Hamburger Allee

Hamburger Allee by Henriette Pedersen was a theatrical dance performance in which Pedersen based her work in unexplained prejudices and ideas about identity, and where she literally dressed the performers in stereotypes as politically incorrect characters.


(Objekt ID 750)
Object type Production
Premiere September 7, 2006
Produced by Nartmanstiftelsen
Coproducers Black Box Teater
Audience Adults
Keywords Dance, Theatre, Dance theatre, Music, Tragicomedy/Seriocomedy, Contemporary dance, Performance
Running period September 7, 2006  
Website henriettepedersen

In Hamburger Allee choreographer Henriette Pedersen collaborated with the composer Lars Petter Hagen, who deconstructed Western musical history, exemplified through Wagner, for the occasion, in what was presented as a humorous comment to terms such as tradition and history.

In her former work Henriette Pedersen has searched for the underlying - the hidden, secret, the lies and the erotic - the clandestine reality we silently employ. With the performance concept Utidig innsyn (2000) she questions the autonomy and authenticity of the arts seen from the art gallery. In Small Stick Big Bird (2004) elements of performance art and the theatre was included when she took up working with staged characters and sound as a vital part of the conceptual whole of the piece.

With Hamburger Allee Pedersen continued the theatrical and staged work within the confines of her absurd and imaginary world, while investigating the term identity re-contextualized into a cliché-festered and unresolved western culture. Her approach was ironic and debating.

In Hamburger Allee Pedersen put together a performance project in which she aspired for the elements to be of equal importance. The result was a production about unclear relations within a group of people. The people apparently related to one another after a given set of rules, being absurd, perverted and burlesque, but also part of a clear and consistent framework.

In the program of Black Box Teater the production was presented in the following manner:

”Hamburger Allee is neither Hamburg nor Germany, but perhaps the place where we all are situated - at home - in the politically incorrect bomb-shelter of the living room, where we act out our normality. Almost uniformed the dancers enter a game in which all have double agendas and where the private lives are maintained in hiding. But underneath the political mask we often carry, we are just comical, neurotic, paranoid, perverted – and really rather normal – at least seen with the quirky, queer look of Henriette Pedersen."

Henriette Pedersen herself described the production like this, in an article about Oktoberdans in the newspaper Bergens Tidende:
"- I work with outré characters, and the piece has a narrative structure, but the story is broken down all the time. Composer Lars Petter Hagen is central, he deconstructs the music of Wagner. The piece is a parallel deconstruction of music and action. The performance is very theatrical. Audiences tend to laugh and cry during my productions. It may happen here too. "

The BIT Teatergarasjen performance program said the following about Hamburger Allee (excerpts):

"With Hamburger Allee Pedersen comment the objectified body in choreographies where the aloof performers provoke bodily fluids in extroverted hypersexual or asexual (depending on the eye of the beholder, but definitely sexual!) movement patterns. We encounter dancers involved with physical tasks (with elements of propaganda, self defence and function) who at times perform equal movements and actions, but with a diametrically opposite consequence. The performers continue into functional actions where they (literally) create the system they are a part of - the performers are themselves putting up the framework of the "gesamtkunstverk" where situation, function, sound and movement is established from stage."

"In Hamburger Allee the collaborators are developing characters with extensive underlying biographies to contribute to the physical play on stage. But to Henriette Pedersen a work on character-development is not in order to create a mute situation-based theatre, but rather a tool to construct impetus, motivation and credibility to the relations realized on stage. The performers are greatly supported in the costume design of Maria Bolin, who together with Pedersen are placing a clear narrative lead on the performers: Man in lamb-foetus-fur, (or "Persian fur") with puffed sleeves; woman, (or is it a man?) - in a completely covering jump-suit with mask. Pedersen continues with Hamburger Allee to comment man as animal - or objectified sensuous being, next to the fascination for the extreme diversity that exists in the forbidden or taboo-festered ritual sexual underground."

"Meaning - or "the perception of significance, explanation or reason for something" - is a compilation of experiences such as smell, taste, form and colour. Hamburger Allee can be explained as a collapse of understanding after being presented with a series of experiences that seemingly lead to a meaning. The characters battle defined roles and physical challenges that lead us to the understanding of a system, but as always with systems, they are unintelligible from the outside - what does it mean? What sense do the performers' practical and dysfunctional actions make?"

"Composer Lars Petter Hagen stops the role-play of the performers by letting them sample and play back Wagner through megaphones. The music becomes a concrete and poetic comment to terms such as tradition and history. The use of Wagner, with unresolved aspects such as his anti-Semitism and the use of his music in propaganda, is in itself problematic, but when Pedersen and Hagen employs his music, it is first of all with love and care for the romantic composer."

Hamburger Allee was supported by Arts Council Norway, The Audio Visual Fund, The Fund for Performing Artists and The Norwegian Composers’ Fund.

Sources: Vallat, Marianne Dyrnes, Tom Klev og Kristian Selthun (2006). Black Box Teater Oslo. Høsten 2006. Black Box Teater Oslo [Oslo], 8-9.

Gorseth, Olav (18.10.2006). Utstillingsvinduet Oktoberdans. Bergens Tidende,, 01.12.2010,

BIT Teatergarasjen, Oktoberdans 2006. From the program of the performance plus internet text, 11.09.2010: BIT Teatergarasjen

Contributors (11)
Name Role
Henriette Pedersen – Choreography
Lars Petter Hagen – Composition
Dagny Drage Kleiva – Stage design
Maria Bohlin – Costume
Magne Mattsson – Costume
Inger Johanne Byhring – Lighting design
Sissel Merete Bjørkli – Dancer
Siri Jøntvedt – Dancer
Erlend Samnøen – Dancer
Marianne Skjeldal – Dancer
Sveinn Fannar Johannsson – Photo
Performance dates
March 23, 2007Teaterhuset Avant Garden Show
March 22, 2007Teaterhuset Avant Garden Show
October 19, 2006 18:00 – Scene USF, USF Verftet Show
October 18, 2006 18:00 – Scene USF, USF Verftet Show
September 10, 2006Store scene Black Box Teater (Marstrandgata) Show
September 9, 2006Store scene Black Box Teater (Marstrandgata) Show
September 8, 2006Store scene Black Box Teater (Marstrandgata) Show
September 7, 2006Store scene Black Box Teater (Marstrandgata) Worldwide premiere
Festivals (1)
Oktoberdans October 18, 2006
Press coverage

"Henriette Pedersen is a choreographer with a luscious, visual imagination. In former productions she has taken use of the art world’s traditions and customs. Since then she has approached the theatre conventions with the same liberating naughtiness."

Melanie Fieldseth, Bergens Tidende