Matthias Sperling_Photo by Neil Wissink

Matthias Sperling - Biography

I am a Canadian/German artist, choreographer and performer living and working in London since 1997. My work includes creating performances in theatre, gallery and museum contexts, as well as extending to curatorial work and scientific research collaborations.

My work investigates and foregrounds the generative potentials of dance and choreography, often with a focus on exploring the implications of body-mind continuity and embodied knowledge-generation in the context of dance performance. My approach to these investigations inherently combines a genuine seriousness with a playful not-seriousness as the key to their activation. I have often critically engaged with ideas from neuro- and cognitive sciences as an aspect of my work, including through creating choreographic science-fiction. My recent work focuses on the generative potentials of the range of ways of knowing that unfurl in experiences of dance performances. I describe these as embodying ‘Magic & Science’ at once: a continuity between human embodied capacities for rational ‘scientific’ ways of knowing and felt-sense, intuitive, more-than-rational ‘magical’ ways of knowing.

My work has been presented in the UK at a.o. Sadler’s Wells, Tate Modern, Southbank Centre, Royal Opera House, Wellcome Collection, Dance Umbrella and Nottdance, and in 15 other countries worldwide. I am the Artistic Director of the 5-year EU-funded interdisciplinary research project NEUROLIVE. I have been a frequent collaborator with Siobhan Davies Dance, together with whom I have created and presented works at galleries including the Barbican, ICA, Whitechapel, Hayward, Tramway and Turner Contemporary. I have created an adaptation of a solo choreographic score by Deborah Hay, which I co-commissioned through Hay’s Solo Performance Commissioning Project 2012. I was the guest artist co-curator of Dance4’s biennial festival Nottdance in 2019.

Born in Toronto in 1974, I studied with the Canadian Contemporary Dance Theatre (1984-1993) and went on to study philosophy at university in Canada before coming to the UK to complete my dance studies with Transitions Dance Company at Trinity Laban (1997-1998). I then danced with UK companies including Wayne McGregor’s Random Dance (2001-2006) and Matthew Bourne’s Adventures In Motion Pictures (1999-2000), before focusing on my own choreographic work. I was an Associate Artist with Dance4 (2007-2015), a Sadler’s Wells Summer University Artist (2010-2014) and am the winner of a Bonnie Bird New Choreography Award (2008). Most recently, I completed my PhD in choreographic practice at De Montfort University (Leicester) supported by Midlands4Cities in partnership with Dance4 and Siobhan Davies Dance.