Unplush / Marion Zurbach

Unplush / Marion Zurbach / June Johnson Dance Prize 2019 04
© BAK Gregory Batardon

Unplush / Marion Zurbach

June Johnson Dance Prize 2019

Marion Zurbach set up the artist collective Unplush in Bern in 2015. Its members comprise artists from a range of disciplines including dance, theatre, electronic music, the visual arts and poetry slam who together explore the vast potential of performative formats. Marion Zurbach was born in Marseille in 1984 and began her dance training at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Danse Roland Petit before moving in 2000 to the Atelier Rudra Béjart in Lausanne; there, two years later, she embarked on her professional dance career in Maurice Béjart’s Company M. She then worked at the Balletto di Firenze, and was a soloist at the Bern Ballet and the dance company Konzert Theater Bern. In 2018 she completed a Master’s in Expanded Theater at the Bern University of the Arts. Her artistic team also includes Vittorio Bertolli, Maria Demandt, Fhunyue Gao, Irene Andreetto and Peter Cripps Clark. Martina Langmann supports the collective as cultural manager. In 2018 Unplush was awarded a three-year sponsorship from PRAIRIE, the co-production model of Migros Culture Percentage for innovative Swiss theatre and dance companies.

Encompassing an array of formats, artistic cooperations and venues, Unplush’s productions target a wide audience. “My Box” and “Fried Air” toured throughout Switzerland as part of the young artists’ festival Tanzfaktor in 2016, while “Flipper” (2017) was performed at venues including the Bad Festival in Bilbao. In addition to its artistic productions, Unplush organises “Unplush invites”, an event format programming electronic music with live performances, and the “Amaclub”, a creative platform for amateur dancers of all ages. For the upcoming season Marion Zurbach is preparing productions including “Les promises” with teenage girls from Marseille’s banlieues, which will be shown at the Dampfzentrale in spring 2020.

Beate Engel, Stanley Thomas Johnson Foundation:

“Since it was founded in 2015, Unplush has become one of the most exciting young companies in Switzerland. 2017’s ‘Flipper’, about the supposed suicide of the famous TV dolphin and ‘every child’s friend’, bears all the hallmarks of Unplush’s work. The far-fetched story forms the basis for a cheeky and witty experiment with the audience about the persuasiveness of fake news and the mechanisms of the entertainment industry that is of high theatrical and dance quality. Outreach and working with non-professionals are a major part of Unplush’s artistic activities. But what’s most impressive about the group is its love of absurd tales staged with virtuosity and humour.