In the years they were dancing with Cullberg, I vividly remember Charlotte in a work of blackest comedy, Dödsbo, directed by theatre director Linus Tunström. I asked her if it was a similar process working with Matthew Dunster.
‘Well this piece has more movement and less theatricality. We started off with a technique that actors use and it helped us find the movement. He wrote a script for a duet and we spoke it to each other. Then we did something called ‘actioning’ - with each sentence you find an action that describes that sentence. If I were to say ‘I despise you’ I’d action it with a slap. So at the end of it we had a lot of actions and we started to make movement on all of those actions. We also played some psychological games.’
‘That was quite revealing’ added Christopher, ‘you find emotions deep down rather than just saying the word. When you view things from another perspective it is amazing how much ‘food’ comes up, we had so much material and the ideas were just flowing.’
Matthew confessed that he has never felt more exhausted during the creative process than doing this piece. Directing a play, the script anchors everything and the director can always refer back to it, but you choreograph to a certain point in a dance piece and the rest is still empty space.
Much of the material came from the dancers and although Charlotte and Chris haven’t choreographed a piece yet, they admitted they were starting to get a feel for it. However there were no doubts when I asked who had been their greatest choreographic influence – ‘Mats Ek. Definitely.’
I asked about their years at Cullberg. ‘The best! You know you will never have that again, we can’t go back, but we will never forget our time in the company. It really made us who we are as artists, as dancers, as people. It really moulded us.’