Dancers Angelina Sansone & Geoffrey Kropp. Photographer Steve Wilson.
Dancers: Angelin Carrant and Courtney Nitting. Photography: Brett Pruitt and East Market Studios.

Choreography: Alexander Ekman
Music: Franz Joseph Haydn, Ludwig van Beethoven and Franz Schubert
Symphony in D Minor, “Death and the Maiden”: IV. Presto by Franz Schubert. Arranged and orchestrated by Andy Stein
Text Spenser Theberge
Staged by Ana Maria Lucaciu
Lighting & Scenery Design: Tom Visser
Costume Design: Alexander Ekman

I created Cacti over 10 years ago for the Netherlands Dance Theater 2 in The Hague. This work is about how we observe art and how we often feel the need to analyze and “understand“ art. Many of my friends have told me that they didn‘t really understand modern art and started to feel that perhaps it was not for them. I believe that there is no right way and that everyone can interpret art and experience it the way they want. Perhaps it’s just a feeling that you can’t explain or perhaps it’s very obvious what the message is. Cacti discusses art criticism and it was created during a period of my life where I was very upset every time someone would write about my work. I did not find it fair that one person was going to sit there and sort of decide for everyone what the work was about. Now I have stopped reading my reviews, but still question this unfair system mankind has created. While creating Cacti, for the first time, I had the chance to create a work with musicians in the studio, which was a new way of working for me. Together with a string quartet we created a rhythmical game between dancers and musicians which became the score for the work. Cacti demands a high concentration both from dancers and musicians, which makes it very exciting to observe. I have always been fascinated by human capability during highest concentration and our way of acting in a state of emergency. I have made around 50 pieces up to date and Cacti is definitely one of those works which I will always feel a certain love for. It is extremely hard to create a piece which feels complete and finished from beginning to end. I think with Cacti we somehow managed to arrange the pieces of the puzzle in a way that it actually felt sort of “finished.” I hope that you will enjoy watching and experiencing Cacti and that it will continue to spread its message across the world.

–Alexander Ekman

World Premiere: February 25, 2010; Nederlands Dans Theater 2 (The Hague, The Netherlands)

Kansas City Ballet premiere: May 12, 2023, Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. Kansas City, Missouri. 

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