Choreographer Jonathan Burrows and composer Matteo Fargion have been collaborators for thirty years, slowly building a body of work which straddles the line between dance, music, performance art and comedy. The work has drawn an international following for its integrity, openness and independent stance, situating itself at the forefront of dance practice, but resisting the currency and hierarchies of the marketplace. A sense of a conversation with audience is central to their performance practice, equal together under the same roof.
Both artists studied classical music composition with composer Kevin Volans, which knowledge and experience informs their frequent use of written score, as a way to work with duration and as a distancing mechanism from more conventional notions of performance. They describe all their work as music, and are often engaged in acts of translation where what was heard is now seen, or what was seen becomes spoken language.
The performance practice of the two artists extends also to collaborative workshops with other artists, students, writers and curators from dance and related mediums, which both share the processes and methodologies of the work and act as a staging ground for current questions around performance. Burrows also wrote the widely used A Choreographer's Handbook, drawn from his experience of leading five years of conversational workshops, which has sold 16,500 copies since its publication by Routledge in 2010.
They perform regularly around the world, presenting different works in different combinations, frequently for non-theatre spaces. Their philosophy is that all work is new at the point of performance, and they often don't announce new pieces in favour of guerrilla performances which bury the new into the body of work.
Burrows is currently an Associate Professor at the Centre for Dance Research (C-DaRE), Coventry University.
Burrows and Fargion are co-produced by PACT Zollverein Essen and Sadler's Wells Theatre London.