Dancer of the Year - Trajal Harrell
For his first appearance at the festival, Trajal Harrell presents his latest creation, Dancer of the Year. In recent years the American dancer and choreographer has toured the world with a series of shows in which he brings together the modern dance of the white, artistic middle class with the voguing dance style practised by the African American and Latino LGBTQ communities. For the festival he ventures into a full-length solo project for the first time in a while.
The point of departure is a personal one: Harrell’s nomination as ‘Dancer of the Year’ by Tanz magazine in 2018 and the reflection on (self-)worth which this triggered. The project consists of a reflective dance solo in which Harrell focuses attention on (self-)representation. He confronts his singularity and aesthetic with the eponymous honorary title and reflects on what he means to dance and what dance means to him.
On the one hand, Dancer of the Year is a dance, and on the other, a performative installation in the form of Dancer of The Year Shop where Harrell puts up for sale personal objects of inestimable value such as family heirlooms. Questions surrounding origins and legacy, (self-)worth and the valorization of art connect the dance solo with the installation. The influence of the Japanese choreographer Tatsumi Hijikata who asked his dancers to work in nightclubs to gather money also makes itself felt.
Presentation: Kunstenfestivaldesarts, Kanal – Centre Pompidou
Coproduction: Kunstenfestitvaldesarts et Kanal – Centre Pompidou