If you were at Little Dragon’s gig in Joburg last year, you’ll have seen Ellen Edmar and Mona Namér performing their dance piece, Visitors as an opening number for the band. Ellen and Mona work together in Gothenburg as a performance duo/creative collective called Stampenfield, and had been itching to visit South Africa for a while to experience the local music and dance culture they’d heard so much about.
“We were very curious and amazed by Panstula dance in particular, which our friends from Stockholm connected us to through Sello Modiga of Real Actions Pantsula. We learned so much from dancing with him and Thomas Motsapi from VIP Pantsula, and shared some very beautiful moments together,” the duo tells us.
Though the majority of their time in SA was spent in Johannesburg, Mona and Ellen also travelled to Cape Town, Mamelodi and Orange Farm, and were mesmerised by the range of music they heard and the vibrant artists they came into contact with. A particularly memorable part of their trip was a collaboration with photographer and filmmaker Chris Saunders, who worked with them to create the metaphoric dance film seen here.
“Visitors is a story about two aliens or creatures visiting a foreign planet. After travelling through space, they land on solid ground in human form – electricity floods through their veins as they explore their new surroundings,” they explain. “As the choreography goes on we continue to discover the planet in our human-body-like vessels, while still communicating with and striving back towards space.”
The footage flits in and out of focus, much like Mona and Ellen’s movements, which, whether slowly unfolding or vigorous and determined, are always light as air. Watch the otherworldly journey unfold below.
Choreography and dance: Ellen Edmar and Mona Namér / Film: Chris Saunders / Edit: Karl Ekdahl / Costume: Abcg Studio (Gabriela Vallejos Castro) / Music: fLako – ‘Shape of Things To Come’, Dj Populous feat. Dj Khalab – ‘Agadez’