9000 STEPS – Joanne Leighton/WLDN

A seductive dance ritual at dawn or dusk
Tue. 31 July at 19h30 – Naturpark Amager
Wed. 1 Aug. at 07h30 – Naturpark Amager


Thu. 2 Aug. at 20h30 – Ofelia Plads / find your way
Fri. 3 Aug. at 07h00 – Ofelia Plads / find your way
– Kvæsthusbroen, 1250 Cph. K


Sat. 4 Aug. at 20h30 – Amager Strand/Amager Beach – find your way
Sun. 5 Aug. at 07h00 – Amager Strand/Amager Beach – find your way
– Amager Strand Promenaden, across Lagunebroen, between strandstation/beach station 3 and 5




Six dancers whirl themselves on a surface of 2 tonnes of salt, 2 tonnes of soil or 2 tonnes of sand. Playful and joyful in a sublime unification of precision and chaos. An endless number of circles, curves and spirals are formed, blurred and dissolved with the bodies of the dancers and leave an imprint in the porous terrain. A volatile, vibrant imagery, which Beuys, Pollock and Long would have loved.

Like a hypnotic ceremony of geometric shapes and Fibonacci numbers, 9000 Steps is based on the art of walking – as a daily event and as a source of an infinite number of interpretations. Steve Reich’s “Drumming”, the pioneer work of minimalist music from 1971, is with its inciting rhythmic vibrations the constant background for the movements. The dancers’ meditative formations reflect the repetitive rhythms and fade away into a landscape of shadow, contrast, sound and repercussion.


This magic and seductive ritual manifests itself at dawn and dusk at three different places of widely different nature, which choreographer Joanne Leighton has fallen in love with – each with reference to salt, soil and sand. On a beach with endless horizon, on an undiscovered grassland far from the city, and at a classical viewpoint in the heart of the city. While the morning sun with its sharp white rays evaporates the darkness of the night, or when the evening sun is dissolved into orange-golden shadow plays in a colourless twilight, new relations develop between bodies and landscape.

Just like in MADE IN COPENHAGEN, it is the social collective nature of the dance which intoxicates the audience with energetic, almost exalted, folkloristic circle movements, which flirt with European folk dance and the trance dance of the Sufi….. while we can lose ourselves in the notion of stories about seduction, solidarity, desire and community.


Joanne Leighton is a Belgian-Australian Paris-based choreographer with an outstanding career as dancer and choreographer, which has brought her to work worldwide. Her choreographic career is based on an original vision focusing on dialogue and exchange with both the audience and other artists. At the heart of her work is the importance of the coherence between place, territory and identity.

She founded WLDN in 2015 as a company and a philosophy for her in-depth and investigative work with the site-specific. In her current works she uses the distinctive place to define her performance, just as the performance redefines and transforms the place. She incorporates the narratives and architecture of the place, and she strives to recreate the connection to nature and the basic values. Back to the simple and the essential.

Her participative work MADE IN COPENHAGEN – with 99 Copenhageners and 5 dancers – will be performed 28 July. 9000 STEPS from 2015 is Joanne Leighton’s signature performance. See interview about 9000 STEPS in Copenhagen with Joanne here.


“Joanne Leighton’s sensory choreography is like a geometric work with the dancers as willing puppets who, with their steps, stumps and jumps, put everything at stake. But looking closely, you sense the relationships and through their eyes and expressions you see the wildness and the relationships evolve. Joanne Leighton, who works with codes, structure and geometry in her stringent choreography, has created a fierce but liberating must-see site-specific work for Copenhagen with 9000 STEPS at the Metropolis Festival.”

“The dancers move in ritual circles that grow in and out of each other while goldsmiths swirl over their heads. When the news media are filled with dystopian reports of slaughtering and melting ice, Leighton’s piece works as a ceremony of the human footprint on Earth. What more is there to say? Cross the strait and see for yourselves.” Sydsvenskan

“Where else can you go to the theatre at half past seven in the morning?… We get the full sense of what the physical context does to a work as we sit here in the green, under a light thunderstorm and with roaring cows in the distance… Interestingly enough, for that was what this place could do to the piece this morning.”

Duration: 65 min.
Recommended from:
 age 10


Choreography and direction: Joanne Leighton
Dancers: Lauren Bolze, Marion Carriau, Marie Fonte, Marie-Pierre Jaux, Arthur Perole, Alexandre Da Silva
Music: “Drumming” by Steve Reich with permission from Boosey & Hawkes, London
Costumes: Alexandra Bertaut
Scenography: Tovo & Jamil
Stage technician: Francois Blet
Sound: Peter Crosbie
Production: WLDN
Administration, production and diffusion: Anne Massot
Administration and production assistent: Clémence Durand

Photo: Maja Nydal Eriksen