Robert and Maria
"You dance inside my chest where no one sees you, but sometimes I do, and this sight makes our dance.”
In Maria Hassabi's previous works, the spectator's gaze has played a prominent role. In Robert and Maria, she asks her collaborator/partner, performance artist Robert Steijn, to embody the gaze in a mutual eye contact for the entire duration of the performance. This simple and at once rigorous act, keeps both performers confronting the present moment. Paying attention to every minimal look, sigh and movement, the work reveals various psychological states and sculptural entities as it creates a hypnotic reality.
Maria Hassabi is a New York-based director/choreographer/performer. Over the past decade, she has created eight evening-long works and eight short-form pieces. Her works have been presented across the US and at numerous European festivals. Throughout her career, she has had ongoing collaborations with artists from various disciplines, performing and creating works for film, art galleries and museums. Maria Hassabi is a recipient of the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, 2009 Grants to Artists Award and a 2011 Guggenheim Fellow.
Robert Steijn started as a dance dramaturge and dance critic. In 2002 he started to make dance performances himself and founded together with Frans Poelstra a dance company called united sorry, which is based in Amsterdam and Vienna. They make work for theatre and galleries and they develop rituals in which the public can participate. He performs also with choreographers as Anne Teresa de Keersemaeker, Latifa Labiissi, Georg Blaschke. He writes and directs theatre plays, at Theater der Jungen Welt in Leipzig and Theater im Bahnhof in Graz. Together with Frans Poelstra, he directed the performance Propaganda for the dance company The Symptoms in Budapest.