SDS1 is a solo dance work exploring the game of football (soccer) as an art form. A former footballer, Ahilan Ratnamohan creates a piece derived entirely from the game’s physicality, creating dance-inspired choreography with and without the ball. Through this deep exploration of movement in football the piece ponders the psyche of vulnerable warriors striving to be loved or hated, worshipped or scorned. This physically charged piece creates layers of movement that take the audience through a surreal and visceral, yet poetic experience of a football match. This is football in a theatre, stripped back, extracted, frozen, repeated and abstracted. Beautiful and ugly at once.
SDS1 represents a distinct step in my artistic practice. It is a piece with which I set out to challenge my methods for performance making. I set myself clear rules in making the piece; no funding, no text, I must be able to 'operate' the whole performance. Conceptually the piece attempts to deconstruct the movement of football more than any piece I have made to date and I feel that it succeeds in rigorously investigating the movements of football and ultimately using these to transcend the game. As with my previous work around the proposed genre of football-dance-theatre, the piece raises questions about the relationship between sport and art. SDS1 is an attempt to look at the psyche of (vulnerable) stars.
The similarities between sport and art at times so apparent yet there remains such a strong antagonism. The enduring questions surrounding attracting audiences to contemporary performance compared with the ease with which massive stadiums are filled for sporting events (despite rising ticket prices) raises big questions around relevance. I see football as a way of attracting an audience of young teenage boys, who don't give a fuck, into a theatre, but with SDS1 and all of my work, I am not trying to present them with a Nike commercial on stage, I am presenting them with something challenging, built on a movement language they relate to.
SDS1 is a further step in my experimentation in creating a sort of sport-art hybrid. With pieces such as this, The Football Diaries, Michael Essien I want to play as you... and Drill, I endeavour to push the boundaries of both sport and art. With these pieces I am attempting to create a new form of theatre - or a new form of sport - an arena which sits right between the match and the performance; something which is just as emotionally charged as a momentous sports final but with all the beauty and poetry of theatre.
Created & Performed by Ahilan Ratnamohan
Dramaturg | Kristof Persyn
End Director | Lee Wilson
Lighting Design | Mirabelle Wouters
Sound Design | Gary Dryza, Ahilan Ratnamohan
Performing Lines Mobile States Tour
Producer | Narelle Lewis
Production Manager | Richard Whitehouse
27-30 Nov 2013 Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts, AU PREMIERE
2,3 May 2014 Tanzhaus Zuerich, Zuerich Tanzt, CH
14 June 2014 Cambridge Junction, Night Watch Festival, UK
19-22 Aug 2015 Arts House, Melbourne AU
26-29 Aug 2015 Vitalstatistix, Adelaide AU
2-5 Sep Blacktown Arts Centre, Sydney AU
15,16 Sep Salamanca Arts Centre, Hobart AU
23-26 Sep PICA, Perth AU
29 Sep - 1 Oct 2015 Mandurah Performing Arts Centre, AU
13-15 Oct 2015 Bathurst Memorial Entertainment Centre, AU
15-17 Jan 2016 Explosive! Festival, Bremen DE
26 April 2016 Encontro de Dança, Natal BR
1 May 2016 Vivadança, Salvador da Bahia BR
13 Oct 2016 Brussels Football Film Festival, CC Den Dam, Brussels BE
The sheer physical stamina and technique displayed by this fusion of dance and football was thrilling, and animated by seemingly unfeigned hope, fear, joy, pain, delight and rage, as Ahil spun and danced towards and away from us, sometimes gasping for breath or emitting high-pitched simian coughs and cries
...complex terrain explored by Ratnamohan is raw, psychological and deeply felt.
- Jo Pickup, The West