A dancer hurls themselves backwards, hovering in mid-air as a group of dancers stand still in darkness behind them.

Figures in Extinction [1.0] wins Swan Award

20 Oct 2022

Figures in Extinction [1.0], created by Simon McBurney and internationally renowned choreographer Crystal Pite, has won the highly coveted 2022 Swan Award for most impressive dance production at the VSCD Dance Awards in Maastricht, the Netherlands. The new 30-minute dance piece co-produced by Nederlands Dans Theater and Complicité, is the first part of a unique collaboration between the artists, that will see them work together over four years to create three new works, each developed in response to the last. The Swan panel judges’ decision was unanimous.

“A committed, extremely urgent work about the climate crisis, Figures in Extinction [1.0] made an indelible impression. A hallucinatory and wry spectacle, dancers take on the role of extinct animals and portray melting ice caps and underwater life in a phenomenal way. Fumbling on dry land or swimming like a school of fish, tableaus of overwhelming beauty are created. While the viewer initially marvels at the diversity of species, the theatrical experience is moving faster and faster towards apocalypse. An overwhelming total experience which echoes long in the mind.”

Swan judging panel

In his acceptance speech, McBurney urged audiences to support Stop Ecocide saying, ‘We may feel we are staring into the abyss. But every person has the power to change the future.’

We are living in an age of extinction: of animals, of language, of our connection with nature and of age-old ways of knowing. Can we ever hope to give a name to what we are losing? What does it mean to bear witness to a violence in which we are both perpetrators and victims?

Figures in Extinction [1.0] presented by NDT, premiered at The Hague in May 2022 followed by a tour of the Netherlands. Audiences outside of the Netherlands now have the chance to see the work for themselves: further to recent dates in Poland and France, Figures in Extinction [1.0] will play in Novi Sad, Serbia on 7 and 8 April 2023, and Sadler’s Wells, London (19 – 22 April 2023).