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I shall die in Florence

Special price on Combo Tickets - see two dance performances!

I Shall die in Florence on 1, 7 and March 10 are sold in packages with noBody a dance piece by Sasha Waltz on the Main Stage (it is also possible to book separate performance days).

Price: noBody SEK 95-410 + I shall die in Florence SEK 60 (normal ticket price 190 SEK)

Read more about noBody

Dance. Dance piece by Jérôme Delbey. In collaboration with Göteborgs Dans & Teater Festival.

World premiere: 26 February 2012.

The thought of death unites us human beings. It frightens us, awakens us and makes us aware of life's transience. But above all, it reminds us of the value of caring for life and each other. It is the personal meetings that make us who we are. It is said that life passes in review within us when we die. Who are the ones we will meet when we leave this life?

In this emotional and highly personal piece Jérôme Delbey - choreographer and dancer in The Göteborg Ballet - explores our soul's relationship to life, death and life thereafter. With the butterfly as a symbol of metamorphosis, he seeks with the dancers help the answer to one of humanity's oldest questions: What happens to the soul in the moment of death?

Watch a movie clip from I shall die in Florence

Watch photos from the performance.

Watch an interview with choreographer Jérôme Delbey.

Photos from the rehearsal of I shall die in Florence.

Jérôme Delbey, Choreographer.


Jérôme Delbey was born in 1975 in Croix (France). He began his dance training in his hometown at the Ecole nationale de danse in Tourcoing. He also studied three years at the Ecole supérieure d´arts appliqués et du textile in Roubaix and, in 1993, graduated with a degree in applied arts. He then joined the Jeune ballet international in the Ecole supérieure de danse Rosella Hightower in Cannes (France). After 11 years in Germany with the Badisches Staatstheater Karlsruhe and the Theater Regensburg, Jérôme was engaged in 2006 by The Göteborg Ballet.

In addition to creating several works for workshops and freelance projects he choreographed Mauvais Anges for The Göteborg Ballet in 2007, which was awarded with the Scapino Production Price at the 22nd International Choreography Competition in Hannover (Germany) in 2008 and the 3rd Price at the Cross Connection International Choreography Competition in Copenhagen (Denmark). He is also the choreographer of Skin for the Scapino Ballet Rotterdam, 2009, and Soldat, 2010, with dancer Erik Johansson.

Photo: Mattias Suneson

“When the land subsumes the dead, they become the rich body of earth, the dark matter of creation. As I walk the fields of this farm, beneath my feet shift the bones of incalculable bodies; death is the sculptor of ravishing landscape, the terrible mother, the damp creator of life, by whom we are one day devoured.” Sally Mann “What remains” (2003)

Jérôme Delbey's thoughts about the piece.

Why, in my early 20´s, I had foreseen that I shall die in Florence? Future will maybe tell … And why have I always been so fascinated by that dress my mother wore, the one full of butterflies?

In many civilizations the butterfly is a strong symbol of metamorphosis. The chrysalis is the egg which contains the potentiality of the being; the butterfly that comes out of it is a symbol of resurrection. It is, as well, if one prefers, the exit out of the tomb. For others it is the soul freed from its carnal envelope, as for the Aztecs it represents the vital breath escaped from the mouth of the dying.

The Baluba and Lulua from Kasaï (central Zaire) say: “the human being follows from life to death the cycle of the butterfly”: a small caterpillar during childhood, a big one during maturity, then become chrysalis in oldness, its tomb is the cocoon from which escapes its soul, flying in the shape of a butterfly; the laying of this butterfly is the expression of its reincarnation.

A popular belief also in the ancient Greece and Rome: the soul leaving the dead body in the shape of a butterfly. At last, it is in modern psychoanalysis a symbol of rebirth.

Death is not an end in itself but death reminds us to cherish, death reminds us to go even further because it is the very condition of progress and life.

What does remain when the body has turned back to dust and ashes? Particles of soul – filled with moments of life – flying light in the air? And which one of these moments defines the soul, preparing it for afterlife?

Does the journey lead to Florence? Will we wash ourselves in the river Arno like Hindus in the Ganges?

Jérôme Delbey

Jérôme Delbey's costume designs:



  • Genre: Dance
  • Season: 2011/2012
  • premiere: 26 Feb 2012
  • Last show: 10 Mar 2012
  • Location:

    Small Stage

  • Length: 1 hour, no intermission


Concept and Choreographer   Jérôme Delbey
Dancers   Susanna Caldegren, Jac Carlsson, Therese, Fredriksson, Janine Koertge, Annika Lindquist, Percevale Perks, Heather Telford
Music   Cassandra Wilson, Luigi Tenco, Franz Schubert, Nina Simone, Shearwater, Wojciech Kilar
Set design and Costume design   Jérôme Delbey
Light design   Udo Haberland
The Göteborg Ballet


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