Five Dancers II

Format: Two-channel film installation
27 May 2016
Performing Arts Festival Berlin — Ballhaus Ost; 3AM, Flutgraben e.V.; Divadlo na cucky, Olomouc 
26 min

Direction, text, design, edit: Chris Gylee, Aslan
Light design support:
Jan Komárek
Alexander Carrillo, Margrét Sara Guðjónsdóttir, Zeina Hanna, Hiroki Mano, Enrico D. Wey

Supported by: 3AM; Studio Public in Private; Divadlo na cucky;  Ballhaus Ost

There will be a large open space with high ceilings and white walls.

There will be a smooth flat floor for five people to stand upon, their numbered positions in the space clearly marked on the ground with tape.

There will be subdued lighting at floor level, so that the participants can see what they are doing but also feel some sense of privacy in their actions. There might be dry ice.

There will be a loud continuous soundscape.

There will be sounds of blood rushing through veins, the gurgling of the digestive system, pulsing of the heart. The sound of glaciers, and of a long lone fog horn. All the sounds in the soundscape will be the sounds one would hear in the middle of the night waking suddenly from a startling dream.

There will be a large projection covering one of the tall white walls, showing continuous video images of five dancers standing individually against a white wall.
There will be no sound in the video, though it will be clear that the five dancers are sometimes talking. There will be a commonality to what the five dancers are saying, though this will never be heard. The video will encourage the participants to observe body movements, facial expressions, gestures. It will not be linear. It will loop individual moments.

There will be a second projection beaming a written score onto the walls of the space.

There will be an invitation in this score for the participants to re-embody somehow the movement and gesture of the five dancers they are watching, but this invitation will not always be literal and will disrupt the feeling of safety and predictability of the experience. It will sometimes be written in the first person “I look left, …” etc.

There will be a set duration to the video and score projections. Over this duration the video will move through a process that contemplates its own disintegration.

There will be a strong feeling of strangeness and involvement throughout the piece. Upon leaving, the participants will feel they have been ‘somewhere/one else’ for a while.


Were you born a dancer or did you train to become one?

Can anyone dance?

What is the difference between dance and dancing?

Do you dance with your family?

Whose stories do you tell?

What is the dancer's equivalent to 'writer's block'?

What can you not express through dance?
Describe what happens to your body when you start to dance

Do you dream in movement?

What is the most pleasing number of people to dance with?

Is a dance a gift?

If you couldn't dance, what then?

Do you think you will stop dancing at a certain age?

The above images include photographs by ONCE WE WERE ISLANDS.

Five Dancers II  is a ONCE WE WERE ISLANDS production in cooperation with Ballhaus Ost.

Additional thanks to: the dancers; the team at Ballhaus Ost; Jan Žurek and the team at Divadlo na cucky; Jan Komárek; Hiroki Mano; Enrico D. Wey; Clément Layes & Jasna Vinrovski.