A four-hour immersive dance performance and installation where kinaesthetic empathy creates a sensory journey that ranges from the sublime to the ecstatic.



240 minutes

12 Oct


13 Oct


In an increasingly fragmented, chaotic and polarised world, Tim Matiakis and Rachel Tess explore dance and choreography as a site for empathetic states.  

A physical pulse emerges, seemingly from stillness, through which the three performing bodies are synchronised. The pulse expands towards the audience, creating, over the course of four hours, a sensory journey that ranges from the subliminal to the ecstatic.  

Kinesthetic empathy, physically mirroring someone else's physical activity and our ability to experience the sensation of another body in motion, without participating in the activity ourselves, creates a deeper connection where our individuality is dissolved and our perception of the difference between us shrinks.  

Us Us / Us Else / Else Us / Else Else is a durational performance with two dancers and a musician. In the centre, the stage, a circulating kinaesthetic sculpture and above this an enveloping light sculpture. In the room with the dancers, a social situation is created for the dancers and the audience to engage with and feel included in.  

Us Us / Us Else / Else Us / Else Else is both a live performance, an installation and a performance where you as an audience interact with the space on your own terms. As an audience member, you lie on top of the rotating stage, sit next to it, or walk around the room. Throughout the work, the physical pulse is transformed, and a sea of different choreographic, musical and interactive situations is created. The synchronisation between music, movement and space emerges and disappears in a transformative journey.

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About Tim Matiakis, Rachel Tess and Ulrich Ruchlinski

Tim Matiakis choreographic practice relates to kinaesthetic, physical and dynamic potentials and how choreographic situations create experiential states that explore relationships between artist, work and viewer.

Matiakis is based in Denmark with Swedish-Greek roots. He is a dancer, choreographer and artistic director, trained in classical ballet. Tim began exploring choreography in 2008 and has created works for stage, film and gallery/museum spaces. His work has been shown at The Royal Theatre, Corpus, Sort/Hvid, ARoS (Aarhus Art Museum), Aarhus Theatre, Bellevue Theatre, HEART (Herning Museum Of Contemporary Art), Det Classenske Bibliotek, Malmö Opera, Musikhuset København, D.A.P Festival (Pietrasanta, Italy). 

Matiakis was artistic director of Corpus, a choreographic project and contemporary dance company, within the framework of the Royal Danish Ballet, between 2012 and 2021. Corpus had an interdisciplinary approach and worked with co-creative and experimental partners. In 2022, he initiated and founded KINISI, a dance and choreographic project that revolves around embodied sensemaking - embodied knowledge and embodied logic. 

Rachel Tess

Rachel Tess is an American choreographer and dancer living and working in Sweden. She is the Artistic Director of Milvus Artistic Research Centre (MARC) in Knislinge and was the Affiliate Curator of Dance at Wanås Konst between 2016-2022. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts (2004) from The Juilliard School in New York. .At Juilliard, she received the Princess Grace Award (2002), was a member of the Lar Lubovitch Dance Company, and was honoured with the Martha Hill Dance Award by the faculty. 

Tess has danced at Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal, the Gothenburg Opera, and held a permanent position at Cullberg in Stockholm. In 2013, Tess received her Master of Fine Arts in Choreography from New Performative Practices at DOCH - School of Dance and Circus. She also won and completed a Princess Grace Foundation Works in Progress Residency at the Baryshnikov Arts Centre in New York City with her ongoing project "Souvenir", a mobile choreographic architecture. She is also involved in the ongoing project 'These are Bodies, These are Motions, This is the Place' with choreographer Benoît Lachambre. In 2019, Tess received the prestigious Birgit Cullberg Award for her work with MARC and the premiere of the piece 'Any number of sunsets...'. She received the Skåne Regional Culture Prize 2023. She has created choreographic works for Corpus (DK), Norrdans (SE), Skånes Dansteater (SE) and Dansk Danseteater (DK). 

Ulrich Ruchlinski

Ulrich Ruchlinski's artistic expression varies between musical composition, sound and light design, including live performance, with movement, guitar, bass and electronic elements. His focus is on physicality and 3D space - meaning that his musical compositions, sound or light design interact as equal parts - while supporting the overall concept of each project. 

Ruchlinski's work has been presented in the performing arts as well as in exhibition and museum contexts. Ruchlinski has been working in the performing arts since 1995 with sound, lighting and stage craft. He started in 1994 at the Theater für Kinder in Munich with stage production and lighting design and moved on to the Punchbag Theatre Company Galway in Ireland, where he created his first lighting designs for three of the company's productions. After moving to Malmö in 1997, he started working for local theatre groups. In this context he became involved in dance and performance. His recent productions include works for Norrdans, Skånes Dansteater and Dansk Danseteater, where Ruchlinski worked on musical composition, sound design and creating methods for community work. Since 2014 he runs the artistic platform Imulto, which supports productions and concepts in the performing arts.

Three questions for Tim Matiakis

Can you tell us what kinesthetic empathy means?

For me, kinaesthetic empathy is a bodily experience of empathy, which is activated through movement. We all feel it from, for example, throwing a ball to another. We see a ball coming towards us and we catch it. But throwing a ball to each other again and again creates a connection where the bodies, and thus the experiences, coordinate with each other.

Or from the club, where the physicality of many bodies can create a sense of belonging that is experienced on one's own body and opens up new experiences of one's fellow human beings.

In other words, an empathy that is not based on words, but on a body in motion.

I Us Us / Us Else / Else Us / Else Else, we have used kinaesthetic empathy as a choreographic principle in how we have created the piece.

Pulse and the fact that we all have a body that can pulsate has been the starting point. So we have built a journey where we constantly try to create connections between ourselves, the music, the space and the audience, based on how we share the experience we are in with others, and how the experience of synchronisation creates an invisible web between us all - through our bodies.

When you and Rachel Tess describe the work you talk about empathic states, tell us more about the importance of empathy in your work?

Dan Zahavi, Danish philosopher and researcher on empathy, describes empathy this way:

"What empathy can do is to try to be open to what you actually encounter, rather than having a preconceived opinion based on theory or your own subjective experience. Being open to the differences of the other and trying to recognise the feelings that the other has."

Through dance there is a unique opportunity to empathetically and less critically meet the other and who they are, because we all have a body and through it we experience values and ourselves. The openness that Dan Zahavi mentions, we work to include in how we create together, to how we perform and how we meet the audience.

We are working to create a space where the differences that make us us can be seen as details in the larger journey of being fellow human beings.

What should the audience do when they visit Us Us / Us Else / Else Us / Else Else?

The audience should follow their intuition, that is important to us. And they should not feel that they are disturbing us or the performance by following their intuition. If they want to observe from a distance, walk around and choose different angles from which they can observe the work, be close to us, be with us on the rotating stage, stay for half an hour or all four hours - everything is ok.

An audience usually wants to be "a good audience" and play that role as well as possible. We try to create a place where we don't have to play those roles anymore but can just be together, for as short or as long as the moment lasts.


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