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Part of the series Choreography or ELSE

“My Private Bio-politics” performance by Saša Asentić was from the beginning conceived as an open research within the field of dance and performance in Eastern-European transitional context. It arose as a part of a perennial research and artistic project called „Indigo Dance“ in which a number of associates of different profiles were included – performer and culture worker Saša Asentić, ballerina, dancer, and choreographer Olivera Kovačević – Crnjanski, performing arts and culture theoretician and dramaturge Ana Vujanović, as well as others – and is realized through different work formats: in addition to the performance, there are also a CD presentation “Bal-Can-Can Susie Dance” and historical archive/video installation “Tiger’s Leap into the Past” and “Recycle Bin” as its addition.

Author and performer: Saša Asentić
Assistance: Olivera Kovačević-Crnjanski
Theoretical support and dramaturgy: Ana Vujanović

Duration: 55 minutes

Premiere date: 11th February 2007

Place of premiere: Serbian National Theatre – Novi Sad, Serbia

Supported by: Performance is made in co-production with Centre national de la danse – Paris, research in residency (Theorem Dance residencies), and is prepared within interdisciplinary dramaturgical trainings of THe FaMa in Belgrade and Dubrovnik. Performance is supported by DanceWEB (with the support of the Cultural Programme 2000 of the European Union within the frame of danceWEB Europe).

This work tries to deal with its own macro and micro conditions in which it appears.

For the beginning, to make them visible because of specification of mechanisms and procedures of the production of dance on Serbian scene. Then, to intervene. However, this led to a series of questions which were left without final answers. Finally, these questions, in their complexity, became the main intervention which this work is going to try to carry out. 

The questions spring from the problem of positioning within relations of global and local bio-powers and bio-politics of dance in Serbia today. How to locate “one’s own (private and public) specificity”? And what is to be done with it bearing in mind the tensions between local ideologies and global expectations related to these ideologies: evacuate it from the work in order to achieve successful communication (or coquetting) with the global, that is, Western, trends, in which this specificity is not included; or to base the work on it even at the cost of failure, i.e. exclusion from conceptual-programmatic map of the international scene? Furthermore, does the former strategy gives us “a right to discourse” or is this decided at a completely different place and by means of completely different procedures?

Which ”bodies” are imprinted in the body that is dancing today on the Serbian scene? For example, which bodies (coming from this specific context) are projected, through expectations of a hypothetical “Western curator, and by this a spectator as well, almost as a genetically determined feature/difference from the “Western one”?
Where the particularity of that context is, in its contemporaneity, very gloomy – that context is not a part of the First World, it is not EU, it is still called the East (even though the West is not called “West” any more), it is post-socialist in the capitalist world, and it is terribly transitional, without a single bit of “flexibility and nomadism” which would make it exotic.
Which are, on the local dance scene, the bodies that hover dancing in the air here, over an “indigo paper” (carbon copy), without being “grounded” in such a context, and which are moved by a wish to be contemporary, maybe even resistant? And then again, which are the other bodies that would carry the local specificity, for which, in fact, neither we ourselves want to know? Nevertheless, if we construct and show them, although we would rather not… which bio-politics are we executing? Isn’t it not already a contribution to some other bio-power? Local? Or…? Where, in this (inter)space are this work and the politics of the body that will perform it in a public space, which we share and in which we continue to live?





Saša Asentić has interest in re-thinking and experiencing (performer’s) state of “I am…” through differentiation and understanding of actual reality (current situation in transitional society and performing arts scene) through artistic / social / political (re)actions.
He has experience as author, co-author and performer in different performative forms in diverse contexts (since 1998).
Individually or together with his colleagues, he has initiated several international and collaborative performing arts projects: workshops, seminars, festivals, etc (since 2000).
His work was presented in different festivals and art centers in USA, France, Germany, Austria, Spain, Portugal, Finland, Greece, Ireland, Poland, Lithania, Romania, Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Macedonia, etc. (since 2000).
Asentić has autodidactic informal education in the field of performing arts (since 1995), he is initiator of the artistic organization Per.Art (2005) and author and leader of program „Art and Inclusion“ for mentally disabled people (since 1999).
He took part in ex.e.r.ce 2008 program in Centre choregraphique national Montpellier and in 6m1L extenssion project in 2009 in PAF (France) and IN-presentable festival (Spain).
He collaborates with Ana Vujanović, Xavier Le Roy, Eszter Salamon, Bojana Cvejić, Olivera Kovačević Crnjanski and others.
Asentić studied Agriculture and Pedagogy at University in Novi Sad, Serbia.

Page on interview with Sasa Asentic and Ana Vujanovic at Dance Theater Workshop in New York City. March 9th 2009

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…A Bosnian who lives in Serbia, Asentić decided on lecture-performance format not because he, as he noticed self-ironically, “wouldn’t be able to produce a dance piece,” but first of all, to raise the issues dealing the way of functioning and codes of dance concern. In “My Private Biopolitics” the performer is toying with quotes of Western-European role-models like Jérôme Bel and Xavier Le Roy, and opposes clichés of “exotic,” “awkward” and “old-fashioned”, with which an Eastern-European artist has to fight against, if they wish to endure on an international market. (Berlin, Germany)
Reviews –Shows – Burning questions
Tanz im August Festival 2007


…Productions like Sasa Asentic΄'s which do not hold the terrified and terrifying mask of contemporaneity up to their audiences' face, fare better. Sasa Asentic΄ plays around with the trauma in a humorous and funny way, keeping his ironical distance to the mask without denying both the artistic and economic necessity to deal with it.
Balkan Dance Platform 2007 Journal (Athens, Greece)
The Fear of Representation, or Reifying the Weosft eCronn Itmemagpeo raneity
Gerald Siegmun

...In this critical look at the Serbian dance scene, Mr. Asentic also explores larger issues in the world of contemporary dance. His observations, through text and movement, delve into questions of marketability and what constitutes authentic Eastern European dance...

...There are many levels to “My private bio-politics” — a good thing — yet its message is simple: Always break the rules.

The New York Times (New York, USA)

...Serbian artist Sasa Asentic directly addresses the question of the creative distribution system, deconstructing the absurd processes, expectations, and outcomes it produces. He uses linguistic tricks borrowed from theorists, picking apart their practical quandaries, all the while constructing his argument and, by extension, this particular performance...


...Critical and self-reflexive, Asentic exposes and exploits the absurd conditions that exist within our cultural systems, laughing but aware of the consequences that come when those at the margins are brought into the center.

What's particularly enticing about the artist's implicit thesis is that by participating as audience members at his debut US performance - that is, in purchasing his performance product through the distribution modes of the West - we become part of the dialectic in the immediate moment of the performance as it happens.

It's hard to make ontological pluralism or theory of any kind entertaining, but Asentic succeeds spectacularly.

Gay City News (New York, USA)

Modes Of Production

Brian McCormick



…At first site, “My Private Biopolitics” is mainly a text, a conceptual piece, bordering with lecture-performance genre.And then again, as this short council unfolds, it becomes more obvious how Asentić arranged this small piece with quotations and repeated parts, an astonishing shifts of perspective and subtle shifts of context, as well as alternations of closed and complex sequences of movement.

Every sentence, every reminiscence and gesture flows back into discourse on contemporary dance and its conditions in different context. Of course, as a performative practice which Asentić, with such an ease, managed to interweave in a formally completed étude that made it more tangible, and in the same time more convincing, for it lacks any kind of artificial or didactic stance.

Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung (Frankfurt, Germany)

My Private Biopolitics” in Frankfurt Mousonturm




MY PRIVATE BIO-POLITICS: A Performance on the Paper Floor (Third phase) for MOVE 10


Tiger’s Leap into the Past (evacuated genealogy)

The New York Times


Media, performace and politics


Scena (in Serbian; page 37 – 51)

Of the present of the body by Bojana Bauer




Andraž Golc


Dance is, similarly to music, by its tradition some sort of 'pure' art. Pure, because it realizes the aesthetical effect more directly and primarily than the language does. In other words: dance is attractive because it is mute. A body, being the main organ of dance articulation, is mute. Furthermore, when talking about contemporary dance, which has given the body additional theatre expressive devices, we can talk about aesthetics all of which are, again, in connection with the way the choreographer wants a body to be handled with, ie with his attitude towards the body. Jérôme Bel, for example, brings to his memory bodies in dialogue with mass culture discourse, while, on the other side, while watching bodies closed in precise organic-mimetic minimalism, we think about Xavier Le Roy.


Saša Asentić puts in front of us comment dance. In his case, the body speaks and while speaking, it talks about itself. Instead of a body in front of discourse (presence in front of a language), he offers us a body in discourse. We could say that it is all about performance-lecture, but this statement would not be precise enough. The essence is in dance, the one that is present in its absence, with Asentić’s witty remarks.


The question that arises is: what kind of show an East-European artist (dancer) should make to draw attention? It goes without saying that being noticed means the same as staying alive. It represents a source of income and a chance to organize on other locations already active shows, as well as a chance to create new ones. In other words: to be noticed, you do not have to be an artist. This truth mostly bothers an artist, on the field of his creativity freedom. The problem that occurs in Asentić's correspondence reading, quoting, and representation of materials for his projects is present to the same degree as in subordinated-stereotypical perspective of West and East which is being kept alive by coordination of an international net of critics and theoreticians about art historization and contemporary aesthetic trends, and also like in inertion of Eastern (in Asentić's context Balkanian) scene that came to his dream like an elephant trained to respond to it by rhetoric, while the elephant itself moves with great difficulties. He asks himself, with ironic sharpness, whether the destiny of dance in Eastern Europe is to continually sink into oblivion, on one hand doomed to its local context and exoticity, and, on the other hand, to refusal of Western aesthetics.


In conclusion, Asentić offers us dance that consists of caricatured choreographies of well-known names of modern dance (among them important places are taken by the above mentioned Jérôme Bel and Xavier Leroy) and a video clip (made from the ground floor) without a comment that in the end he satisfies Western aesthetic standards to apply for a festival, which opens him the door to the world.


The joke is delicately brutal and the message brings us directly down to earth: freedom in art is relative and territorially conditioned. Geopolitically colored dance valuation forces dancers to develop a strategy of aesthetic manipulation with their own bodies, which is, at the same time, their surviving strategy – their own biopolitics.




Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung

Between the seats

“My Private Biopolitics” in Frankfurt Mousonturm


Frankfurt. It is a short journey between East and West. But then again, entire worlds lie between the two theatre spheres, which Saša Asentić in “My Private Biopolitics” started to measure over while talking, contemplating mainly in a choreographic-theoretic, therefore practical way. On the left, there appears dance scene as the core abstract frame, as a discourse platform of conceptual strategies with video, sketches and stacks of texts while the right side presents stylized mine field, on which there’s barely anything, except for an icon and, serving as its mirror, a graphics showing a dancer like Loie Fuller or Mary Wigman, with a shiny golden frame.

The space between is basically the one thing that entire Asentić’s performance moves around. This is the performance with which the artist from Bosnia, living in Novi Sad, presented himself for the first time in Frankfurt Mousonturm. Because, the essence of this extraordinary light, and at the same time highly concentrated and continually, pleasantly comic work, is nothing short than contemporary dance itself. And, as far as this subject is concerned, the answers to all those questions asked to someone living in Serbia, who happens to be a dancer there, a socialized artist, he is trying to find in the West. Should he thematize the political context, to give way to traditional dance, or even folklore, so that he, as an outsider, could present himself as refreshingly interesting? Or is he contemplating on Avant-garde from Jérôme Bel to Xavier Leroy, so that he himself could become a part of an international discourse? But, how can that function, to refer to great masters without making a simple “ornament” out of them? How to find your own language and choreographies, without becoming corrupt? At first site, “My Private Biopolitics” is mainly a text, a conceptual piece, bordering with lecture-performance genre.

And then again, as this short council unfolds, it becomes more obvious how Asentić arranged this small piece with quotations and repeated parts, an astonishing shifts of perspective and subtle shifts of context, as well as alternations of closed and complex sequences of movement.

Every sentence, every reminiscence and gesture flows back into discourse on contemporary dance and its conditions in different context. Of course, as a performative practice which Asentić, with such an ease, managed to interweave in a formally completed étude that made it more tangible, and in the same time more convincing, for it lacks any kind of artificial or didactic stance.


As “work in regress” (the way that artist characterized his work in the meantime), “My Private Biopolitics” does not show itself simply as a dilemma in form of performance, but in the same time as a way to overcome it through dance, completely in the sense of what Boris Groy said: The basic difference between the Eastern and the Western art is, as performer quoted, the fact that Eastern art always comes from the East. Asentić probably doesn’t believe in that. But he is working on it.




Thanks to Saša Asentić for his close follow up and allowing  us to show to penetrate his process so close to his body/mind,

Marlon Barrios Solano

Dance-techTV Producer

Choreography on ELSE: Contemporary Experiments on the Performance of Motion




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  • Big up Sasa !

    Good luck with your performance!

    I hope you remember me....:)))





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