Elena Morena Weber is a trained dancer, working in the field of performing arts and based in Zurich. During her fellowship at Akademie Schloss Solitude, she continued her physical investigations into dance as an exploration of the past, and into deep emotions, while understanding dance as a passionate and sensual tool with which to experiment with different movements. In her choreographic work, her biography often works as the source of inspiration, unpacking questions of belonging and concerning sensitive and emotional states during various phases of human life. She creates narrative pieces that search for relations between personal connections and a universal context. In a studio visit, Weber introduces her choreographic and performative praxis by discussing previous works, and the outcomes of her latest research, which brought her back to the small village Fescoggia in Ticino, in the south of Switzerland.
Schlosspost: Since when have you been dancing? What is your earliest memory that relates to your professional passion as a dancer?
Elena Morena Weber: I started taking ballet classes when I was five years old. I never wanted to be a swan, but I loved to dress up and stage shows in every possible occasion. Later on, I fell in love with the freedom and complexity of contemporary dance.
Schlosspost: Can you give us a short introduction to your personal approach toward choreography?
EMW: Like dancing, creating choreographies was something that has been present in my life since an early age; the techniques became more elaborate through the years, but the ambition and playfulness stayed the same. Even though I find the body a fascinating tool of expression and narration certainly able to stand for itself, I’m interested in the moving body as an element existing in a broader constellation. I am more and more interested in using unconventional settings, where the dancing body needs to adapt to different conditions than the ones in a dance studio or classical stage situation. I am intrigued by the influence that these specific spaces have on the body; in a way, I feel that in this context the movement becomes more human. Maybe more urgent and less elitist. The black box is a wonderful tool, but in my opinion if I make use of it to stage a piece, this decision should be justified.
»Even though I find the body a fascinating tool of expression and narration certainly able to stand for itself, I’m interested in the moving body as an element existing in a broader constellation.«
Schlosspost: You are fascinated by the archaic, by rites, and traditions. The piece SPUREN (2016) you did with Mirjam Sutter traces back to old Swiss traditions, i.e Tschäggättä from the Wallis, Silvesterchlausen from Appenzell or Pschuuri from Splügen. What was your special interest in (re)discovering them?