Goldberg Variations (2010)

duration: 52 minutes
music: Goldberg Variations, BWV988 – Johann Sebastian Bach, recorded by Glen Gould in 1981
dance – Jurij Konjar


In 2007 Jurij Konjar started looking at Walter Verdin’s video work ‘Goldberg Variations’, based on Steve Paxton’s performance ‘The Goldberg Variations by J.S. Bach, played by Glen Gould, improvised by Steve Paxton’. In 2009, through a chain of events and choices he began practicing regularly; dancing the whole piece every day of the following year. The official premiere of Goldberg Variations was in Vienna in October 2010.


(an exert from an email, written to Steve Paxton on 15.12.2009):
‘After I got over the copying of your way of moving, which happened pretty fast, I started focusing more on what I could see you were busy with, beyond the form.
I saw you use the form as means to an end; which I find is an interesting thing to observe in a dance, or a dancer; but I really felt the form was just a piece in the puzzle. The real process I was witnessing was communication – the real-time flow of information, where we don’t only see the end product, but where the process is laid bare in front of us.
I felt in what you did there is no time; in the sense that there is no past and then the comment on the past, which would then be the future. There is only a series of moments, where any moment is opened to change at any point, once new information is taken into account. I was watching and what I saw was an ongoing moment.
In the same way time is not cut into small pieces, neither is the body. It’s a unity and within it there happens what I called “finding exits”; looking for a door to open and guide the movement through there, not running behind an idea conceived in the mind, but thinking from the body. If I’d have to name it in one word, I’d call it Patience.
I found if I was to address your work, addressing these themes was much more important then simply putting on black trousers and copying some movements.
These themes are also what interests me in your work now and, should we have a coffee or get in a studio tomorrow, this is what I would ask you about.’

Public presentations and the working process:
9., 10. 1. 2010 – a public presentation of the beginning of the Goldberg Variations creative process on the main stage of CK Španski Borci, Ljubljana, Slovenia
January – March 2010 – a residency for the Goldberg Variations creation – Espacio Corpo, Buenos Aires, Argentina
14. 3. 2010 – public presentation – Teatro Perro, Buenos Aires, Argentina
15. 3. 2010 – one-day workshop on Goldberg Variations – Teatro Perro, Buenos Aires, Argentina
24. 4. 2010 – public presentation – Scores 2010, Tanzquartier Dunaj, Avstrija
23.10.2010 – public presentation – Joji studio, Brussels, Belgium
17.10.2010 – public presentation Cellule 133, Brussels, Belgium
25.7.2010 – unofficial pre-premiere: Mad Brook Farm studio, East Charleston, Vermont, USA
14.3.2010 – public presentation, Teatro del Perro, Buenos Aires


18. in 19. 11. 2010 – Tanzquartier Wien, Leopold Museum


19, 20.2.2011 – MOVE exhibition, Haus der Kunst, Munchen, Germany
27.2.2011 – Dijaški dom Tabor, Ljubljana
20.5.2011 – Jornadas de Investigacion, IUNA, Buenos Aires, Argentina
5.6.2011, Bunker/SMEEL, Ljubljana
30.5.2011, Goldberg Variations, Chasse theatre, Breda, The Netherlands
4.9.2011, P.A.R.T.S. /Rosas, Bruselj, Belgium
24.9.2011, Uferstudio 14, Berlin, Germany
27.11.2011,  Old Music New Dance festival, center Stary Browar, Poznan, Poland
17.4.2012, Goldberg Variations performance, UFBA Salvador da Bahia
3.5.2012, a Goldberg Variations run, Casa del Tango, Paris, France
9.5.2012 – Bouge B festival, De Singel, Antwerpen, Belgium
7.6. 2012 – Cross-over festival, Helsinki, Finland
24. 9. 2012 – Uferstudios, Berlin, Germany
8.12.2012 – Dance Gate / Modul dance – University of Nicosia, Nikosia, Cyprus
15.12.2012 – Room Dances festival, Hateiva theatre, Tel Aviv, Israel
20.12.2012 – Sareyyet Ramallah, Palestine
5.1.2013 – Duncan Dance Research Center, Modul Dance residency, Athens, Greece
21.5.2013 – Thousand Threads 3 festival, Dansehallerne, Copenhagen, Denmark
11 8. 2013 – (an extract) Contactfestival Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany
6.10.2013 – at The Conscious Body II, La Briqueterie, Paris, France
1.11.2013 – Salmon festival, Graner, Barcelona (with Dani Espasa live on harpsichord)
17.5.2014 – Akropoditi Dance Centre Syros, Greece
24.5.2014 – El Escorial, Teatro Real Coliseo de Carlos III, Madrid, Spain (with Dani Espasa live on harpsichord)
26.2.2015 – Swaying Vienna, Vienna, Tanzquartier Halle G, Dunaj, Austria
5.,6.,7.6.2015 – L’Auditori de Barcelona, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain (with Dani Espasa live on harpsichord)
9.3.2019 – Culturgest, Lizbona, at the opening of the exhibition “Drafting interior techniques” on Steve Paxton’s work
11.3.2019 – L’Asilo, Napoli, Italy
3.5.2019 – Xesc Forteza municipal theatre, Palma de Mallorca, Catalonia (with Dani Espasa live on harpsichord)
28.6.2019 – Bunker/SMEEL, as part of Igrišče za Gledališče, Ljubljana, Slovenia
30.6.2019 – Bunker/SMEEL, as part of Igrišče za Gledališče, Ljubljana, Slovenia
12.7.2019 – SVŠGL, auditorium of Umetniška Gimnazija, Ljubljana, Slovenia
21.2.2020 – Azkuna Zentroa, Bilbao, at the opening of the exhibition “Drafting interior techniques” on Steve Paxton’s work
10.10.2020 – NDK, Sofia, as a part of the Antistatic festival
23.10.2020 – Mû pied, Valcivieres (Auvergne), at the end of the Dancing Goldberg Variations workshop

More whole-performance videos are available here


External links:
the Goldberg observations, a Contact Quarterly publication
Improvising Improvisation by Gary Peters, chapter 16

This project was supported by the Slovenian Ministry of Culture and co-produced by TanzQuartier Wien.