in your imagination.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Knockout, The Director's Cut

December Dance Platform,
December Dance festival

Saturday December 13th 2008 _ 16:30
Stadsschowburg, Brugge

First performed in 2005, Knockout comes to the stage again for December Dance. At the invitation of the festival the piece has been 'recut' and includes a new, previously unreleased scene.

"A dreary night in Rome, on the soundtrack the click of a cigarette lighter, the sound of smoke being inhaled. A woman in a long raincoat with a platinum blond wig lounging on a street corner. It could not be more typically film noir. These few details hint at a world of seduction and betrayal, of double moral standards and romantic cynicism. It is precisely from this twilight zone that choreographer Ula Sickle, sound designer Peter Lenaerts and visual artist Alexis Destoop drew inspiration for their first collaboration, Knockout.

Knockout could very well be a choreographed variant of David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive; an out of joint montage of constructed fantasies, desires and expectations.”

Elke Van Campenhout
 (translated by Tom Hannes)

Concept: Ula Sickle, Alexis Destoop and Peter Lenaerts | Choreography: Ula Sickle | Developed & Performed by: Tawny Andersen & Ula Sickle | Sound Design: Peter Lenaerts | Scenography: Alexis Destoop | Light Design: Jan Maertens | Assitant: Nele Ana Reipl | Costumes Veronique Branquinho | Produced by Wp Zimmer for Rebecca September VZW | Co-produced by Pact Zollverein Essen, with the support of Dans In Kortrijk, Netwerk Aalst, Nadine Brussels, The Canada Council for the Arts & the Flemish Minister for Culture, Youth, Sport and Brussels Affairs.