back to the homepageAll material is copyrighted. Click to read the details.find an artistwhat´s going downwho are we and what do we do?
back to the homepageback to the homepagewhat´s new & the site all about itOrdering Back issues of Arts Dialoguesubmit material / help with our work

Erika Batdorf

movement, choreography, teacher in dance/mime, Canada

Erika Batdorf has been called an avant garde performance artist, a comic actress and a dancer. Her background in disciplined movement training, traditional acting and her experience as a writer come together in highly moving solo shows.

Je t'attends: facing east, a 75 minute solo (including 3 'pauses') performance where different relationships to death, anger, grief and joy are explored. Using song, speech and movement as physical prayers, to invoke the souls of three of Batdorf's mentors, the piece crosses the line between dance and performance art.

Erika Batdorf performing at the Nine Dargonheads Environment Arts Festival in South Korea in 2004.
Photo: Sonja van Kerkhoff.

Erika Batdorf has performed, directed and choreographed original movement theatre since 1983.
Her solo works have appeared in such places as the Smithsonian Institute, The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, the Landegg Academy in Switzerland and Harvard University. Her work has been presented at teh Movement Theater Festival International and the Women's Theater Festival in Philadelphia, Repertory Theatre in Providence, RI, and in NYC for PS122, Dixon Place, Stella Adler Conservatory and So Grand Studio's Movement Theater Festival. Batdorf was a featured performer at the UN Global Summit in Copenhagen and was movement director for King Lear with Kristin Linklater and Carol Gillagan's The Company of Women in which Linklater played Lear.

Performance during the 9th Nine Dragonheads Environment Arts Festival in the Cheong-Ju City Art Gallery, South Korea, 2004.

Sonja van Kerkhoff.

Photo: Sonja van Kerkhoff.

Performance at the 2nd Performances Conditionelles Festival, Taller, France, 2003
Photos: Sonja van Kerkhoff

A 45 min choreographic piece with a ten year old child in six locations along a circular path in the festival grounds, which was repeated continuously. The piece included 10 minute breaks between a few of the locations, such as lying and singing inside a feathered tree trunk and sleeping in 'garden' area. The work started with movements on the roof of the tower of the factory building. Batdorf then moved down the stairs and through the gallery part of the building, where the audience, learnt to move as she approached them, if they were on the stairs.
The movements were influenced by a theme at each location. These were "independent investigation", "balance", "prayer", "trust" and "power" and she also interacted with a carved sculpture by the another festival guest, the Romanian artist, Maximus Dumitras. She also moved on or into the sculpture's Christophe Doucet, such as getting into the feathered tree trunk, in which the ten year child was waiting. They also performed in and around a bath (full of water).

Above Right: This part of the work concerned the themes of "balance" and "trust", where Batdorf balances the sculpture by Maximus Dumitras on her shoulders while the child follows her steps over and around the sculpture by Christophe Doucet.

Right and Below: This part of the work was influenced by the theme of "power". The child tried to touch the stick, which symbollised "rules" or "laws" and once he grabbed it, then dropped it, at the moment that Batdorf drops it as well.

Tama and Erika performing at the 2nd Performances Conditionelles Festival, France, 2003.
Sculpture by Christophe Doucet on the left.

Performance at the 2nd Performances Conditionelles Festival, Taller, France, 2003

Performance by Erika and Tama at the Performances Conditionnelles arts festival, Taller, France. Photos: Sonja van Kerkhoff.

"Kid…" piercingly performed… compassionately written and telling a compelling story… It works as a fairytale, with the horrors as relentless and as saddening as only a children's narrative can be… Batdorf has time to animate 5 characters-verbally, visually, or both, plus drawing some of them on a blackboard-and she does it admirably." The National Post, Toronto, November, 2001.

Kid, performed and created by Erika Batdorf, Canada, is a 45-minute solo piece in which the main character is a four year old coming to terms with a forgotten mystery. Through this endearing child, the audience is led to a painful and compelling analogy of childhood trauma.

Mr Raisin Head, performed and choreographed by Erika Batdorf, Canada, is a comic monologue told by a lascivious character stuck in his head and obsessed by water. As he looks for his true self, he meets some amazing characters, including Purity and Justice. Photo: Peter J. Crowley.
"... In the process he begins to discover a personal philosophy and a new way of perceiving the world."
The Village Voice, NYC, 1999.

text to come

Batdorf taught at Brandeis University, Emerson College and the University
of Alaska in Anchorage, and at the Boston Conservatory, U.S.A.
She ran The Batdorf School For Movement Theater
where a number teachers gave courses ranging from spirituality and
performance, to choreography, voice, acting, and workshops on
the physical and emotional aspects of movement until 2002.

The watcher and the watched, a 90 minutes (including 45 minutes of audience discussion).

This lecture performance explores gender stereotyping in a provocative, humorous and informative light using movement and costume. Batdorf performs dressed as a man, as a woman and 'neutrally' in gym clothes.

  • Letter & Photograph: Arts Dialogue, September 1995
  • Artist Profile: BAFA newsletter, June1994

Arts Dialogue, Dintel 20, NL 7333 MC, Apeldoorn, The Netherlands