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olga de soto

Debords 1 - Olga de Soto (sur la photo  Juan Allende Blin) © Gautier Deblonde.JPG

DÉBORDS ©Gautier Deblonde



GENERAL KEYWORDS: Action verbs; Archives; Contact; Contemporary music; Dance’s mourning; Death’s representation; Documentary performance; Installation; Kinesthetic memory; Memory; Memory as score; Modular projects; Music analysis; Music scores; Oblivion; Oral history; Perceptual memory; Post-war; Prospective memory; Retrospective memory; Somatics; Spectator’s memory; Testimony; Video-choreographic works; Visibility-Invisibility

CHOREOGRAPHIC WORKS: A destiempo; anarborescences; An Introduction; Châteaux en Espagne [Michèle Anne De Mey]; Con Forts Fleuve [Boris Charmatz]; Débords; Éclats Mats; (Elle) retient, autobiographical solo with voices; Incorporer; Patios; Sinfonia Eroica [Michèle Anne De Mey];The Green Table [Kurt Jooss]; The Show Must Go On [Jérôme Bel]; The Young Man and Death [Roland Petit];Trois danses hongroises de Brahms [Michèle Anne De Mey]

PEOPLE: Bel, Jérôme; Bernardo, Claudio; Charmatz, Boris; Cocteau, Jean; Contrapuntos Dance Company; Debussy, Claude; De Mey, Michèle Anne; De Mey, Thierry; Droulers, Pierre; Druguet, Vincent; Jarrell, Michael; Jooss, Kurt; Knox, Garth (Arditti Quartet); La la la Human Steps; Leysen, Frie; Parmenides; Pinto Ribeiro, António; Saariaho, Kaija; Sciarrino, Salvatore; Ruckert, Felix; Zeno of Elea

PLACES: Centre Pompidou; Centro de Danza Carmen Roche; Centro de Danza Contemporánea Carmen Senra; CNDC / Centre National de Danse Contemporaine d’Angers; Culturgest LisbonEscuela Superior de Musica y Danza de Valencia; Festival d’Automne, Paris; Kunstenfestivaldesarts; Madrid Spain; Schauspiel House, Hamburg; Vidéodanse – Centre Pompidou

CITATION: Interview with Olga de Soto, Julia Wehren, Nice (18/11/2021). Project “Mnemedance”, Collection Mnemedance (#Mnemedance14) URL:<>, (accessed dd/mm/yyyy). 


general info


Olga de Soto is a choreographer, dancer and dance researcher, born in Valencia and currently based in Brussels. She began exploring the role of physical and perceptual memory in live art in the late 1990s, often relying on interview methods. The resulting projects, such as Histoire(s) (2004), An Introduction (2010), or Débords (2012), connect documentation, testimony, archives, oral sources, narrative and storytelling. In this live interview, for once, Olga switches roles with dance scholar Julia Wehren and lets herself be questioned about her own memories. Where does her interest in the workings of memory and historiographical processes come from?

histoire_s_03 - Olga de Soto©DoloresMarat.jpg

HISTOIRE(S) ©Dolores Mara

interview questions




How did you start dancing as a child?



What prompted you to explore memory as a topic?



How did you decide to become a professional dancer?


As a choreographer, were you influenced by your collaboration with Michèle Anne De Mey?



How do you work with music?



When did your choreographic trajectory move away from music?



How do you engage with memory in your practice?



How did you begin the project based on Jean Cocteau’s The Young Man and Death?



Do you remember your first interview for HISTOIRE(S)?


How did you build up HISTOIRE(S) as a choreographic work? 


How did you decide to work on Kurt Jooss’s THE GREEN TABLE?


Which were the outcomes of your research on THE GREEN TABLE?

Debords 3 - Olga de Soto (sur la photo Mauro Paccagnella et Joan Turner Jara) © Gautier De

DÉBORDS  ©Gautier Deblondet

Anchor 1


OLGA DE SOTO is a Spanish choreographer, dancer and dance researcher based in Brussels. In 1992, she began her creative work, focusing on choreographic research and composition and exploring numerous works in different formats. Since the early 2000s, her work focuses on the themes of memory, trace, and transmission and mixes the language of choreography with those of documentary, performance, visual arts, and installation. Playing with the porousness of those disciplines, her work deploys along two lines. The first concentrates on studying the dancer's kinesthetic memory through a pluralistic approach to dance and the body. In the second, she explores works from the history of dance from the perspective of the perceptual memories of both spectators and dancers. The resulting projects deal with archives, documentation, testimony, oral sources, narrative, and storytelling, in works such as Histoire(s), An Introduction, Débords or (Elle) Retient. Her work has been presented in about twenty countries, and she is regularly invited to give workshops, lectures and conferences in academic contexts where she shares her research and documentation methodology in universities in Europe, Latin America and the United States. In 2013, de Soto was awarded the Society of Dramatic Authors and Composers - SACD Prize (Belgium), in the category of Performing Arts, for her research and creative work on Kurt Jooss' The Green Table. Since 2019, she is also a guest lecturer at the Master in Dance of the Antwerp Conservatory / Artesis Plantijn Hogeschool Antwerpen.

JULIA WEHREN is a dance scholar and research associate in the project Auto_Bio_Graphy as Performance: A Field of Dance Historiographic Innovation funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation. She studied art history, theatre and media at the Universität Bern, contemporary dance at the Rotterdamse Dansacademie and worked as a freelance dancer and journalist for the Arts Council Pro Helvetia. She currently carries her research work and teaches at the Institute for Theatre Studies at Universität Bern, SAPA (Swiss Archive of the Performing Arts) and Manufacture—Haute école des arts de la scène (Lausanne). Her main areas of research are historiography, artistic procedures, forms of documentation and contemporary aesthetics, reenactment, memory and remembrance, oral history and dance in Switzerland. Her recent publications include Körper als Archiv in Bewegung. Choreografie als historiografische Praxis (2016) and Ursula Pellaton. Tanz verstehen (2020).

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