Record of ancient things

Choreography: Petter Jacobsson and Thomas Caley
Music: Peter Rehberg

Record of ancient things © Arno Paul

Creation on June, 29th 2017 at the Opéra national de Lorraine (Nancy)

Choreography and scenography: Petter Jacobsson and Thomas Caley
Music: Peter Rehberg
Lights: Eric Wurtz
Costumes: Petter Jacobsson and Thomas Caley with the Atelier costume of the CCN – Ballet de Lorraine


« Through three choreographic scenarios - the stage, the club and the arena, we reflect upon our capacity and desire to be seen, and in action.

Record of ancient things looks at the performative act. Not just in the word’s meaning of representation but also in its functional and competitive incarnations. The three scenarios are played out in a transparent, glimmering space that allows us to see in it the classical stage, the shimmering club and the flashing cameras of a stadium; all platforms emblematic to the human performance.

The stage presents the opportunity for the spectacular desire to defy gravity.  Through a series of reinterpreted jump solos “all at once”, performers who barely manage to sustain their individual trajectory and highly egocentric agenda repeatedly inundate the stage.

In a groove of accumulation, the club scene evolves and transforms its disciplined community into an overindulgent baroque frenzy. Pushing and pulling, they again change their game and reconfigure the stage for competition.

The direction is clear, the agenda even more single minded. The continual performance of a single task reduces us to the level of a machine. Through a morphing series of sport vocabulary, the dance in the arena redefines again the group’s repeated efficiency of performance. 

Lost in their continued search for self-fulfillment they leave in search of yet another “world stage”. »

Petter Jacobsson and Thomas Caley

©Emilie Salquèbre

Petter Jacobsson and Thomas Caley

A creative team

Born in Stockholm, Petter Jacobsson started his studies in dance at the age of three and was further educated at the Royal Swedish Ballet School, he later graduated from the Vaganova Academy in St.Petersburg in 1982.

As a principal dancer with the Sadler’s Wells Royal Ballet in London between 1984 to 1993, he toured the globe dancing all of the renowned classical roles as well as appearing as guest artist with numerous international companies. In 1993, he moved to New York to begin a freelance career, working with Merce Cunningham in his Repertory Group, Twyla Tharp Dance Company, Irene Hultman Dance and later Deborah Hay.

The choreographer and dancer Thomas Caley was born in the United States. In 1992 he earned a BFA from Purchase College in upstate New York. After a year of performing in a multitude of independent projects in New York City he joined the Merce Cunningham Company.
From 1994 to 2000, he worked as a principal dancer with the company, touring throughout the world and participating in the creation of 12 new works by Cunningham. In 2000 he moved to Stockholm to continue his collaboration with Petter Jacobsson and to continue working as a freelance dancer in Europe, in France Thomas has worked with Boris Charmatz on the 50 ans de danse & flip book projects. As of 2011, Thomas Caley is the coordinator of research for the CCN - Ballet de Lorraine.

Petter and Thomas Caley started working as a creative team in the mid nineties, choreographing works for Martha@Mother, the Joyce Soho in New York and the choreography for the opera Staden at the Royal Opera in Stockholm, a commission for the 1998 Cultural capital of Europe.

In 1999, when Petter was appointed the artistic directorship of the Royal Swedish Ballet in Stockholm, they made the move to Europe to continue their artistic collaboration. An exceptional embodiment of their work for the RSB was the creating of two immense happenings,In nooks and crannies 2000 and 2001. The project included the Royal Ballet, Opera and Orchestra, as well as independent artists who took-over non-traditional, yet possible, performance spaces occupying the entire Royal Opera House of Stockholm. Petter received "Choreographer of the year 2002” from the Society of Swedish Choreographers in recognition of the modernisation of the Royal Swedish Ballet. 

After years of collaboration, Petter and Thomas established an independent dance company in 2005 - works include Nightlife, Unknown partner, Flux, No mans land- no lands  man,The nearest nearness – in 2002 they won a “Goldmask” for best choreography for the musical Chess with Björn Ulveus and Benny Andersson (ABBA).

As of 2011, Petter is leading and choreographing together with Thomas Caley for the CCN Ballet de Lorraine in Nancy : Untitled Partner #3, Performing Performing, Relâche, Armide, Discofoot, L’Envers, Record of Ancient Things, Happening Birthday. Their curating for the CCN invites as well a wide variety of artistic talent from around the world. Each invited creator joins in the active questioning of a specific theme. La saison de La 12/13, Tête à tête à têtes 13/14, Live 14/15, Folk + Danse = (R)évolution 15/16 and Des plaisirs inconnus 16/17, 50 ans ! 17/18. To insure a lively and non fixed use of the art form they continue their searching through installations for the Musée d’Art Moderne in Paris and Musée Pompidou Metz and an original initiative LAB-BLA-BAL, where a series of open house art experiments, workshops, and discussions are given at our choreographic center.


« Quel spectacle ! […] Cela s’effectue avec tant d’énergie, mais aussi d’insistance, que le regard reçoit cela comme une claque, possiblement agaçante, et se met à sauter lui-même. » 
Danser Canal Historique, 30 juin 2017, Gérard Mayen,

« Ancré dans l’espace de l’Opéra de Nancy, comme conscient du lourd passé dont il est l’héritier, Petter Jacobsson réussit le tour de force d’inscrire ce Centre Chorégraphique National dans une lignée contemporaine qui pourrait être celle de l’effervescence, ou mieux, celle du politique. », 7 juin 2017, François Maurisse,

« Record of ancient things, une création de quarante minutes pleine d’énergie où les vingt danseurs de la Compagnie dispensent avec un engagement rare une danse bondissante. »
Inferno Magazine, 3 juillet 2017, Emmanuel Serafini,