The Phantom Layer

Salva Sanchis


Whatever we do, wherever we go, we leave traces. But other people have left traces before us, and now these traces precede us. We are inscribed in space; our humanity is shaped into buildings, roads, furniture, vessels. And as our technological compulsion drives us to unimagined territories, we are even inscribed in nature. Our history, our possibilities, they are all materialized and lie in front of us, all around us. The question is not “what can we create?”, but “what can we change?”. The question is not “who am I?”, but “how am I different?” and “what can I do?”. 

The Phantom Layer is a piece about limited possibilities and unlimited outcomes. It is about the story we write in order to make sense of what hasn’t happened yet. It is about eternal repetition and about freedom. It is about the dance we all dance, and which makes us unique.

Two and a half year after the group piece now h e r e Salva Sanchis creates The Phantom Layer. The two performances form the backbone of the oeuvre Salva Sanchis is building. After the search for a simple translation of complex movement materials in now h e r e, Salva chooses in The Phantom Layer for a multi-layered, versatile structure on stage. now h e r e focussed on form, The Phantom Layer concentrates on fiction in dance.

The title of The Phantom Layer comes from the world of graphic design and refers to the visibility of traces of earlier images when stacking images. Sanchis wants to talk about left traces and layers which influence the dance directly or indirectly; the dancers who executes a movement with her or his background is central and not the movement itself.

The Phantom Layer creates a dance out of the narratives that define our sense of self, and that make human interaction possible. Through the combination of a vocabulary of dance, developed by the dancers, with fiction from literature, The Phantom Layer connects the abstract and the concrete. The performance presents an exploration on human agency and our contradictory need for both structure and freedom. Sanchis doesn’t use text purely as a way to introduce fiction in his work but also to generate musicality through language. An important role is given to video artist Pablo Castilla, who will be present at rehearsals from day one to film and create a fictive context during the creation process.


choreography: Salva Sanchis
created and performed by Stanislav Dobak, Manon Santkin, Peter Savel
video: Pablo Castilla
production: Kunst/Werk
coproduction: Stuk


  • 23/10/13 PREMIERE Stuk, Louvain
  • 24/10/13 PREMIERE Stuk, Louvain
  • 15/11/13 Monty, Antwerp
  • 18/12/13 Kaaistudio's, Brussels as part of the Kunst/Werk week from 18-20 December
  • 11/12/15 Working Title Interventions, Kaaistudio's, Brussel