Christina Ciupke & Ayşe Orhon: At Close Distance. 14.07.2017, Open Spaces Sommer Tanz, Tanzfabrik/Wedding, Berlin
In two pieces strung together under one title — a restaging of Christina Ciupke and Nik Haffner’s 2011 kannst du mich umdrehen preceded by a new work by Ciupke and Ayşe Orhon — two dancers experiment with stillness, velocity, trajectory, weight, and sound in pursuit of understanding kinetic memory and the „impossible past of a physical encounter“. Playing with a deeply affecting extension of the stage — the removal of traditional seats and trappings to create a deep and narrow space — the newest half is composed around symmetrical and asymmetrical balances, exploring positions which obligate the viewer to decide what they see and where their focus lies. Dressed in sheer beige stockings and bold sweaters, the dancers‘ movements are, despite varying in scale from the minute to very large, precise and controlled, but perhaps most alluring is how little sound their movements elicit: Ciupke in particular is eerily silent, giving the impression of watching some sort of modernistic sci-fi semiotic scenario unfold in a world of different physics from that of our own. Parallelograms — principles — proximities. If Ciupke and Orhon’s purported subject is memory, these fragments are fitting: each thing is almost unremarkable in the present moment, yet each thing etches itself with meaning on the memory of the viewer.
As much immense attention is paid to sound, light, and texture as to the movement itself in the two duets A and D by Jeremy Nelson and Luis Lara Malvacias. Splitting the stage space in two, the first offering begins sculpturally and with a gentle precision and symmetry, a softly lit, white background for strong but flowing movements, a gentle duet before spinning into an elegant and ebullient, if somewhat monastic, take on hopscotch –– there’s an incredible softness to the way the two flex their strong bodies that later on turns into charm when they reveal the intentions and inspirations behind their series of works: to create an alphabet of duets for themselves in which they explore certain concepts (for each letter stands for a word) and various ways of approaching creative processes well into their „wheel-chair age“. The second piece begins on the other side of the room, in a new landscape: a beautiful textured backdrop of painted paper and bird-shaped cut-outs, dim lighting, hooks dangling from the already low ceiling, two characters obscured in black plastic who count the passage of time with their slow but ceaseless journey around the circumference of the stage. Here Nelson and Malvacias dive and twirl, float and fall asunder, disrobing to create ghosts, black garments hanging darkly, empty and striking upon the teeth of hooks before, at last, an image of a tree, projected, brings everything to a close. Powerful male bodies presented not as threat but as inquiry, sorrow, yearning, compassion, balance…
A constantly churning montage featuring a diverse cast of six, Sasha Waltz’s „Allee der Kosmonauten“ — named after a street in the suburbs of east Berlin — first premiered at Sophiensaele, where it opened the theatre in 1996. Restaged 21 years later on the eastern bank of the Spree, „Allee der Kosmonauten“ explores social cohesion and cacophony, aspiration and rejection, and, very literally, the rhythms of anger and violence juxtaposed with the charm and humour of the French circus. Tableaus and furiously acrobatic displays with objects create some of the most compelling images ready to crack open for interpretation; the video meanwhile — despite a late visual acknowledgement from one of the performers — remains an obscure parallel text. In a cast comprised of different ages, languages, and bodies, who expand and trouble their caricatures with the development of movement, relationships, and sometimes costumes, the older woman (with the exception of some relatively gentle face punching) stays disappointingly underdeveloped. A buzzing, a frenzy, the slam of a kick… love, and horror, and the vigour of misery… the click of the 1990s.
Reviews by Sasha Amaya for Viereinhalb Sätze.