April 8 + 9: Jonathan Burrows (UK) and Matteo Fargion (UK)

Four pieces in two evenings. Cheap Lecture / The Cow Piece and Counting To One Hundred / One Flute Note 

The highly acclaimed british performance-duo Jonathan Burrows and Matteo Fargion is back at Weld. This time with their four latest performance pieces  – Cheap Lecture, The Cow Piece, Counting To One Hundred and One Flute Note.

The four duets, divided on two performance nights, all emanates from the structure of John Cages Lecture On Nothing, at once a homage to and questioning of a way of thinking that has underpinned so much dance and performance in the last thirty years.

Lecture On Nothing from 1949 is a talk on composition wich uses the same priciples that Cage used for writing his music, particulary the kind of mico-macrocosmic structure wich cage used for many pieces and performances throughout his life. It is what Cage called a rhytmic structure, made up of smaller units of 7, 6, 14,14,and 7, wich are then repeated 7, 6, 14,14 and 7 times so that the larger shape reflects the smaller units

Cheap Lecture (2009) is a translation of Lecture On Nothing – a rhythmic spoken performance set to music, a tirade about empty hands, audiences, time, repetition and dance and a few other things. It continues the journey Burrows and Fargion began in the first three duets, while drawing us ever-outwards into a series of unforeseen images and digressions.

The Cow Piece from the same year, repeats the structure of Cheap Lecture. It plays with text, movement and sounds, but also with objects. It is a chaotic meditation upon dance, music and mortality.

The second evening, the conversations with Lecture On Nothing continues in Counting To One Hundred and One Flute Note (2011) that plays breathtakingly with rhythm and counterpoint.

Jonathan Burrows and Matteo Fargion describe what they do as 'handmade and human-scale'. They build performances with simple, non-spectacular elements that arrive at a deceptive viruosity, radiating delight even as they make the audience think. Over the past ten years the two artists have built a body of duets which juxtapose the formality of music composition with a radical and open approach to performance and audiences.

Over the past ten years, the two artists have built a body of work that mixes the formality of music composition with a radical approach to performance. They have who have been given over 300 performances in more than 30 countries all over the world.


Jonathan Burrows and Matteo Fargion are supported by Kaaitheater Brussels, PACT Zollverein Essen, Sadler's Wells Theatre London and BIT Teatergarasjen Bergen. Burrows and Fargion are currently in-house artists at the Nightingale, Brighton England.

Cheap Lecture was commissioned by Cultureel Centrum Maasmechelen and Dans in Limburg and first performed at the Cultureel Centrum Maasmechelen. The Cow Piece was co-produced by Kaaitheater Brussels and supported by the Flemish Ministry of Culture. Counting To One Hundred and One Flute Note were supported by Arts Council England and co-produced by Kaaitheater Brussels.

The guestplay by Jonathan Burrows and Matteo Fargion is done together with a workshop by Jonathan Burrows that is arranged at Weld April 9-11 by Dansalliansen AB, Weld and Kulturkraft Stockholm with support from European Social Fund

Jonathan Burrows
was born in 1960. He danced with the Royal Ballet for 13 years, rising to the rank of soloist, before leaving in 1991 to pursue his own choreography. After touring with his own company for some years he decided in 2001 to concentrate on one to one collaborations with other artists, who would share the conception, making, performing and administrating of the work. His first collaboration was Weak Dance Strong Questions (2001), made with the theatre maker and performer Jan Ritsema, which toured to 14 countries. This was followed by a series of duets with Matteo Fargion, beginning in 2002 with Both Sitting Duet, followed by The Quiet Dance (2005), Speaking Dance (2006), Cheap Lecture (2009), The Cow Piece (2009) Counting To One Hundred (2011), One Flute Note (2012) and Show And Tell (2013). The two men have now given over 300 performances across 31 countries. Both Sitting Duet won a 2004 New York Dance and Performance 'Bessie' Award, and Cheap Lecture was chosen for the 2009 Het Theaterfestival in Belgium. Burrows and Fargion are also contributing artists to William Forsythe's Motionbank website project (2012-). Other high profile commissions include Sylvie Guillem and William Forsythe’s Ballet Frankfurt, and in 2008 he was Associate Director for Peter Handke's The Hour We Knew Nothing Of Each Other at the National Theatre, London. His curating work includes As It Is (1998) for the South Bank Centre London, Parallel Voices (2007) for the Siobhan Davies Studios London and All The World Likes To Dance To A Beat (2012) for Fondation Cartier Paris, and he co-curated Rememebring British New Dance (2012) in London with Ramsay Burt and Dance Umbrella 2012 in London with Betsy Gregory. (Burrows has been an Associate Artist at Kunstencentrum Vooruit in Gent, Belgium (1992-2002), London’s South Bank Centre (1998/9) and Kaaitheater Brussels (2008-2010). In 2002 he received an award from the Foundation for Contemporary Performance Arts in New York, in recognition for his ongoing contributions to contemporary dance. He is a visiting member of faculty at P.A.R.T.S. and has also been Guest Professor at Royal Holloway, University Of London, the Performance Studies Department of Hamburg University, the Institute for Theatre Studies at the Free University Berlin, the Koninklijke Academie van Schone Kunsten Gent, The Institute for Applied Theatre Studies at Giessen University and the Department of Drama, Theatre and Performance at Roehampton University London. 'A Choreographer's Handbook' (2010) by Jonathan Burrows is available from Routledge Publishing.

Matteo Fargion
was born in Milan 1961. He studied composition with the composers Kevin Volans and Howard Skempton and after graduation played bass guitar for a time in the rock band headed by Chris Newman, a formative experience of live performance. His interest in contemporary dance began after seeing the Merce Cunningham Dance Company perform at the Sadler's Wells Theatre in London. This encounter encouraged him to apply for the International Course for Choreographers and Composers, where he first wrote music for dance and through which he met the choreographer Jonathan Burrows, with whom he has collaborated for more than twenty years. Since 2002 Burrows and Fargion have made a series of seven duets together which continue to tour internationally. Fargion has written music for other choreographers including Lynda Gaudreau and Russell Maliphant. Most importantly over the past fifteen years he has developed a strong collaboration with the leading English choreographer Siobhan Davies, writing music for some of her most significant recent work including The Art of Touch (1995), Two Quartets (2007), Minutes for the Collection (2009) and Rotor (2010). Fargion writes also for theatre, particularly in Germany, where he has worked over a number of years at the Residenz Theater Munich and at the Berlin Schaubühne under the direction of Thomas Ostermeier, for whom he wrote music for the prize winning 2004 production of Jon Fosse's play The Girl on the Sofa. His most recent commission was writing stage music for a production of Ibsen's John Gabriel Borkman at the Theater am Josefstadt Vienna. Matteo is a visiting member of faculty at P.A.R.T.S.