The Deathbed of Katherine Dunham

Staging & Choreography: Trajal Harrell
 

Trajal Harrell and ten dancers were rehearsing the final part of Trajal Harrell’s trilogy Porca Miseria for three weeks when the first lockdown of March 2020 brought events to an abrupt halt. Exactly two years later, The Deathbed of Katherine Dunham will (hopefully!) celebrate its premiere in Zurich. In his highly acclaimed choreographic work, Harrell explores alternative readings of dance history by juxtaposing American early postmodern dance with other modes of performativity, including performative strategies borrowed from the Voguing competitions at the Harlem Ballrooms, for instance, and from the fashion catwalk. In his latest piece, Harrell brings together his memory of Katherine Dunham and the aesthetic relationship to death and ritual characteristic of butoh. African-American dancer and choreographer Katherine Dunham, renowned for creating a space for African and Caribbean dance traditions and ritual on the concert dance stage, travelled the world with her own dance company in the 1940s and 50s. However, she was also an activist who went on a hunger strike against the deportation from the United States of Haitian refugees and who fought fervently for equal rights in her own country.

 

With Ondrej Vidlar, Dila Watten Raworth, Perle Palombe, Songhay Toldon, Christopher Matthews, Titilayo Adebayo, Challenge Gumbodete, Josh Johnson, Trajal Harrell, Nasheeka Nedsreal, Frances Chiaverini
Staging & Choreography
Trajal Harrell
Stage Design
Erik Flatmo / Trajal Harrell, Trajal Harrell
Costume design
Trajal Harrell
Soundtrack
Trajal Harrell
Light
Stéfane Perraud
Dramaturgy
Sara Jansen
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Audience Development
Mathis Neuhaus
Theatre Pedagogy
Katarina Tereh
Production Assistant
Camille Roduit / Maja Renn
Stage Design Assistant
Anka Bernstetter, Eva Lillian Wagner
Costume Assistant
Miriam Schliehe
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A production of Schauspielhaus Zürich and Kunsthalle Zürich.

The Deathbed of Katherine Dunham is part of the trilogy Porca Miseria, commissioned by Manchester International Festival, Schauspielhaus Zürich, Onassis Stegi, Kampnagel Hamburg, Holland Festival, Barbican, Dance Umbrella, NYU Skirball, Berliner Festspiele & The Arts Center at NYU Abu Dhabi.

  • World creation: 4 March 2022, Kunsthalle Zürich
  • Kunsthalle Zürich
  • Recommended age: 16 and above
Data
Friday 04.03. 20:00 Kunsthalle Zürich
  • Premiere
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Saturday 05.03. 20:00 Kunsthalle Zürich
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Sunday 06.03. 20:00 Kunsthalle Zürich
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Friday 11.03. 20:00 Kunsthalle Zürich
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Saturday 12.03. 20:00 Kunsthalle Zürich
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Sunday 13.03. 20:00 Kunsthalle Zürich
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Thursday 17.03. 20:00 Kunsthalle Zürich
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Friday 18.03. 20:00 Kunsthalle Zürich
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Saturday 19.03. 20:00 Kunsthalle Zürich
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Wednesday 23.03. 20:00 Kunsthalle Zürich
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Thursday 24.03. 20:00 Kunsthalle Zürich
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Friday 25.03. 20:00 Kunsthalle Zürich
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Bits on Pieces
More texts and contexts related to our stagings in the theatre’s journal.
On Celebrations, Declarations and a Mind For Dancing

In early December, Monkey off My Back or the Cat's Meow by Trajal Harrell celebrated its premiere in the Halle at Schiffbau. For his second work at the Schauspielhaus, he transformed the Halle into a catwalk of gigantic dimensions, where dancers and actors meet. For the program booklet of the production, the dramaturges Laura Paeteau and Tobias Staab conducted a conversation with Harrell in which the influences of Monkey off My Back or the Cat's Meow are discussed as well as the question of why there is now a Schauspielhaus Zürich Dance Ensemble.

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Directors Talk:
Trajal Harrell and
Christopher Rüping

With the series Directors Talk you can bring our in-house directors Alexander Giesche, Suna Gürler, Trajal Harrell, Yana Ross, Christopher Rüping, Nicolas Stemann, Wu Tsang, and co-artistic director Benjamin von Blomberg along with you into the productions of the 2021/22 season in eight conversations. During the second lockdown they met on Zoom to talk about here, now, and tomorrow, mainly in pairs and once round-robin. The conversations are part of the season preview, which presents the 2021/2022 season and is available now in all our venues, as well as free to order online.

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Directors Talk:
Wu Tsang and Trajal Harrell

With the series Directors Talk you can bring our in-house directors Alexander Giesche, Suna Gürler, Trajal Harrell, Yana Ross, Christopher Rüping, Nicolas Stemann, Wu Tsang, and co-artistic director Benjamin von Blomberg along with you into the productions of the 2021/22 season in eight conversations. During the second lockdown they met on Zoom to talk about here, now, and tomorrow, mainly in pairs and once round-robin. The conversations are part of the season preview, which presents the 2021/2022 season and is available now in all our venues, as well as free to order online.

more
The 8 chatting.