“All the national movements everywhere, even those that originate in resistance to German domination, seem to take non-democratic forms, to group themselves around some superhuman fuehrer (Hitler, Stalin, Salazar, Franco, Gandhi, De Valera are all varying examples) and to adopt the theory that the end justifies the means.“ George Orwell
The Austrians from kunststoff (dace performers: Waltraud Brauner, Christina Huber, Stefanie Sternig and sound designer Peter Plos) presented their work as it was shaped through the collaboration/coaching with dancer/choreographer Heike Langsdorf in a one week residency as part of the Summer Coaching program of workspacebrussels hosted at the Ultima Vez studio.
The dance performance announced as a work in progress, seemed self standing and complete. The audience was sited on the dance floor in a square delineated by white chalk lines. Backs turned toward the audience, the three dancers, admirably diverse in physique, perform riot movements and develop strategies against a wall of unseen security guards, surveillance cameras, police lines etc. It takes team work as well as individual skill to create a fluid and deeply connected performance about ways of resistance and protest and presenting a sense of urgency.
The whole show is a work in fragments. Occupy. Stump. Hiss. Not so much a piece about protest itself but more about making evident protest forms or tools, presented in succession like surgical instruments on a tray: just pick and chose. The movement’s expansiveness fills the space, sometimes the dancers run backward close to the audience with alarming force, other times high-charged energy repeated movements send quivers and trembles through the floor to the audience seated on the stage.
Out of vertical standing chalks, on the floor somewhere in the distance, an agglomeration that resembles a little city made out of little white Greek columns. It makes me think of the Greek Polis, the ancient city-state made up of citizens. A symbol of one of our early try outs of civilization. Protest stomping brings the city-state down. The chalk is then used for micro-movements, as frenetic drawing and writings start filling the space. Correct: you can do jail time for being arrested at a street protest or for inscriptions on a wall.
I found the last “movement“ the most interesting (were as most of the audience seemed kind of jaded after the previous frenzied parts): occupy. Not just because it is a signature of today`s rioting and protesting but because you could exercise participating in the movement as people were sited on the ground anyway. In the silence accompanying this last part, you become aware of the space, of the inherent power of not moving that is still an action!, of sharing the space with the other performers, of becoming part of a group – a sitting group – just by realizing, just by simply making the connection and not initiating any vigorous actions.
The whole piece was well suited to the black empty space and performed with elan by the three classical dance trained Austrian virtuosas, conveying a sense of irritation prior to the “getting up and doing something about it“ moment of the revolution. Wanna see how it`s done?! Follow the mode d`employ on forms or protest and resistance here: https://vimeo.com/44812594
Chances are you might need it.
Review by Rareș Crăiuț