I själva verket
A charming and humorous performance-lecture on the art of making dance.

An autobiographical and arbitrary all-knowing performance about something everybody does but no one knows what it is: dance! Where do the movements in contemporary dance come from, how can they be interpreted and is there a right way to understand dance? Is dancing a sort of sign language, where movements have certain meaning? And how can I relate the dance to the outside world, the artist or my own history?

The title “I själva verket” could in Swedish be read in two ways within this context. As a saying it would translate to “In fact”, but it can also be understood as “In the actual piece”. The title contains Anja Arnquist and Björn Säfstens ambition with this performance. It comes from a strive of wanting to answer and open up conversations that Säfsten has had the last eight years with audience members regarding contemporary dance, theories of dance practices and why some work might look or be read in a certain way.

Björn Säfsten and Anja Arnquist have developed numerous formats individually and as collaborators such as interactive performances, workshops and performance-lectures to find an adequate meeting ground with a general audience. Both have continually toured around Sweden with this type of projects. An experience that has made them notice patterns in what type of questions and worries that puzzles the audience when it comes to contemporary dance. The questions vary but a number of themes tend to come back. In I själva verket Björn attempts to talk and dance, sometimes simultaneously, to show, visualize, explain, question and juggle the complicated issues at hand, always with humor and gentleness.

Choreography and script: Anja Arnquist and Björn Säfsten
Performer: Björn Säfsten
Rehearsal director: Anja Arnquist
Set designer: Joakim Nyström
Lighting designer: Anton Andersson
Sound designer: Hans Appelqvist
Dramaturge: Gunilla Heilborn
Artistic expert in voguing: Fredrik Quiñones
Conversation partner during the process: Chrysa Parkinson
Photo: Joakim Nyström
Extra thank you to: Aviance and Frida Selander
Production: Säfsten Produktion, Nordberg Movement and Riksteatern. Co-production between Säfsten Produktion and Riksteatern.


Björn Säfsten is a dancer and choreographer, originally from Umeå, based in Stockholm. He works in Sweden as well as internationally and has, over the last 20 years, mainly created works through his own business but also for various Swedish dance institutions such as Skånes Dansteater, Cullberg, and Regionteater Väst. Säfsten’s work is always taking its starting point in the field of choreography but includes a variety of media such as movement, text, sound, and song. The themes of the works determine the scenic expressions at hand. Unlike in his early career, when he created works based on various philosophical concepts, Säfsten’s current themes often stem from his own experiences and topics relevant to his own life.

Anja Arnquist is a dancer and choreographer based in Stockholm, who has been active in contemporary dance since the early 2000’s. In addition to a close collaboration with Björn Säfsten, Arnquist runs the artist duo OR/ELLER together with Madeleine Lindh, who in their work to create visually strong spaces, achieved the young formats of installation and dance performance.

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I själva verket

Tuesday, 7 May at 17.30

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