What is joy when its ephemerality and fragility tend towards its own dissolution? In this  new work the performers embody the emotional complexity of joy which constantly collapses. In a visually playful set where three human-sized sculptures are placed, the performers unfold a choreographic swing of joy that turns into horror. “Arcana Swarm” is a new HAU production for seven performers and the third part of the work cycle “The Staggered Dances of Beauty,” which deals with scenarios and varieties of our bodies exposed in a radically changing world. For this piece, Válastur works again with the technique of “morphing” as a transformative force. The body shows the affects and effects that derive from the tensions of the current technological, environmental and political conditions of a precarious and anthropocentric world.

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Concept, script & choreography: Kat Válastur/ Performance: Juan Pablo Cámara, Ixchel Mendoza Hernandez, Gaetano Montecasino, Ogbitse Omagbemi, Tamar Sonn, Sarah Stanley, Tiran Willemse / Light design: Martin Beeretz / Sound desigh: Peter Breitenbach / Set design: Leon Eixenberger / Costume: Kat Válastur / Dramaturgical advice: Einav Katan-Schmid, Maja Zimmermann / Outside eye: Alexandra Balona / Yiannis Papachristos / Assistance choreography: Kévin Quinaou / Production management: HAU Artist Office / Sabine Seifert / Touring & distribution: HAU Artist Office / Nicole Schuchardt

Production: Kat Válastur / HAU Hebbel am Ufer. Supported by: The Fondation d’entreprise Hermès as part of its New Settings Program.
Co-production: Théâtre de la Ville (Paris), PACT Zollverein (Essen), Theater Freiburg. Funded by: Capital Cultural Fund (Berlin), Berlin Senate Department for Culture and Europe. Residency support: STUK Leuven, Tanzhaus Zürich, Centrale Fies / Live Works.


…In this intermediate world, the dancers dissolve in their respective states and atmospheres. The movements arise, for example, from a slight quivering of the abdomen and pelvis, a tremor that engulfs the whole body, causing it to convulsively twitch, every muscle tense, a barely agile hardening, the limbs seem to crack out of the joints.
Or they wander and glide, stride and bounce around the room, arms and head raised, their faces radiant, a jubilation and rejoicing, which, however, will pass as well as the states of fright, reverence and devotion. Or like the hidden object, the orgiastic sculpture caressing, caressing bodies, to which the otherwise lonely people who drive through the space once gather. Everything passes away, every state, every emotion vanishes, it transitions seamlessly into something else that is just as immortal…

Frank Schmid, rbbKultur (21-11-2019)



“Arcana Swarm” invites the audience to an inner journey. And again Kat Válastur proves to be a master of metamorphoses.

Sandra Lucina, Tagesspiegel ( 18-11-2019)

…As if the bodies are moving forced by an unknown force into unfamiliar conditions, they climb up stairs, swing handkerchiefs, lay motionless on the floor or carry an oversized pink heart across the stage. A heavy wind blows along the black-hanged walls, and expands and frames the energetic scenarios of its ‘foreign residents’, which sometimes send calls, strange sounds and lovely voices into microphones that protrude into the stage like organic plants. ‘Energy’ finds a theatrically remote scene here as a social extra-worldly transformative force.

Sabine Huschka, Dance researcher  ( Tanzraumberlin, January/ February 2020)

…Arcana Swarm operates using a metaphor that is as diffuse in its performativity as in its meaning: the drift. A mysterious multitude drifts within the impermanence of affectabilities, temporalities, and embodiments.

Alexandra Balona,  TQW magazine ( 7-06-2020)