1998_Excerpt of script by Matthias Sperling

1998 (2008)

1998 is a work by Matthias Sperling, performed by and created with a group of graduating students at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance (London), in response to a commission from the school. The work is accompanied by a text written by the choreographer and spoken live by the performers.

The concept of the work was sparked by the discovery that the Laban archive carefully stored the costumes worn by Sperling when he was himself a student at the college, performing in Laban's Transitions Dance Company, ten years earlier. Unearthing these costumes and using them as archaeological evidence of past choreographic works, Sperling asked the performers to wear them and to attempt to re-animate the choreographies for which they had been originally designed. Rather than referring to video or other visual documentation, Sperling asked the performers to attempt to re-enact the works based solely on verbal descriptions of his memories of performing them himself in 1998.

The resulting work is an exploration of the way that dance operates through a dialogue of memory between audience members, performers and choreographers. The work provokes thoughts about how dance works endure through memory alone, and how our past experiences as dance artists and people always stay with us, written in the body.

"Past choreographies are the material on which present choreographies are built. This 1998 is built on that 1998."  1998, script by Matthias Sperling

Concept, choreography, script: Matthias Sperling

Performed by and created with: Joss Arnott, Megan Brock, Michaela Doran, Chelan Freeman, Lucy Glover, Laura Grattifge, Andrew McAuley, Keil Morris, Fernanda Munoz-Newsome, Carl Pattrick, Adele Smith, Sofia Upton, Tomoe Utsunomiya, Christopher Vann, Catherine Waller.

Based on the choreographer's memories of performing the repertoire of Transitions Dance Company 1998: Noa Dar's Fhou, Allen Kaeja's Permafrost, Rosemary Lee's 3 Studies in Courtship, Amanda Miller's An Etude (1995), Roger Sinha's Divided (1997) and Jamie Watton's Helalisa.

Costumes: After original designs by Suzie Holmes, Mair Joint and Allison Amin, with thanks to Susan Kulkarni

Lighting: Fay Patterson

Performances: Bonnie Bird Theatre, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance (London, UK)

Commissioned by Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance. Thanks to the choreographers of the original works for generously supporting the project, to Transitions Dance Company and Laban costume department for providing access to the archive, and to Neil Wissink and Michael Pinchbeck for their valuable dramaturgical input. Thanks to Gill Clarke for the invitation and for generous support throughout the process.


Read Script of 1998 LINK