Crossover Projekt, Ufer Studios; photo by Kaja Curtis and Brian Messman
In half-darkness, she stands alone. A male figure lurks in the background, teasing her: “let’s be friends.” She shivers.
I am at Ufer Studios for the Crossover Projekt, a dance series curated by Isabel Gotzkowsky. Her mission is to pair young dancers in search of experience with eminent choreographers from all over Europe. The venue for the performance is one of the many adapted warehouses that constitute the grounds of Ufer Studios, an industrial complex in Wedding that has been co-opted for innovative dance purposes.
This particular piece, “Sorry… you’re in my space,” is an excerpt from Dagmar Spain‘s recent project Aufbruch (Departure). Having presented the piece in Hamburg, Tübingen and Berlin, they are now preparing for a September show in Prague.
The work reads like a minimalist, abstracted take on theater, melding some of the poetics of Pina Bausch‘s choreography with the slapsticks of Vaudeville clowning. It occurs to me that if Samuel Beckett designed a dance piece, it might look something like this.
The three performers wear minimal swatches of clothing, appearing like something out of a sci-fi movie. They work with a lumpy, cotton-like prop, endowing it with peculiar and contradictory meanings. In one moment the fluff is tumor-like and corrupting, in the next moment it stands for safety and comfort. With the addition of a few lines of spoken word a situation and storyline emerge, describing a relationship of theft and betrayal.
This interdisciplinary approach to storytelling takes the sterility of modern dance out of its ivory tower. This type of movement is accessible to varied audiences on multiple levels. It is fun to watch.
Blog entry by Linus Ignatius in Berlin; Wednesday, Apr. 30, 2014.