LOIE (is a fire that cannot be extinguished)

I remember learning about Loie Fuller in dance history classes: she was one of the American “mothers of modern dance”, up there with Ruth St Denis and Isadora Duncan. She revolutionised theatre lighting and after moving to Paris in the 1890´s she became famous worldwide for her hypnotising dances, where she twirled with illuminated fabrics to transform herself into butterflies, snakes, or flowers. Every teacher mentioned how important she was for the field. But no one ever told me she was a lesbian.

In this lecture-performance, Claire Lefèvre juxtaposes archival research with intimate storytelling to shine a light on the systematic erasure of queer femmes throughout dance history. She distils the glimpses of queerness that permeated Fuller’s artistic practice, situating her flamboyant campiness and gender subversion within the electricity crazed colonial context in which she created work. Unveiling her complex legacy one anecdote at the time, the piece exposes hidden layers of choreographic history which have shaped the way we think of, and embody, contemporary dance until today.

Created in close collaboration with textile artist Sophie Utikal, video artist Maanila Santos De Moraes and sound designer Zosia Holubowska, this solo channels Loie Fuller´s stagecraft and invites the audience on a kaleidoscopic trip, where dances of the past illuminate current political discourse around performance lineages, queerness and femininity.

This production is supported by Brut Wien, Tanzfabrik Berlin and MA7 Wien Kultur.