Eine alte Kohlerkate, traumhafte Natur und idyllische Umgebung. Nicolas Leben konnte nicht friedlicher sein. Eines Tages begegnet sie einem Bauern aus der Nachbarschaft. Es ist Liebe auf den ersten Blick. Als diese von dem Mann mit der unverwechselbaren Stimme auch noch erwidert wird, scheint ihre Welt vollkommen.
Doch der Schein trugt. Nicolas Gluck ist nur von kurzer Dauer. Bald ist nichts mehr wie es war. Trug und Luge lauern hinter jeder Ecke. Nach einer wahren Begebenheit. Help Centre. Catharina Prilepeck, Helge Jordheim, Da bricht der Kampf Mowglis Reise durch den Urwald wirkt bis heute als schelmischer Erziehungsroman , der Achtung vor der Kreatur mit humorvoller Menschlichkeit zu einem nie Bei genauem Hinsehen entpuppt sich das Werk aus dem Jahr als harter Erziehungsroman voller gespenstischer Metaphern und psychologischer Tiefe. Es ist ein seltsamer Erziehungsroman , den Roehler geschrieben hat.
Erziehungsroman [online]. German words that begin with e. She sees thought, memory and imagination as overlapping activities, entwined with one another but which take place at different levels and in various ways and each with its own logic, generating a kind of endogenous noise. Her method is to crank up the noise and then to channel it with mental and somatic techniques. They are already the product of a subject forming multiple possible realities that divide back into themselves.
They are somatically explored, psychologically corrupted bodies that shiver, articulate ticks, pull faces, get in a whirl and become entangled. Not tied to any particular soul, they are traumatic dream dancers imprisoned in a vegetative fabric of interconnected movements. That is also what gives her works their often contemplative, even meditative quality, in spite of the aggressive music and abrupt scene changes. The fact that she comes from a theatrical family definitely also plays a role as do the handovers from one parent to another over the famous Californian Highway in her childhood.
During her time in New York in the s and early s, she lived in SoHo, visiting several galleries a day. With hindsight, she says her sense of choreographic space was very much shaped by her studies of pictorial composition. This led to many collaborations with visual artists and filmmakers, including Gary Hill, Ann Hamilton and Pierre Coulibeuf. Material for this approach is provided above all by the different viewing angles in spatially fragmented choreographies like Highway and Visitors Only. There is an air of nonchalance as though the audience and performers agree that they know the rules of the game but do not have to explore them.
This attitude of wanting to give something at best but not always wishing to offer it also means the audience sometimes has to bear with it. There is no compulsion. If something does not spark, it continues to smoulder. The audience must put up with this and there is not much to elevate here either. Meg Stuart is not known for letting conceptual statements limit her scope of action.
Surrendering to the process is the true constant across all the variation in her works. Sometimes like a volcanic process, where the depth of collaboration produces an eruption, and sometimes like a game marvelling at the material assembled. This self-energy is not starting capital but rather the result of precise artistic work on these rather fragile and damaged goods in which we pass through life. She dances with such phenomenal control of the body that even the most complex combinations of movement seem as self-evident as normal communicative behaviour.
The words leave his mouth as if the most outlandish chains of thought belong to everyday language. He succeeds in speaking without a mic in the most unaffected tone of everyday conversation yet can be clearly understood in the whole theatre. Both artists appeared as if they were only briefly passing by and had to go straight back to work in a tavern serving beer and bar food.
They wear jeans and trainers — him in a light-blue t-shirt and her in a loose yellow, brown and black chequered top — all bargain brands. They hardly need to blow their own trumpets — neither year-old Stuart — who enduringly shook up the contemporary dance scene of the time at just 27 years of age to the extent that it was no longer as it was before — nor year-old Etchells, who developed such a convincingly fresh type of performance in the s with his Sheffield-based group Forced Entertainment that British theatre suddenly thrilled the whole of Europe.
Over the years, they have succeeded in developing a lightness, verve and persuasive force which goes far beyond most of what currently passes through contemporary choreography companies. This distribution of roles — him the wordsmith and her the master of body language — is not maintained. There is ironic grandeur throughout where mockery and anger about the outside world are sometimes combined.
Artistic loops constantly ramp up the tension and absurd interjections provide amusement. In "Shown and Told" treten die beiden gleichzeitig ins Rampenlicht. Einmal schaut er sie an und fragt: "Bist du da? Everyone must make up their own mind about what lies beyond and any higher being.
But what would such a being see if it observed people on this side? Perhaps creatures like the three rolling around the dancefloor of the Frankfurt Mousonturm.
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One begs for a little bit of love in ludicrous, red platform shoes and an alien with giant ears and a face mask bedecked with glittering stones chirps strange arias. The third is initially maltreated by the others and then healed — with the help of an ear candle that is set alight as if we were visiting an Indonesian natural healer. Meg Stuart may have imported the idea of the ear torch from Indonesia as this is where inspiration for her most recent performance has been sought.
Could this supernatural sorrow be a being that rules over everyone and everything? Or a misery that besets the heavens and is simply observing human creatures and the idiocy that they perpetuate on Earth. Meg Stuart is anything but someone who regards herself as a god. Kuswidananto is responsible for the heavens to a large extent.
He nevertheless makes them look earthly using many different-sized light bulbs, some loudspeakers with a retro look and interlinked crystal chandeliers. The sound, sometimes culminating in ear-splitting noise, is provided by the live musicians Mieko Suzuki and Ikbal Simamora Lubys, who initially produce such a spherical prelude that the audience fears that the performance will not progress beyond joss sticks, a little bit of hip movement and bizarre garments like a cape crocheted out of golden festive garland.
Memory is explored with little distinction between personal and social aspects while there are sharp borders alongside a conciliatory note, supported and provoked by everything from a hard beat to the Indonesian tearjerker, the latter presented as a procession under a cape of flashing lights.
Eine bettelt in aberwitzigen roten Plateauschuhen um ein bisschen Liebe, ein Alien mit Riesenohren und einer glitzersteinbestickten Gesichtsmaske zirpt seltsame Arien. Ein doppeldeutiger Titel. Die Handicaps der Welt jedenfalls, die Stuarts Performer im Gitarren- und Trommelgewitter hervorholen, waren ein letzter, quietschbunter Knall. Be it other stuff. Movement stuff. Language stuff. He talks a bit and she dances a bit.
Then she talks, and he… tries to move a bit. Summarized in two sentences, Shown And Told would look a bit like… this. Meg Stuart and Tim Etchells. A combination that undoubtedly will arouse the interest of many festival programmers. A well-known choreographer Damaged Goods and a respected performance artist Forced Entertainment collaborating. It feels more like a low-key workshop. They have been working together on a number of occasions in the past. Assemble them, disassemble them. And it is interesting to see somebody do the same in another language. Bringing that to Meg opens it in a different way.
Many forces, narratives and possibilities move through us in any give moment. What they come up with on stage might be simple, light and straightforward, but by the way they present all of this to an audience, you just feel that these two bodies and minds carry a couple of decades of experience. And rather than storming and conquering the surroundings, as you might expect from a young artist, Wouters negotiates the existing infrastructure with great intelligence.
Inspired by the spectacles des machines of the eighteenth-century scenographer Giovanni Servandoni, he invited fourteen writers, theatre producers, choreographers and architects to create an infini: an interpretation of the painted backdrops that were once raised and lowered to lend depth to each new scene. Wouters reinvigorates this historic technique.
They fully succeed in turning the theatre into an imagination machine. For over four hours, and from the one seat, you journey through time and space: from dead-end Palestinian tunnels and the office of the European border guard agency, Frontex, to a pitch-black room. The theatre as a black cube, from which everything and nothing might arise. Drawing on his vast knowledge and respect for theatre history, Wouters considers the future of the institute. In so doing, he incidentally proves that younger creators are unafraid of big auditoriums, as is often claimed.
Furthermore, he is dismissive of the big messages presupposed by large auditoriums and reclaims the theatre as a studio, with space for experimentation. This thoughtful reflection on the theatre itself was greatly appreciated by the jury. How can we rethink the central perspective of the classical theatre into an era in which nobody appears to be looking through the same glasses?
Birchmeier - the swiss manufacturer of spraying equipment
Wouters shares his space with a wide range of up-and-coming international artists. Instead of one perspective, you gain a kaleidoscopic view of the world. The outlook is nothing less than infinite A performance as an unparalleled gesture. Als normale autobiografische Arbeit geht Hunter keinesfalls durch. Doch ihrem Tanz ist zu entnehmen, wie hart dieser Kampf gewesen sein muss — auch wenn Meg Stuart zu Beginn von Hunter noch harmlos an einem Tisch bastelt.
Was da passiert, ist in einer Videoprojektion zu beobachten. Erst nach erfolgter Selbstbefreiung spricht die Choreografin selbst und live. Hunter ist ein Schatz von finsterer Brillanz. Vielleicht war das der erste Funke — ein kollektiver Traum, der aus dem Theater hinausfloss und sich langsam verbreitete, getragen von all den Anwesenden.
Das hat einen hedonistischen Aspekt. Je mehr das Feuer brennt, desto unsichtbarer und kleiner wird die Konstruktion, und dann wird auch die Gruppe von Leuten, die darum herumsitzen, kleiner, bis alle zusammenhocken und Stockbrot essen. Ist Empfindsamkeit eine Energiequelle? Und Fiktion? Oder die noch ungeborenen Fossilien, Minerale und Kristalle, die die Spuren unserer Zeit in eine ferner Zukunft tragen. Die Wirtschaftskrise und die sozialen Dramen, die mit ihr einhergehen, sind aus diesen Bildern, die zu keinerlei kritischer Betrachtung einladen, subtrahiert.
Brauchen wir vielleicht andere Bilder, um zu einer alternativen Betrachtungsweise dessen zu gelangen, was diese Ruinen hervorgebracht hat? Verwandeln wir sie in Museen der Moderne? Wenn man nach rechts blickt, sieht man wie die Fotos sich an der Wand bis zur Decke erstrecken. Vor etwa einem Jahr fanden wir uns in einer ehemaligen Zementfabrik wieder, wo Jozef Wouters eine Probe leitete, die sich mit dem Vokabular des Bauens befasste.
Geht praktisch an die Sache heran. Manche halten sich nur einen Tag. Die Bilder an der Wand werden jeden Tag neu arrangiert. Die Reise entlang oder durch diese Fotografien erlaubte uns, uns mit den vielen nomadischen Figuren in ihnen und ihren extremen Reisen zu identifizieren. Ich freue mich darauf, es herauszufinden. Wir nicht. Wir werden es nie erfahren. Was sollen wir damit machen? Dies, sagte sie und deutete mit ihrem nunmehr schmutzigen Handschuh auf alles um sie herum, ist kein Feuer; aber es ist trotzdem die Vergessenheit.
Man stelle sich ein Museum der Erfahrungen vor, eine Zeitkapsel, in der Praktiken am Leben erhalten werden. Verkleinere, um zu beobachten. Zwei weitere Bilder, in leuchtendem Gelb und Rot, haben auf der Karte zueinander gefunden. Robert Pogue Harrison, Gardens. An Essay on the Human Condition , Chicago, Barry Lord, Art and Energy.
Things Could Be Worse by Brett Lily
Or where people gather to collectively burn all their Ikea furniture in a ritual statement. Different actions, you know. Perhaps that was the first spark — a collective dream spilling out of the theatre and slowly dispersing itself, carried by all the people present. How do we envision theatres and other art spaces today and tomorrow? How do we shape these places of encounter, these laboratories for living together?
During the past years these questions have been recurring in our conversations — with choreographer Meg Stuart and scenographer Jozef Wouters, and with many others collaborating on Projecting [Space[. During one month the company Damaged Goods will work on location in the Zentralwerkstatt Lohberg in Dinslaken, transforming it into a temporary environment for imagining and experimenting with collective practices of meeting and making — and for sharing these activities with others. We did spend some time in cold industrial buildings, but then the transformation of energy also became a research topic in its own right, with a variety of resources gathered to feed the smoldering bonfire that is a rehearsal process.
Setting something ablaze means to consume it, to expend it. There is an aspect of hedonism in that. And as the fire burns the construction grows invisble and smaller, and then the circle of people around it becomes smaller too, until everyone sits down and eats marshmallows together. In rehearsal we discussed the impact of energy sources on cultural production, but quickly moved away from wood and coal to what drives bodies dancing, sensing, witnessing.
Or the heat of a large group of bodies at a rave party? How can we catalyze the energy of the audience? Is sensitivity an energy source? And fiction? Imagine a group of highly sensitive bodies entering a former mining factory. What if these bodies would softly brush up against a concrete floor? Would they become site-specific? Material and spatial conditions would be partners in the conversation, an encounter of heterogeneous surfaces and desires — human bodies, machines, wood, stone and cloth, remote urban clamour or a beam of light.
Perhaps it would manifest in abstract lines or in slow, unison dances. Or maybe in stirring attention for the smallest particles when someone blows a handful of dust across the room. What would these meetings tell us about transformation of energy, or about relations of care? Nicht immer ein Theater. Ganz verschiedene Aktionen. Ich erinnere mich, wie stark das Publikum auf diesen Vorschlag reagierte, sich sein Theater anders vorzustellen, und wie die Menschen im Foyer nach der Vorstellung ihre eigenen Ideen diskutierten. Vielleicht war das der erste Funke: ein kollektiver Traum, der aus dem Theater hinausfloss und sich langsam verbreitete, getragen von all den Anwesenden.
Bei den Proben diskutierten wir den Einfluss von Energiequellen auf kulturelle Produktion. Auftritt eines Gabelstaplers und eines Baggers. Sie knubbeln sich zum ekstatischen Pogodancing. Raumnot, Raumnahme, Raumvisionen. Hier geht es um mehr als eine getanzte Architektur-Annexion. Doch ihre eigenartigen Gestenfolgen kann niemand verstehen. Das interkulturelle Kommunikationsdefizit als peinigende Chaos-Choreografie.
Es gilt die Menschheit nicht nur zu richten, sondern auch zu retten — wirklich? Wer beobachtet wen? Die Grenzen verschwimmen. Projecting [Space[ , the hallucinatory apotheosis of that quest, was subsequently shown at the Ruhrtriennale. Dinslaken: a grey city that is filled with countless visible traces of the long-departed steel and mining industries.
Johan Simons played Accattone there two years ago, in a huge hall that is now half demolished. In this stony wasteland, Stuart, Peeters and Wouters, together with eight performers and two musicians, set up camp in and around the ruined brick warehouses. Their performance begins outside, on the paved surface surrounding the building. A couple transform their car into a kind of carnival wagon. Another pair, wearing swimsuits, ride in circles on mountain bikes that are far too small. Poised in the background are two men with a forklift truck and an earth-mover. Sounds assail you from every direction, ranging from dub reggae and soundscapes to simple songs.
Passers-by watch the strange, indefinable spectacle from a distance. The occupants of the car then lead the audience into the cavernous machine hall where the impressive scale of the building finally becomes visible. Viewed only from the outside up until that point, it had been consumed by the vast surrounding emptiness. The hall is crammed with equipment, most noticeably an abundance of robust, towering racks. In the first half of the building, there is barely a metre between them. Further on, they are used to create a semi-circular seating tribune.
At the entrance, sounds emanate from a tractor tyre that spins aimlessly round on chains. In another spot, there is an embellished TV screen, filled with trinkets. And so it goes on, seemingly without end. It transcends immediate comprehension. Between those racks, the performers, complemented by Meg Stuart herself, seek contact with the people via gestures and touches. Many participate in this opening rite. Only afterwards do the performers develop their own rituals.
For what other word can be used to describe the strange gestures they make, and which invariably hover between tics, secret signs and a group dance? Many of the subsequent scenes seem to share mutual relationships, but these frequently overlap and are also supplemented by the voices of the performers, who talk about their experiences. It is impossible to follow everything at once. It is overwhelming. The only certainty is that the performers not only dream, but that their dreams become ever more indulgent. For example, Jorge De Hoyos, running as fast as he can, tries to take-off with a parachute.
Mor Demer, who is naked, suddenly darts between the viewers. Sigal Zouk and Renan Martins, who dance almost continuously, provide the piece with a baseline. And Mariana Tengner is, to all extents and purposes, the master of ceremonies. Meanwhile, the double bass and electronic sounds of Klaus Janek and Vincent Malstaf reverberate throughout the proceedings.
What this means, if anything at all, is not the point any longer. Projecting [Space [ is a quest for what might happen when people come together for one reason, and one reason only: the experience itself. But no one in Dinslaken could resist the enchantment of the giant campfire at the end. This temporary construction, destined only to consume itself, was the perfect symbol for this work: an intense experience that disappears with the visitors who gave it form. During the month of August the dance company Damaged Goods works on loca-tion in the Zentralwerkstatt Lohberg in Dinslaken, transforming it into a temporary environment for imagining and experimenting with collective practices of meeting and making.
They address various transformations of energy, ecstatic encounters and care for the unfamiliar — all of it through a gamut of materials that were gathered to feed the smouldering bonfire that is a rehearsal process. And as the fire burns the construction grows invisible and smaller, and then the circle of people around it becomes smaller too, until everyone sits down and eats marshmallows together.
One wall of the studio is covered with images collected by all the collaborators. An arrangement of blue and red-brown images shows a body lying flat on an asphalt road, next to a huge land-scape grazed bare by bulldozers; and below that an underground parking lot that leads to a fantastic grotto with a shimmering light at the end.
More worlds can be imagined underneath, perhaps reaching 1. Once the coal excavated and burned in the Ruhr area spurred on a whole industry and culture of workers and production, while society and cultural patterns are now defined by different energy sources as fossil fuels are quickly running out. If particular energy sources have a profound impact on the cul-tural production of a certain era, then what will the future look like?
Our discussion quickly moved away from wood and coal to what drives bodies dancing, sensing, witnessing. What would it be like to harvest a crystal? Imagine the almost endless amount of time and pressure required to arrive at such a precise shape and substance. Or imagine the yet unborn fossils, minerals and crystals that carry traces of our time into a distant future. Pushed to the side of the studio wall, there are some photos of dis-used industrial buildings, abandoned amusement parks and shopping malls, or derelict world fair pavilions and Olympic sports stadiums.
Modern ruins devoid of human presence. What do the glossy photos of these imploded dreams tell us? Do we perhaps need different images to practice alternative ways of looking at what produced these ruins? The many disused coal and steel factories in the Ruhr area are in a sense giant rehearsal spaces. Some are in actuality converted into environments used for very different purposes, including the per-forming arts. Along with the interest in industrial archaeology, the reconversion of these factory buildings also provides training spaces in another sense.
In the future, there will be new and other disused buil-dings awaiting new purposes. Imagine all those abandoned airports in the not-so-distant-future beyond peak oil — what will we do with them? Turn them into museums of modernity?
Or will they, now hubs for impersonal and swift mobility, in the post-labour society become spots for lingering? Gym spaces for people to keep their atrophied bodies in shape when drones and robots do all the work? Environments for gathering, encounter and ritual? Imagine all the behaviours and lifestyles that could be practiced in such a space. Also theatre buildings fall to ruin, even though the time of decay eludes the attention and imagination of us, theatre visitors.
And yet, long before the forest takes over the debris of a derelict theatre, the elements are already fully alive in there. How can we attend to events and phenomena that lay beyond the senses? Or he wonders how we can look at a theatre also as an actual stone building. Suddenly, the background shifts to the foreground, non-human agents and different temporalities come into play. Or imagine your highly sensitive body brushing up against the concrete floor of a former mining factory.
Would your body become site-specific? Would material and spatial conditions become partners in the conversation, in this encounter of heterogeneous surfaces and desires? Imagine your attention to the smallest particles being stirred when someone blows a handful of dust across the room. To the right, the photos climb higher up the studio wall. They follow the dynamics of the people in the images constructing spaces with wooden frames, organising things or drawing abstract lines in the air — gestures that defy gravity and entropy.
About a year ago, we found ourselves in a former cement factory, where Jozef Wouters guided a rehearsal around the vocabulary of building. In a delimited space full of stuff — stone, metal, wood — he asked everyone to elevate things. You can order things, put them upright, stack them, or throw them out if needed.
Go about it in a practical manner. The next task was to sit somewhere — to look at the environment from within, to inhabit it, perhaps to transform it yet again. How does your body fit in this space? The memory of these improvisations lingers on whilst reading a wonderful essay by Robert Pogue Harrison on the gardens of homeless people in New York City. The images on the wall are rearranged every day. Together they also enable us to create scenarios and dream about the work in the making, or to explore how people would behave in certain environments.
Travelling along and through those photographs, we could identify with the many nomadic figures in them and their extreme journeys. Would we be able to understand their reports about the future state of things? Would we be spurred on to sen-sitize ourselves and experiment with spaces and situations of encounter? Would we be able to push our imagination of the present to the edge of the familiar, approach other worlds and begin to experience and care for the foreign in our midst? Detached from the undocumented practices of the Sepik, these objects are now only touched with white gloves and remain in limbo.
A fishing net; ceremonial head-gear; a bat for playing some kind of game; a cooking implement… Who knows? What should we do with it? Imagine a museum of experience, a time capsule in which practices are kept alive. Perhaps you could partake in the revival of extinct languages and practices of another era. It might be an invitation to tune and hone your sensorium, experiment with ways of feeling and perceiving differently. Change the scale. Minimize to observe. We develop, as masters, practices of perception, from different stimuli of the senses that we accept as valid and all the others for which we still do not have a name or form.
Two more images with bright yellow and red colours have landed side by side in the map. A few years ago, several blast furnaces and containers to transport molten iron from the disused Phoenix West factory in Dortmund were sold and shipped to China. In a distant future they might travel back to the Ruhr area, transformed and embodied in an altogether different shape, their energy now contained in a fire-spitting Chinese dragon, with a large group of people dancing to hold up its cloth canopy high above their heads with sticks as the fabulous beast keeps on snaking and fuming.
Deux heures bien bon. Mais Until our Hearts Stop pourrait durer bien plus encore. Ne jamais finir.
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C'est le mot. En volumes.
Winesburg, Ohio (Webster's German Thesaurus Edition) Sherwood Anderson
En courses. Je donne tout de mon poids pour mieux soutenir celui de mon partenaire. En contre-poids. Voire s'emberlificote. Se multiplie. Et cela implique de plus en plus de partenaires, par agencements passant aux limites. La conduite de tout cela tangue dans une ivresse de la fragmentation spectaculaire. Tout semblerait pouvoir se produire. Et son contraire. Et quoi d'autre encore.
Or c'est toujours, furieusement, du Meg Stuart. Farouchement jubilatoire. In her first evening-length solo, Meg Stuart takes her body to the stage as an archive of memories, both of family life and her artistic career. In Hunter, running from 28 to 30 January at the Teatro Maria Matos, the choreographer and dancer is both the hunter and the prey. There are sure to be a large number of respectable studies from those who propose one thing, to the opposite, or the coexistence of both arguing that anyone who finds themselves alone seeks immediate solace in the radio or television.
There will even be those who argue that radio or television would be enough to remove the solitude from that equation. For the choreographer and dancer whose solos had, until now, only been short exercises in a break between two longer pieces the sort that clean the palate or reset the timer before continuing the journey , Hunter is too populous a piece for any trace of solitude to be felt in the solo. In fact, Hunter is quite the opposite: a body used as an archive of real and fictional memories; a head flooded with voices; a reconstruction of her entire personal cartography for a stage on which, only with great lack of imagination, we will see only Meg Stuart.
Sometimes, these are perfectly audible to the audience, including those of Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs or an aunt, mixing the family history that she discovered when digging back seven generations as suggested by a shaman with a host of artists that helped to shape her movement. At other times, those voices are barely discernible and yet capable of suggesting references that are essentially presumed to be to Jonas Mekas, Yoko Ono, Laurie Anderson, Trisha Brown or Miranda July.
I felt that while I have the energy and interest to perform, it was a good way to put Damaged Goods [her company] and my creative process into perspective. With Hunter, Meg Stuart is putting herself into the development of her own discourse. She has thought of and defined the body as a repository of memories for a long time, but never before has she taken this belief so literally and to such an extreme. Looking at her body and her movement as an archive, she decided to amplify and delve into it as far as possible. By moving into the personal domain, the choreographer is identifying a possible response to this previous piece; another form of digging down to try and see herself more clearly.
In investigating her own choreographic language and what makes it flesh, Meg Stuart accepts the idea of transformation and uncertainty about her present. Hunter therefore dispenses with the need to establish an order that others can share and work with; it does not appear concerned with defining a collective environment. It is a piece with many layers to it: an explosion of narratives. In fact, Meg Stuart is amused by the idea that Hunter could seem like an excessive narcissistic obsession, simply because around her — somewhat as strange as it is cosy — there are always several ghosts following her every move.
Struggling with the issue of togetherness, Meg Stuart expresses an imperious desire to live and create, showing everything through an exhilarating freedom of tone and movement, which results in a few well-known scenes we are thinking, in particular, of the incredible pair of nudes. This is our pick of this Tanz Im August Meg Stuart began with contact improvisation, but quickly dispensed with its usual taboos — such as violence, or touching in sensitive places.
To the looping, sometimes overwhelming jazz strains of Marc Lohr, Stefan Rusconi and Samuel Halscheidt, the six performers paw at, ambush and exploit one another every which way. They squeeze together onto a single sofa in order to pick and pull at one another, like children abandoning themselves to an explosive mix of curiosity, boredom and listlessness. Finally, they scamper across the stage like young foals that have just been turned out, before ending in an ardent embrace. This looks like absolute freedom. Both mentally and physically, it sweeps embarrassment aside. Meg Stuart wanted to create a situation that went beyond simply role-playing, and to extend this into the theatre auditorium.
You constantly seem to be witnessing an original world in which everything could go in any direction, and in which the imagination knows no bounds. Only Kristof Van Boven stays above the fray, acting as the standard bearer for an adult audience that no longer wishes to take these kinds of excesses seriously, for fear of the implications.
What purpose is served by the long epilogue, in which Claire Vivianne Sobottke begs for love, attention, money and warmth, or by the collective ballet of incomprehensible signs with which the performance ends? Her performers dance, sing, curse and flirt as if their final hour has come. Stuart breaks open her linguistic idiom to create lyrical dance theatre that unites performers and spectators in admiration and, yes, love.
Celle du corps. Des miroitements fusent dans tous les sens. In Built to Last , the mood stays light, bordering on irreverent, as the dancers assume historic movement patterns reminiscent of Isadora Duncan or German expressionist dance. Meg Stuart sets herself a challenge before creating a new dance.
The American choreographer, who is based in Brussels and Berlin, claims to develop an entirely new movement language for every piece as she collaborates with directors, visual artists, musicians and designers. Rather than following well-trodden routes, these works explore the edges of what is possible.
There is no new language emerging from sparky interactions with bolshie musicians here, just an acceptance of prewritten music from a dead composer. Her response was not to overthink it. The primary response was heroic. When you play it in your living room, your life becomes bigger. Composer Alain Franco joined the rehearsals as a kind of music dramaturg and suggested adding other composers, so the soundscore expanded into a rich tapestry of fragments by Dvorak, Rachmaninov, Schoenberg, Xenakis, Stockhausen and others.
This openness is unusual within contemporary dance, where many choreographers have resisted the aural backdrop offered by classical music, fearful it might gentrify their incendiary aesthetic with plush sounds and a veneer of respectability. Additionally, an association exists between classical music and ballet, whose narrative-driven choreography is antithetical to the conceptual purity pursued by many contemporary choreographers.
But classical warhorses such as the Eroica can prove more than an aesthetic threat. Or it can be read in a much more ambiguous way. With music we cannot ever be sure. In so far as it externalises our inner passion, music is potentially always a threat. The threat is proportional to monumentality, a theme that quickly emerged in rehearsals for Built to Last. History is a manner of perspective, not a question of being right or wrong. This questioning needs to be constant, as there is a danger of losing sight of the original meaning and intention behind a monument.
It imposes thoughts and memories, and makes it clear that the present has a past. Music has also constantly imposed itself on dance. With such a weighty subject matter, there is a danger that Built to Last could be self-involved and yawnsome, but Stuart insists the mood stays light, bordering on irreverent, as the dancers assume historic movement patterns reminiscent of Isadora Duncan or German expressionist dance.
This is true freedom. In taking on classical music warhorses, choreographer Meg Stuart has created a theatrical experience equally epic. Sprawling across two hours, Built to Last throws stones at monuments to the past, questioning our tacit relationship with bombastic expressions of heroism and ultimately presents an uplifting affirmation of the human spirit.
Fourteen excerpts are used as metaphors for historical narrative. Stuart questions how this music can be appropriated and given an immovable mythical status, even though our perceptions of history constantly change. This is the tension underpinning the entire performance: how does the individual interact with prescribed versions of history? The overall effect is complemented with energetic and pitch-perfect performances by the five performers, that include Maria F Scaroni and Dragana Bulut.
First, the body. It begins to sway. Then the hand, seeking simple gestures, clenching and unclenching. Next the arm, extended, bending, seeking shape and form. The urge gradually brings all parts of the body to movement and from there to motion. Set against an electronic soundscape, five performers relentlessly seek, find and are frustrated by patterns, culminating in a cacophony of movement and sound before one of the performers quietly brings the others to a halt before turning to nervously address the audience. So begins Built to Last, by renowned choreographer, Meg Stuart, making her Irish debut and kicking off the Dublin Dance Festival with an excellent production that sets the bar high.
When describing itself as a history of dance, Built to Last does itself a great disservice. For it speaks not just to the history of dance, but to the making of dance, to the need of the body to give expression, with or without music. Of an insatiable urge that can find momentarily release in forms and patterns, none ever big enough to accommodate all that needs to be expressed.