In SWAN we meet S. a (young) man who lost his mind and his soul. Overwhelmed by social pressure and expectations, he cannot find his true and holistic self anymore. He is trapped in his own world where realities are shifting and is not able to bring his fragmented ‘self’ back to a sense of unity. We follow S. on the search of his soul.

“There is no one who does not feel that he is imprisoned in some way. If this is the result of his free will he must regard his will as not free, or the circular reasoning in this position would be quite apparent. Free will must lead to freedom.” – A course in miracles

SWAN is inspired by the ballet Swan Lake and the Japanese social phenomenon, “Hikikomori”, where (mostly young) men are locking themselves in their rooms (often for years) and are rejecting any social interaction. In the South African context, the high rate of teenage suicides of adolescent boys is a starting point for the solo.

The dance piece is built on Tchaikovsky’s music. Although the music and aesthetic on stage change completely through the piece, all music is generated only from Tchaikovsky’s original score. We see a shift in the piece of inner and outer world that show two sides of the same young man.

Videographics, music and the texture of two tutus that the dancer uses in different ways merge to form a magical mysterious universe juxtaposing the first part that stays with the original music of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake.


CREATION :: Hannah Ma & Keisuke Mihara

DANCE :: Keisuke Mihara (Folkwang Tanz Studio) (Royston Maldoom)

MUSIC :: P.I. Tchaikovsky

COSTUME :: Ele Bleffert

MUSIC ADAPTION :: Sebastian Purfürst (Lem-Studios)

VIDEO :: Sebastian Purfürst (Lem-Studios)

TEXT :: Keisuke Mihara & Hannah Ma


HANNAH MA is a German-Chinese choreographer, who teaches the “Speaking Body”: an improvisation method she created from her strong base of contemporary and classical dance, yoga and acting methods. She was educated at the Conservatory in Vienna and the John Cranko School, Stuttgart; and the University of Hagen (GER) where she also studied cultural sciences and philosophy. Her choreographic focus lies in contemporary rituals and the translation of archaic roots within our society.

Hannah was a scholarship student at Kirov Ballet, St. Petersburg and Hong Kong Ballet, and won several ballet competitions: ÖTR-Contest in Vienna and the International Ballet Competitions in Györ, Hungary and Bologna, Italy. She has worked based in Freiburg (DE), Museumsquatier (A), Theatre Trier (DE) and Shanghai (CHN), as well as freelancing world-wide, dancing in works by renowned choreographers including the likes of John Cranko, Uwe Scholz, Birgit Scherzer, Hans van Manen and Sven Grützmacher.

Since founding hannahmadance (DE, 2014) and HAN SúN Gathering (LU, 2015), Ma’s choreographic work has been mounted on a number of prestigious platforms across Europe and in New York, and has won her awards such as the Theatermaske from Richard Wagner association (DE), the Brückenpreis Rhinland-Phalatinate (DE), and a nomination for the German Engagementpreis in 2016. Her 2017 project “H.E.R.O.E.S” is considered a ‘best practice project’ by UNESCO, Germany.

SEBASTIAN PURFÜRST is a video artist and musician, and creative director of LEM Studios, a collective of audiovisual artists and media engineers. He is particularly focused on the intersection between audio and visual perception, and takes great pride in engineering a strong connection between the two. Whether composing music for commercial projects like the World Expo in Shanghai for TRIAD Berlin, designing stage visuals for the Deutsches Theater, or working directly on editing brand films for Deutsche Luft und Raumfahrt, the focus is always on creating an exciting relationship between what is seen and what is heard. www.Lem- Studios.com

KEISUKE MIHARA is a Korean dancer who grew up in Japan. After working in Japan as a graphic designer he became a professional dancer connected with Folkwang Studio in Essen. He worked with choreographers such as Susanne Linke, Royston Maldom and Pina Bausch.

ELE BLEFFERT is a costume designer. She has worked mainly with Burgtheater Wien and Schauspielhaus Zürich. SWAN is her fourth collaboration with Hannah Ma.