A grand and tender celebration of voguing, ballroom and contemporary dance in a moving work by internationally acclaimed American choreographer Trajal Harrell. The work is an interpretation of Keith Jarrett's famous piano solo The Köln Concert.



50 minutes

6 Apr


6 Apr


7 Apr


With an opening solo to the voice of Joni Mitchell, Trajal Harrell takes the stage alone and then populates it with outcast creatures transformed into independent individuals, defying their abandonment in moments of grief, sensuality and adversity.

From New York's avant-garde scene to his current home as house choreographer at the Schauspielhaus Zürich in Switzerland, Harrell has skilfully woven together voguing, butoh, modern and postmodern dance, injecting them with his sharp mix of humour and seriousness.

The performance - created as a corona pandemic piece - searches for a language that enables closeness despite times of social distancing, with a delicate choreography for six dancers from Harrell's ensemble at the Schauspielhaus Zurich.

In a tender and shared experience, where the dancers show their vulnerability on stage, we are reminded of the need to be close to each other - despite everything.

Trajal Harrell was awarded the 2024 Silver Lion at this year's edition of the Venice Biennale.  

Photo: Reto Schmid
2023 11 21 Schauspielhaus Zarich The Kiln Concert 6 C Reto Schmid

About Trajal Harrell

American choreographer Trajal Harrell gained international recognition with his seven-part work Twenty Looks or Paris is Burning at the Judson Church (2009). The work, which exists in several different performances, enters into a dialogue with the postmodernist aesthetic of the 1960s - born out of the Judson Dance Theatre - and asks the question: what would have happened if someone in 1963, from the Harlem vogue ball scene, had stood and performed alongside the early postmodernists at Judson Church? Through this question, Harrell created a multifaceted work that distinguishes him in contemporary international dance. In spring 2012, the fifth instalment was presented Antigone SR./Twenty looks or Paris is burning at the Judson Church at Dansens Hus as a co-production.

In his work, Trajal Harrell combines dance styles that may seem distant from each other: voguing, modern and postmodern dance and butoh. But, above all, his work is imbued with a distinct sense of humour and vulnerability. In recent years, he has also choreographed a number of acclaimed interpretations of classical theatre works, including Sophocles. Antigone, a freer adaptation of Shakespeare's Romeo and Julietand Cat on a Hot Tin Roof by Tennessee Williams. Since 2019, Trajal Harrell is house choreographer at Schauspielhaus Zürich, where he leads the Schauspielhaus Zürich Dance Ensemble. With the company, he has staged The Köln Concert, Monkey off my Back or the Cat's Meow and Deathbed in Zurich.

Trajal Harrell | The Köln Concert

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6/4 Post-performance discussion after the performance at 19.00.

Follow-up discussion with Trajal Harrell and Rebecca Hilton, Professor of Choreography at the Stockholm University of the Arts.