Conceived, Choreographed and Directed by Stephan Koplowitz
Original Score by Jonathan Stone
Costume Design by Craig Givens
Lighting Design by Simon Corder
Slide Images by Mark Boyer
Rehearsal and Assistant Director: Sara Hook
Project Manager: Betsy Gregory
Production Manager: Simon Byford
Sound Design by Tim Foster
Production Assistant: Sylvia Maroino
Dance Umbrella Artistic Director: Val Bourne
Core Performers: Kerry Biggin, Susana Garcia, Hanna Gillgren, Sam Ingram, David A. John, Jenny Lam, Sarah Lloyd, Samantha Lyonsm Fiona Millward, Mike Winter
Location: The British Library, London, UK
COMMISSIONED BY THE DANCE UMBRELLA FESTIVAL AND THE BRITISH LIBRARY
Acknowledgments from Stephan Koplowitz:
Babel Index is dedicated to Val Bourne, Artistic Director, Dance Umbrella Festival, for her unique vision, her deep dedication to artists and for her love of contemporary dance in all it forms.
Notes on viewing the production:
Four years ago, while researching sites for what became "Genesis Canyon" at the Natural History Museum, I made several visits to the British Library, then housed within the British Museum. Val Bourne and I met with members of the Library staff and were given a special tour of the soon to be completed building. That experience was memorable and I knew that when the Library reopened, a spectacular new site would be added to London's already wonderful landscape. When we received an invitation to create "Babel Index" late last year, we were excited by the enormous scale of this new space and the challenges it presented.
Babel Index is a site specific work inspired by the physical design of the British Library, it’s mission and purpose. All of the material seen in this production was designed to be seen in this context. The work is divided into three sections requiring the audience to promenade to different locations during the performance.
“The architect, Sir Colin St. John Wilson had watched a rehearsal and had been so enthused at seeing his building transformed that he had returned for a second helping…When everything stops you have experienced something unique: a beautiful building, honoured, celebrated, and brought to unexpected life.”
“Everyone is fascinated by the secret lives of public buildings, by what might go on when the lights are switched off and the doors locked at night. So one of the irresistible pleasures if Stephan Koplowitz’s recent site-specific dances is that they have engaged with the fantasy life of two of London’s most famous institutions.... Babel Index...is the ultimate library experience, instilling an awed curiosity that makes St. John Wilson’s building feel, truly, like a modern cathedral of knowledge. Koplowitz’s riveting use of space is guided by the instincts of an architect and a showman, and the whole event is conducted with impressive efficiency.”
“The piece managed to be a tellingly intimate, sometimes highly amusing exploration of what is done in the name of reading... The final five minutes at triple fortissimo, with all 54 dancers slanted like red pencil-marks along the white galleries, made the entire enterprise utterly unforgettable.”
“Although there were intimate sections, the piece had a collective might- a warning of the despotism of The Book as thought control, as well as acknowledgment of scribes down the ages, civilisation’s worker ants.”