Bodies in Cities | Reinventing Austria with Willi Dorner

Austria has always captivated hearts worldwide with its unparalleled scenic scapes, unbeatable Baroque churches, and a cultural heritage rich beyond its highest Alpine peaks. It’s a country that has seen some of history’s finest cultural figures emerge – we don’t need to mention Mozart, Jugendstil or the Vienna Philharmonic to prove our point – and is a gem in Europe’s landscape. From Vienna, to Salzburg, via some of the lesser known Vorarlberg, Linz and Graz, cities are rife with architectural, cultural and culinary gems, offering enticing experiences to willing explorers.

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Breaking into the history of Austria’s urban space, and confronting the very architecture of his country with the body as a performance, artist Willi Dorner is reinvigorating history with contemporary humour and panache. A philosophical take on the city as a lived and experienced space, Dorner and his series Bodies in Urban Spaces, for which he has gained global attention, sees dancers coming into contact with the space they visit.

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Quirky shapes, odd juxtapositions and bright colour-blocking silhouettes invite spectators to reconsider their appreciation of the space. The performances bring to mind the cultural wealth, history and signification of the city – but add a modern gaze into the equation. Through the stimulating experience that is his choreographed work, Dorner reintroduces vigour and energy into public space, offering a one-off experience to people exploring Austria. And a tale to tell for all intrepid travellers discovering the space. It’s specifically through felt, lived experiences that cities come into their own. What better way to see the world, than through dance? Be surprised and be inspired! 

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