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Rebellion of the Cell - pilot project

Many Butoh dancers refer to their bodies on a micro-level as a collection of cells, or describe internal processes that they work with even though they are not visible to the audience. Yet, it is unknown what this internal micro-level is like and it remains a metaphor. We, however, recognise a great potential in exploring this idea literally with the use of biological science. What is a dancing cell like? What memory does it have? What is its intention? And what happens when we time it by trillions? 


We have collaborated with prof. Erik Johannessen from The Institute for Microsystems at Universitetet i Sørøst Norge to observe moving  white blood cells of the Butoh dancer Azumaru.


We have also run a workshop with the scientists from The Centre for Cancer Cell Reprogramming at Universitetet i Oslo, working together on a choreographic material based on the newest knowledge and visual images of cancer cells and their behaviour. How can Butoh dance and cancer cell research inform each other? What new meanings and experiences of the human condition occur from such an encounter? 

Rebellion of the Cell.jpg

This pilot project was further developed into a full scale production in 2021. 

Director & choreographer: Karolina Bieszczad-Stie

Co-director & designer: Adam Bartley

Laboratory work: prof. Erik Andrew Johannessen

Scientific collaboration: prof. Harald Alfred Stenmark (Centre for Cancer Cell Reprogramming)

Dancer: Azumaru

Documentation: Stein Stie

January & February 2020

Oslo, Norway

Funded by:


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