Wild water melon grows in the semi-desert landscapes in Africa. Local people use it for water supply. One plant might grow 100 melons.

Photo: Gunnar H Stening
© SU-EN Butoh Company


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In a world that anytime might change
Self image is cracking up
World image is cracking up
Washing away the shame


Choreography: SU-EN
Dance: SU-EN Butoh Company
SU-EN, Anna Bralkowska, Lina Palmgren, Iryna Anufryieva,
Frida Larsson
Costume: Joanna Bodzek
Music and interactive sound: Lee Berwick/Digi Dub (UK)
Light: Svante W Monie
Space: SU-EN
Photos and layout: Gunnar Stening
Duration: 70 minutes without intermission
Premiered at Dansens Hus in Stockholm in April 2008.
Performed at Uppsala city theatre spring 2008. Autumn 2008 at Pusterviksteatern, Göteborg and Dansstationen, Malmö.
Supported by: Swedish Arts Council and City of Uppsala, Cultural Affairs Board

Cracks opens the window on a world living on the edge. Extreme conditions push life farther and faster, re-shaping bodies. In the desert, plants and animals survive, despite the lack of water, drawing on the intelligence and absurdity of existence. Is living more than just surviving? Is this not the ultimate intelligence?

On the stage crushed water melons, spreading a luring fragrance, tempting us with its red colour. 4 dancers in this space changing from dry stone plants to vivid and lush flowers, struggling for the space to survive. SU-EN performing the part of the lone survivor, itches all over her body, performing a cleansing ritual of the torn soul.

Many of SU-EN’s performances use an extremity of circumstances as their starting point. In her work, the body is pushed and pulled towards and against pain and stillness; towards the beauty of the deformed outline of the body.

CRACKS weaves absurd humour into a brutal sensuality.

Costume designer Joanna Bodzek collaborates to inspire the use of colour as an independent performance element.

The soundtrack of Cracks by Lee Berwick is mainly composed by found sounds and also includes non-audible frequencies.

SU-EN Butoh Company was formally started in Tokyo in 1992. It is currently based in Haglund Skola, north of Uppsala, in Sweden. The company tours domestically and overseas in proscenium and site-specific performances, workshops, film productions, projects and lectures. Major productions include Kaze no Cho (1992), Shadows in Bloom (1996), Scrap Bodies (1998), the film Universal Body (1999, collaboration with Gunilla Leander), ATOMIC (1999), Headless (2000), SLICE (2003) and Fragrant (2005) and wide-ranging events such as Scrap the Truck (1998), The Scrap Project (2000), Atomic Event (2000-2001), The Fish Series (2000-2002), The Chicken Project (2003), Fragrant (2005). SU-EN Butoh Company has performed in Europe, Japan, North America, South America and Scandinavia.

The company’s artistic director, SU-EN, lived in Tokyo in the years 1986-1994. She was an apprentice with the Tomoe Shizune & Hakutobo group in 1988-1994, when the legendary Yoko Ashikawa was choreographing. SU-EN also holds a nattori licence, under the name Kei Izumo, in the traditional Japanese dance form Jiuta-mai (Yoh Izumo School). Since 2006 she is the curator of Friktioner International performance festival in Uppsala.

Lee Berwick is a sonic artist. He has been producing and performing soundscapes, music, film scores and, more recently making films, since the mid 1980’s. Lee has run The Digidub record label since 1989 releasing a range of cutting edge music as well as releasing his work on other record labels. Experimentation has been a continuing theme in Lee’s music. Works include music composed using sounds from a given site (including the river Thames, the human body and a large Swedish scrap yard), tones generated to the frequencies of planets at astrologically significant times and experiments with inaudible sub sonic sound (infra sound). Lee’s work has been featured at the Hayward Gallery, The I.C.A. and The Museum Of amongst others and he has composed scores for various short films, including two soundtracks for the Finnish film director Illpo Pohjlo. The BBC have made a program (as part of the ‘Open Minds’ series) about Lee’s work and Lee has regularly worked as composer for The SU-EN Butoh Company.

Joanna Bodzek is a textile artist with background in fashion. She is educated at Beckmans School of Design in Stockholm 1989-93 and later at Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design in London 2001-03. Since 1994 she is working with fashion, art and community projects mainly with her base in London.

Svante W Monie is a freelance light designer. Currently he is working at Dansens Hus in Stockholm. Among the performances of SU-EN Butoh Company that he has designed and toured with is Atomic, Headless och Slice.

Gunnar Stening is a photographer and visual artist. His background is metal, painting and concrete art. Now he is working with photography only. His interest lies in the possibility to manipulate the image into art more than realism. Stening has worked regularly with SU-EN for stage and visual design since 1994.