PILGRIM. A traveler, a seeker, a discoverer. With a bathtub as the baggage of life and the counterweight of the world. Water, ferociousness and courage. On the edge of everything, with open eyes beneath the surface. In a surge of powerful dance with balance. PILGRIM. A living, breathing, dancing body on life’s unpredictable, wonderful journey. PILGRIM is a personal piece by Mark Philip: Artistic director, choreographer and dancer in Uppercut Dance Theater.
In this soulful solo, Mark reflects on his journey from adolescence to adulthood, from purposeless teenager to a driven artist, from his upbringing in the suburb Hvidovre to his busy life in pulsating Copenhagen. Every living fiber of Mark Philip has been woven into this bodily tale: From the movement language, to the work with the materials at hand: water, stage, attention from the public. A shortand intimate piece: Versatile and technically light. It would be ideal to program it in an informal setting for an intimate audience.
(CONCEPT & COREOGRAPHY)
WHY THIS WORK WAS SELECTED
This short one man one bathtub dance performance lightens up and shows another side of the award-winning Uppercut Dance theatre. The presence of the company’s signature dancer, Mark Philips, burns through everything with his personal story. PILGRIM is also his debut as solo choreographer. We encourage you to see this delightful, courageous and personal work either outdoor with the harbour and heaven as an enlightening backdrop or indoor in the framing of the festival’s final party at The Royal Danish Playhouse.
Mark Philip was raised in a suburb of Copenhagen – an area characterized by low income residents and ‘rough’ environment. Being a mixed-race child of a Filipino mother and a Danish father, but solely being raised within a Danish culture-context, with Danish as his mother-tongue, a piece of him felt missing.
Likewise, having practiced capoeira and breakdance, and excelling in the latter as an integral part of the Danish break community, funding bodies, educational systems within the arts, and structures supporting dance, had, and to this day still has, a hard time integrating and accepting him in their practices – as they traditionally are made by and for contemporary dance.
Drawing on these experiences, PILGRIM is a highly personal piece, where Mark confronts insecurities, unfairness, the will to fight for moving onwards and upwards. An intersectional narrative where class, race, and cultural capital meet in a bathtub that is half empty –or half full – of water.
THE COMPANY: UPPERCUT DANCE THEATER
Uppercut Dance Theater invites you to a fresh fusion of different dance genres, which is illustrated through the individual dancers’ different backgrounds within e.g. capoeira, break dance, acrobatics and contemporary dance. With Uppercut, the Danish dance scene has taken on a whole new dimension of physical equilibrist expression.
This new language of movement has contributed enormously to the dance scene in Denmark, as it challenges the current perception of modern dance. Uppercut’s special style is also felt in the mood of each performance, where the constant weave between the dark and powerful aesthetics, and the more comical elements suddenly appear when you least expect them.
Listen to the conversation with Mark Philip during our digital launch.
“Our ambition is to be a part of meaningful collaborations with venues and presenters whom can both present our work as UppercutDance Theater, but perhaps also engage us in the local community to do workshops, exchange of artistic practices and collaborations. Uppercut Dance Theater has a repertoire of performances that speak toa broad audience and is easily tourable, as well as some larger scale performances that demand some more space and time, however are deeply unique in their expression. We have a history of doing“crash-projects” where we meet new artists and dancers, whom we create with on the spot. The nerve and energy of a fast-pace dproduction period always seems to bring an incredibly unique performance with it; experimenting, engaging and alive in its nature. We are proud of our remarkable relationship to the audience, whom seem to be touched, moved and inspired, when we meet them from the stage.”
Maja Bonde Holtze, firstname.lastname@example.org,+45 21200581
FORMAT AND SUSTAINABILITY
“We have taken a big step towards concretizing our international strategy since 2021, thus becoming more knowledgeable in international touring. This manifests itself positively in terms of seasonal planning, geographical spread and shipping, as well as developing set design, where we aim for sustainable solutions as well as maintaining high artistic integrity. At CPH STAGE we wish to show how versatile we can be; offering options that spand from large-scale, site specific performances, to easily tourable works that are flexible and can perform in various settings. We hope this opens up for a conversation with potential presenters and co-producers, whom we can customize an Uppercut-visit to that makes the collaboration meaningful and worthwhile.”