Alexandra Bachzetsis

Alexandra Bachzetsis (born 1974 in Zurich) is an artist, performer and choreographer based in Zurich. Her professional background includes a wide range of disciplines: theatre, dance and visual arts. She studied at the Zürcher Kunstgymnasium (CH), the Dimitrischule in Verscio (CH) and the Performance Education Program at the STUK arts centre in Leuven (BE). She then continued to post-graduate level at Das Arts, the Advanced Research in Theatre and ?Dance Studies centre in Amsterdam (NL). During her training years, she began to work as a dancer in contemporary dance and performance context, collaborating among others with Sasha Waltz & Guests in Berlin (D) and with Les Ballets C. de la B. in Gent (BE), where she worked with Christine De Smedt and Koen Augustijnen. Since 2001, she has been working independently, producing and presenting her own work in theatres and contemporary art venues.

Her work constitutes an inquiry into genres of performing arts, techniques of choreography and forms of scenic behaviour. Bachzetsis’ main interest lies in codes that govern gestures, both in everyday life and on stage. Her choreography scrutinises the mutual influence between the use of gesture and movement in the ‘low’, ‘commercial’ genres – such as romantic comedy, TV soap, or hip-hop video-clip – and in ‘arts’, such as ballet, modern dance and performance. Bachzetsis arrives at new ideas in dance performance inducing a productive crossing and translation between the hitherto isolated or even mutually exclusive cultural fields. In her performances, Bachzetsis takes on stereotyped modes of representation of female body in contemporary popular culture, show business and sex industry. She diverts clichés of commodified femininity and idolized masculinity to use them as building blocks in a new, consistent formal language that becomes tool of self-reflection and means to empowerment.

As a choreographer and (sometimes solo) dancer/performer, Alexandra Bachzetsis authored and co-authored “Perfect” (Antwerp, 2001), “Showing” (Berlin, 2002), “Karen Eliot” (in collaboration with Eva Meyer-Keller and Uta Eisenreich, Zurich, 2003), “Show Dance”?(Brussels, 2004), “Best Of” (in collaboration with Anat Stainberg, Amsterdam 2004), “Murder Mysteries” (in collaboration with Danai Anesiadou, Brussels, 2004), “Gold” (Zurich, 2004), “Secret ?Instructions” (in collaboration with Julia Born, Amsterdam, 2005), “Handwerk” (Amsterdam, 2005), “Undressed' (Zurich, 2005), “Musical”(Gent 2006), “Mainstream” (in collaboration with Yan Duyvendak, Zürich 2007), “ACT” (in collaboration with Lies Vanborm and Tina Bleuler, Dresden 2007). “This side up” (single-channel video and text print in collaboration with Julia Born, London, ? 2007), “Soirée” (in collaboration with Lies Vanborm and Tina Bleuler, Zurich, 2008), “Dream Season” (Zurich, 2008), “Dancing” (with participation of students of Rietveld Academy, Amsterdam 2009), “Bluff” (Zurich, 2009), “Rehearsal (Ongoing)” (two-channel video, Glarus, 2010) and “A Piece Danced Alone” (Zurich, 2011).

In 2007, Bachzetsis received the Migros Kulturprozent Jubilee Award. In that same year she?co-founded the artists collective ‘Company’ together with Lies Vanborm and Tina Bleuler. In 2008 she took part in the 5th Berlin Biennial for Contemporary Art and had a major solo exhibition “SHOW”, curated by Adam Szymczyk at the Kunsthalle Basel, where she premiered a new performance “Dream Season”. In 2009 she received a grant for choreography of the city of Zurich and 2010 an award for performance “Bluff” from the culture department of canton Basel-Land. In 2010 Bachzetsis presented her work in a group exhibition “Performative Structures. New Existentialism, Part 1”, curated by Alexandra Blättler at Alte Fabrik in Rapperswil (CH) and the performance “Secret Instructions” as well as new video work “Rehearsal (Ongoing)” were shown in her individual exhibition “Play” at Kunsthaus Glarus (CH), within the framework of the project “Performative Structures”, curated by Sabine Rusterholz. She won the Swiss Art Award 2011 and was nominated for the DESTE Prize 2011 in Athens, Greece. In 2012 she won the Swiss Performance Prize and her work Etude was included in dOCUMENTA (13).