June 8, 2021 - PACT Zollverein - Michiel Vandevelde: Ghosts of the Past
June 8, 2021

PACT Zollverein

Michiel Vandevelde, Ghosts of the Past, 2021. Performance view, PACT Zollverein, Essen, Germany. © Dirk Rose / PACT Zollverein.

Michiel Vandevelde
Ghosts of the Past
A film as an exhibition
June 10–August 31, 2021

Premiere and artist talk: June 10, 7–8:30pm, livestream

PACT Zollverein
Bullmannaue 20a
45327 Essen

T +49 201 2894700

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“To make a performance—or any work of art—is just a small dot in a larger artistic process. I see my artistic work as a journey through knowledges, experiences, sensibilities. Often the spectators only see a small part of that journey. Ghosts of the Past is an attempt to connect the dots. This film marks a period, perhaps it is the end of a period. Yet, from the ruins of the past always something new appears.” —Michiel Vandevelde

In his latest work Ghosts of the Past, Michiel Vandevelde weaves fragments of his choreographic pieces into an extraordinary film set against the striking industrial architecture of PACT. Looking back on nine years of his choreographic work, Vandevelde presents Ghosts of the Past like a cinematic exhibition. On the journey through his works—from Love Songs (veldeke) (2012) to Dances of Death (2021)—core connections, narratives and recurring questions surface. In the process, underlying connecting threads emerge that tell of his own personal creative path as well as of dance history.  

We follow a drone roaming through the empty building of PACT. Its journey is a journey through time and space that over the course of a day, from morning to sunset, leads the viewer through PACT’s strikingly tiled corridors, rehearsal studios and spacious stages right up to the unexplored heights of its rooftop which, caught in the fading evening light, lends spectacular views of the surrounding Zollverein colliery complex. Vandevelde's film likens a walk through an extraordinary exposition of thoughts: each space holds its own ghosts of the past; fragments of a performative oeuvre spanned by numerous cross-connections. With each new perspective and space, a new chapter opens, building innately on the one before. We encounter dancers, dances, sounds and texts in a wild remix that suggestively interlaces and underscores their individual singularities and atmospheres.

On June 10 at 7pm, PACT presents the premiere of Ghosts of the Past as an online stream, followed by an artist talk with Michiel Vandevelde. The film will be acessible on demand until August 31. 

About Michiel Vandevelde
Michiel Vandevelde studied dance and choreography at the renowned Brussels dance and performance school P.A.R.T.S. He is a choreographer, author and currently curator of performing arts at the international arts centre DE SINGEL (Antwerp). His more recent dance works, which characteristically take distinctively different aspects of dance history as their initial starting points, include Ends of Worlds (2019), Neuer Neuer Neuer Tanz (developed with the Folkwang Tanzstudio Company at PACT in 2019), The Goldberg Variations (2020) and Dances of Death (2021). Ends of Worlds (2019) is a journey through various modern and contemporary dance forms of the 20th century (from Isadora Duncan, Kurt Jooss, Anne Halprin, Steve Paxton and Trisha Brown to the influence of digital technology). Commissioned by PACT and created with the Folkwang Tanzstudio Company, Neuer Neuer Neuer Tanz (2019) sees this source material mutate into an imagined “dance of the future.” The Goldberg Variations (2020) looks at the development of (contact) improvisation dance in the 1970s, while Dances of Death (2021) delves deeper into dance’s past, exploring the motif of the “danse macabre” or “dance of death” in the 14th century. With Ghosts of the Past Vandevelde brings these works together in a cinematic exhibition that makes the cross-connections between them eloquently tangible.

A project within the framework of the Alliance of International Production Houses supported by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media. 

The Choreographisches Zentrum NRW Betriebs GmbH is funded by the Ministry of Culture and Science of the State of NRW and the City of Essen. Tanzlandschaft Ruhr is a Kultur Ruhr GmbH project and is supported by the Ministry of Culture and Science of the State of NRW.

PACT Zollverein
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Ghosts of the Past
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