BASICTENSION (ongoing 2017/18…)

a love letter/a break up note to Contemporary Dance

LastYearzInterestingNegro_BASICTENSION_Palais de Tokyo_Image 4by Ayka Luximage by Ayka Lux



Dances between control and abandon, a mediation on, and exit from, the cannon of ‘contemporary’ dance in an age of collapse, a search for refuge in a climate of total exposure.

ICA-JJSmall-BasicTension-by-Christa-Holka-11Feb18-0003webimages by Christa Holka


Working with fragments of surround sound and commissioned music, shattered injunctions for movement gathered from disparate observers, and set within ruins and blackness, the work embodies deep pessimism about existence in the current order whilst also searching for a way through and out.


I started this project wanting to make meditation tapes to calm my rampant alienation and to slow my racing thoughts but what does calm look like when you embody countless contradictions, conflicts and traumas and language can’t stretch to hold you and it was never your language anyway and you look out at the city and it is like your beating heart, complicated, congested and broken. Some things need to break and I don’t want space or distance but to assume my hybrid form right here. I want to break this space open. I want to be broken open, like Leeloo in The Fifth Element.



BASIC TENSION is an installation space for a series of studies towards a solo work. These studies turn the questions driving my physical research outwards, to expose and disorientate, to tear at the edges of things and level some borders, to think about flow, to let some things in and to get some out, to access more ways of moving, thinking about moving, moving thinking and encountering dancing for performer and audience.


performed at 

Palais de Tokyo

10 May 2018 (solo)

ICA (lower gallery)

10 February 2018 (Jamila Johnson-Small, Stephanie McMann, Fernanda Muñoz-Newsome, Malik Nashad Sharpe)

11th February (Kitty Fedorec, Jamila Johnson-Small, Stephanie McMann, Fernanda Muñoz-Newsome, Alice Tatge)

ICA (theatre)

17 August 2017 with Stephanie McMann

supported by Live Art Bistro with an event 1 July 2017 featuring performances by Hannah Buckley, Season Butler and Fernanda Munoz-Newsome

music: Phoebe Collings-James, Josh Anio Grigg, Junior XL, Shelley Parker 

An installation made alongside the performance i ride in colour and soft focus, no longer anywhere, the research is a mining process into my body, memory and thought processes, tracing of the impact of the supposedly invisible legacies of racism, colonialism, misogyny, marginalisation, displacement, homophobia, blood memory, through histories, cultures and conventions of ‘black expression’ and through my body, treating it as archive and oracle.