Tiran Willemse (ZA)
Residency period: January-March 2024
Born in 1987, Tiran Willemse is a South African dancer, choreographer, and researcher based in both Zurich and Berlin. With particular emphasis on notions of space, imagination, movement, and sound, their performance practice focuses on modes of constructing and questioning gender and identity. In their work, Willemse explores the physical and emotional depth of the body to create somatic and psychological experiences beyond the human condition.
After studying at the Performing Arts Research and Training Studios in Brussels and the Hochschule der Künste in Bern, Willemse presented their work at the Arsenic in Lausanne, the Tanzquartier and the ImPulsTanz festival in Vienna, the Sophiensaele in Berlin, and the Palais de Tokyo in Paris. Resident since 2022 at the Gessnerallee in Zürich, Willemse has performed with American dancers Trajal Harrell and Andros Zins Browne, French choreographer Jérôme Bel, American dancers Meg Stuart and Ligia Lewis, Swiss/Brazilian artist PRICE, and Swedish modern and contemporary dance company Cullberg Ballet under the direction of Jeftha Van Dinther and Deborah Hay.
Willemse will make the most of their residency at La Becque to develop their dance research project The Understudy. By experimenting with various dance forms and styles and drawing on their experiences as a black dancer practicing classical ballet, modern dance, and certain South African dances in Europe, this work will attempt to understand how these forms fit into a politics of representation of marginalized bodies, and how they bear witness to the ongoing violence against these same bodies in institutions and public spaces. This work will also enable Willemse to reflect on notions of invisibility and inaudibility, based on a body of research drawn from black and postcolonial studies.
Tiran Willemse, photo Camille Spiller pour PW-Magazine