Category Archives: Dance

German Hoop Convention 2017

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Hi Hoopers,

just a quick summary of the German Hula Hoop Convention in Hannover this summer. It was my first retreat ever and I was so excited to finally meet some of my favorite teachers, Deanne Love (from Australia) and Babs Robins (from Canada) among them, in workshops. It was a true gift and so inspiring to share the joy of hooping with about 200 other hoopers from Germany, Europe and around the world. It‘s all about learning and steeling tricks! You see something, you wonder how they do it and you ask. I managed to learn easy duck outs and flow combinations and couldn’t help but wonder how Geoffrey Szuszkiewicz is doing all the head hooping. Learnd that joggling is way easier than on body hooping and I bought myself a third new hoop. 😉 This hoop is a polypro dance hoop that’s awesome to play with. First time I taped it myself. More glitter in my life. YEAR! If you are about to tape a hoop for the first time yourself, check out some of the  helpful youtube clips. I would totally recommend to join the retreat in Hannover next year or any other retreat that might happen in your region. It’s the best thing you can do, if you wanna push your hooping tot he next level. If you now about awesome hoop retreats that you would recommend, please let me know! I’m looking forward to travel a bit and meet more talents.

With hooplove,

Corinna

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German Hoop Convention Group Pic 2017
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Geoffrey Szuszkiewicz (left) teaching head hooping
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Me with Glitter from Deanne Love 🙂
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Warm Up with Jane Fondle at 9 am
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Streetching and Chilling
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Training
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LED Flash Hoop downtown

Theater der Welt Hamburg 2017

Gleich mal vorne weg: Ein Theaterfestival geht in einer Stadt wie Hamburg an einem sonnigen, verlängerten Wochenende gnadenlos unter. Die Leute quetschen sich auf die nächste Fähre gen Neumühlen und wollen am Elbstrand Bratwurst und Bier genießen oder an den Landungsbrücken Eis schlecken, oder oder oder…wen interessiert es eigentlich, dass hier gerade ein internationales Theaterfestival stattfindet? Sieht jemand die wenigen Plakate und Hinweiseschilder, die ich als theaterbegeisterte Besucherin oft vergeblich gesucht habe?! Ich habe also meinen Sonntag in Hamburg verbracht und mir gute sechs Stunden Theater angeschaut. Los ging es auf Kampnagel mit der Produktion “The Gabriels: Election year in the Life of one Family” des Public Theaters aus New York in der Regie von Richard Nelson. Was wurden da im ersten Teil Zwiebeln, Auberginen und Tomaten geschnippelt für das Ratatouille, Brot in Echtzeit gebacken, Salat gewaschen und angerichtet und Äpfel für den Apfel-Crumbel geschält. Mary Gabriel, gespielt von der wunderbaren Marylann Plunkett, really likes to make things und richtig: “you only learn by doing.” Wir Zuschauer lernen die interessante Nebenhandlung der Beziehungsverstrickungen und Gedanken zur politischen Entwicklung des Landes (USA) also nebenbei kennen, während wir in der Haupthandlung gefüllt selbst die Äpfel für den Crumble schälen. Das ist purer Theaterrealismus, der einen bisweilen einlullt und doch bei Laune hält. Denn man mag sie irgendwie, diese Gabriels, die ganz bodenständig und typisch amerikanisch daher kommen und (doch) etwas zu sagen haben, wenn man ihnen nur lange genug zuhört. Die Mittelschicht hat eine (politische) Meinung, sie wird eben nur oft nicht gehört, weil es erstmal lange Zeit nur um ganz “banalen” Lebensalltag geht, der gemeistert werden will. Im zweiten Teil  werden Nudeln gekocht, Kartoffeln für einen Kartoffelsalat geschält, George Gabriel, gespielt von Jay O. Sanders, macht eine leckere Guacamole und so weiter und sofort…nur gegessen wird nicht! Auch nach 3 Stunden hat noch keiner einen Bissen runter gekriegt. Stattdessen ist das Picknick für morgen vorbereitet und wandert in den vom Zuschauer bereits verhasten großen amerikanischen Kühlschrank (wieviele Zutaten sind da eigentlich drin, verdammt nochmal???). Man redet weiter über den verstorbenen und doch allseits präsenten geliebten Ehemann und Vater Thomas Gabriel. Auf einer Metaeben geht es zudem einerseits um Hillary Clinton und Donald Trump und andererseits Herman Melville und Nathaniel Hawthorne. Was die amerikanische Kultur und ihren Mythos vom Melting Pot im Innersten zusammenhält und/oder doch auch spaltet, bleibt merkwürdig unkonkret. Es ist ihnen fremd, diesen Amerikanern, einen mal vor den Kopf zu stoßen und den theatralen Bruch zu wagen…sie integrieren uns Zuschauer lieber bis zur Unerträglichkeit. Man bleibt dran…man will ja unbedingt verstehen, warum dieses Land so gewählt hat. Die Gabriels, als exemplarische amerikanische Familie, sind eine gute Versuchanordnung auf dem Theater, um die Umstände einiger weniger Menschen in einer so vielfältigen Gesellschaft, wie wir sie in den USA vorfinden, zu beschreiben. Keine Schwarz-Weiß-Malerei, keine Antworten…den dritten Teil konnte ich mir leider nicht mehr geben, weil ich mir im Kakaospeicher “An Act of now” von Chunky Move/Anouk van Dijk angesehen habe. Völlig anderes Theatererlebnis. Visuell überfordern und aufregend. Um die 550 Zuschauer mit Kopfhörern ausgestattet, werden in eine rießige Halle geleitetet. Stimmen flüstern einem Gedanken in die Ohren, während man sich mit der dunkel gekleideten Theatermasse durch den Nebel bewegt. “Don’t panic.  Don’t panic! You have to aks permission.” Nach einer kurzen zurückgelegten Strecke ist um die Ecke ein Glashaus zu sehen. Dahinter eine Tribühne von Stühlen, auf denen wir Platz nehmen sollen. Nun also doch eine Beobachterposition einnehmen, die eine klare Trennung zwischen Akteuren und Zuschauern formuliert. Schade. Es folgen Eineinhalbstunden energiegeladener Tanz von sieben Tänzer/innen in einem relativ kleinen Glashaus, zu dem ich als Zuschauer über meinen Kopfhörer einen vermeintlich “direkten” Draht habe. In den stärksten Momenten wirken die Tänzer/innen wie in extreme Bewegungen versetzte Kieselsteine, die im Treiben der Wellen immer wieder an Land gespült werden. Kopf, Arme und Beine drehend und sich im Kreis in einer Drehbewegung fortbewegend. In nicht enden wollenden Zirkeln aus Sprüngen und Hebungen in einem sehr begrenzten Raum, in dem jeder auf den anderen achten muss. Der Einsatz des Lichts und die an der linken Seite der Fabrikhalle erzeugten Schattenreflektionen der Tänzer/innen erinnern plötzlich an die Trainingssituation im Tanzstudio, bei der sie sich abmühen und doch nur Schatten ihrer selbst sind. Tänzer/innen die nicht als Individuen und Künstler wahrgenommen werden, sondern als bloße Körper. Körper, die als Grundlage das Material bilden, mit denen sich ein Choreograf auszudrücken versucht. Gesichter, die sich an die Glasscheiben des Hauses drücken und schreien, ohne auch nur einen Laut von sich zu geben. Mehrmals habe ich meine Kopfhörer beiseite geschoben und überprüft, was mir die Realität erzählt…was höre ich in dieser Halle…wie direkt kann ich die sich abarbeitenden (Tänzer)Körper wahrnehmen. Verfalle ich zu sehr der Kraft der Dramaturgie der Tonspur(en)? Wie verhält es sich hier mit “Innen” und “Außen” und wann bin ich ausgestiegen und hatte sich der Effekt überholt? Denn so war es…Fragen über Fragen.

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In Dialogue with Dramaturgs or a huge backpack of useful and non-useful bits of information about a conference

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On my way to the Conference Day 1…the topic is present everywhere. How do you like this represenation of a body?

Who is that huge guy in the highly visible colorful jacket and what kind of group is the Secret Dramaturgs Society that I read about in the program? In retrospective I would like to share some impressions and thoughts about the conference „Body. Representation. Interaction. Difference.”, organized by the German Dramaturgs Society at the end of January in Hannover. This three day meeting once a year is always a highlight for me. You never know whom you will meet in the workshops and what will be the outcome of it all, but you know at least that all the people who show up (production dramaturges, directors, freelance actors, scientists, authors, publishers) love the performing arts and want to come up with new ideas for the future.

This year’s event dealt with questions like: What kind of bodies do we see on our stages? How come, that our ensembles get younger and younger (to pay them less and save money), while our society is getting older and older? Why are the minorities not represented? What about inclusion in the theater field? What structures and requirements are necessary backstage and on stage for a theater that hires disabled people and also produces performances for disabled people? Usually the conference produces a lot of questions and almost no answers, but the process is constructive. You start to think (about it) again.

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Conference Poster and main entrance to the venue Ballhof Eins

The performance that impressed me most this time was “Wrong” by Helmut Oehring with El Perro Andaluz and Christiana Schoenfeld (a deaf solist opera singer). I never thought about a concert, where a deaf singer would sing using sign language and it was a curious experience. I was able to hear the experimental music, but not able to understand the lyrics of the libretto, because I never learned sign language. To make it a bit more complicated the music was influenced and electronically blurred by a ring that the opera singer had on her finger. So she is not able to hear the music, but she has an influence on what I hear in the audience, because she as a performer is moving her hands all the time. On a second level the singer also produced sounds with her voice that she can’t hear to add another layer to this form of art for the audience that can hear. In the discussion afterwards they explained that the lyrics are so poetic that the singer has to invent new signs and gestures to express the content in a certain frame of time, which is predetermined by the composition of the music. The creative process therefore is comparable to all the other rehearsal forms of performing arts. I wonder how it is to play this concert for a deaf audience only, because from my point of view the orchestra makes no sense then, through the singer needs the signs from the conductor to know when she has to “sing” the lines with her hands. And what a moment to give applause in sign language, where you shake your hands in the air instead of clapping them. It moved me deeply, because I realized how important it is for me to hear and how irritating it was not to hear the final applause for a performance that was excellent.

My second highlight was a three hour workshop called “Rewriting Distance: dramaturgy as a somatic and creative practice”, given by Guy Cools, who is a dance dramaturg by training and now an Associate Professor for Dance Studies. I’m very thankful that he shared so many insights about his background and working methods, because he focuses on questions and self-critical reflections of the work of a dance dramaturg that I often struggle with myself. You know like the necessary invisibility of the dramaturgs contribution to the final work of art or the uncertainty what a dramaturg is doing at all during the process. There is no constant definition of Dramaturgy and that is the strength of the field, but it also makes it difficult to explain others what you do or what you maybe hope to do as a dance dramaturg in the future. It all depends on a trusting relationship between dramaturg and director or choreograph that needs to be established in the first place. We started with a twenty minute movement workout, followed by three practical exercises with the aim to reintegrate our own (dramaturg) bodies and to talk about the movement/learning processes after each step. In doing so, he gave us a practical experience of what it means to shift the focus of the work from supporting the actual production to supporting the creative process itself, which is now his main motivation to work. I will write about his workshop and some of the reflections in more detail in an extra post for those of you who are interested in dance dramaturgy. I also strongly recommend Guy Cools practice-based PhD on the relationship between dance and writing.

What else. I have seen performances every evening (more or less interesting ones like “Nussknacker und Mausekoenig”, a ballet by Joerg Mannes, “Amerika” by Franz Kafka and “Lehmann Brothers” by Stefano Massini / the youtube videos give a good impression) and I really liked Hannover and strolled around in the sunshine, whenever I had enough of the talking inside the walls. On the one hand it was too much input for one conference and on the other hand I was so grateful for the excessive demands. I really miss that time for discourse and reflection on what is going on and occupies our attention at work. So thanks to the awesome team for organizing this 60ies anniversary conference and I wish the new elected board of management all the best for the next (sixty) years of the German Dramaturgs Society. I missed out my chance to ask the huge guy in that colorful jacket who he is (perhaps you – my dear reader – know him), but I met a member of the group of the Secret Dramaturgs Society and they want to talk with us (webside in German only unfortunately).

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Strolling at the oldest traditional antique street market in Germany! I really like Hannover!

What remains is movement – Personal thoughts about the Dance Congress

Is it just a good idea for a campaign or does it really effects the people and the dance professionals, if the German Federal Cultural Foundation supports a format named Dance Congress and calls the year 2016 a “Tanzjahr” (year of dance)? The Dance Congress held in Hannover from 16 to 19 of June was the 4th edition of its kind and the first one I experienced as a participant. I was thrilled to go and join all the performances, lectures and dance workshops and it was way worse it, to make that effort.

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She is a The German dancer Susanne Linke in action…

You simply know it’s a once in a lifetime chance to join a talk by the leading German dance artist Susanne Linke, who was a student of Mary Wigman and is now 72 years old, and to be able to even join her for a short teaching moment. She invited us to participate in a short practice rehearsal slot, because it is one thing to listen and to think about dance and another thing to experience a dance technique that is called “Inner suspension”. What a gift for young people like me, who only know her work, because we studied the VHS tapes and the DVD’s in the dance archive, that she is still so very motivated to share her knowledge. She surprised me in her talk being so open, deeply honest and overall humorously and moved as all deeply, when she talked about her friend and colleague Dore Hoyer (German expressionist dancer and choreographer) who committed suicide in Berlin on 31 December 1967.

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Open public warm-up for everyone with Boris Charmatz

I started my report with one of the highlights, but let’s go back and talk about the opening of the Dance Congress: a public warm-up in front of the Opera house in Hannover and therefore in the heart of the city. I can only support perception of Boris Charmatz, the choreographer and moderator of the warm-up, that this event is so popular that we should have a dance congress every year (not only every 3 or four years). We all stretched our legs and our minds and the dancers of his production Musée de la Danse: Common Choreographies was the best version of a vibrant dance archive I can think of. How cool to see a former dancer at the company of Pina Bausch (the German legend for the development of Tanztheater) in a performance, where she dances and talks about how Pina would teach at the same time. This playful game with the audience was just hilarious.

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Performance about Pina
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Me performing, inspired by Boris Charmatz evening “Tenir le temps”

The opening night was followed by a long Friday. I started at 9 am with a warm-up called “dance and gyrotonic”, went to lectures, used my lunch break for another physical exploration in “Jazz” (loved it), went to lectures again and last but not least saw the dance performance “Der Besuch” by Jörg Mannes (another highlight) in the evening of course. You can tell by now that I’m really up for dance and should become a dance dramaturge, don’t you? And guess what: I did all that again on Saturday and on Sunday. 

I also joined a lecture and a workshop called “Releasing the Archive” given by Carol Brown (New Zealand) and Thomas Kampe (Germany / UK).  The two artists talked about the Viennese dance avant-garde of the 1920s and 1930s. The research is based on the Jewish dancer Gertrude Bodenwieser, who migrated to Australia in the 40ies. One of the main questions was: “How does the appropriation of past methods influence present-day bodies?” Carol worked on a little choreography with us. She was so nervos when she gave the official theoretical presentation and relaxed when she worked with us in the study that I was glad that she found her Kiwi like peace of mind again. Thomas introduced us to the Feldenkrais method. The sense of self part of the method is very useful, but I can’t really enjoy the esoteric part of it. It depends on the teacher I guess. I just experienced another Feldenkrais teacher here in Ludwigsburg (Natan Gardah, a former dancer of the Batsheva Dance Company in Tel Aviv) and it was quiet different.

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Workshop with Carol Braun from New Zealand
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Choreographer Jörg Mannes (smiling) in a round table discussion

Last but not least we had the chance to meet and talk with leading choregraphers in round tabel discussions on Sunday, that took place in the big studio of the Opera house. I happend to listend to Simone Sandroni, who talked about his first year at Theater Bielefeld as artistic director of the Dance Company. I had a job interview with him last fall and I’m still sad, that it didn’t worked out, but of course I was too nervous to tell him or ask him about the reason. I’m not able to talk or network in these kind of situations…too much respect. I don’t want to force anybody to hire me. 😉 Second round I switched to Jörg Mannes, who workes for the Dance Company of the Opera in Hannover right now. He had a very honest and likeable why of talking about his own work as well and don’t took himself to seriously either. Third and last talk for me was with Richard Siegal, who talked about his brand new company “Ballet of the Difference” that is based in Munich now.

I was exhausted on my way back home, not ready for another working week, but happy and charged with ideas. My conclusion is yes, the Dance Congress is a platform that is able to affect people, to promote dance as an art form and to boost the exchange between theory and practice and people and professionals. I moved my body, I was moved emotionally and what remains is movement in my brain. Having said this: Dance on!

PS: You can find more information’s about the Dachverband Tanz Germany here. They webside also offers English data.

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Dance into May

I hope we all stretched our lags these last days?! Don’t disappoint me. April 29 was the International Dance Day and I went to a concert by a band that is called Tralalka to enjoy folk and ska. They sing in Bulgarian and other languages, are a little bit crazy and based in Berlin at the moment. You can listen to one of the songs here. Dance into May is a nice tradition in Germany and so I happend to dance two nights in a row. The Panoptikum club in Cassel provided a line up of Reggae bands on April 30. Get fit in May! Dance, walk, hike, swim or jog and enjoy the flowerage everywhere around you!

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Spring Fever – Canola Field in Cassel

“Giselle” Live from the Royal Opera House

“Good evening everybody around the world.” It was the first time that I saw a production of the live cinema season 2015/16 of the Royal Opera House in London and I was thrilled. Only 22 visitors brought tickets for this cinema evening in Cassel (Germany) and it was a shame, because the show was fantastic! “Giselle” is a classic romantic ballet and most people know the story about the poor farmer’s girl Giselle, who is falling in love with duke Albrecht. He breaks her heart and in act two the Wilis, vengeful spirits of young brides who died before their wedding day, will try to dance Albrecht to death. But love wins in this powerful story! Peter Wright’s production for The Royal Ballet is based on Marius Petipa’s classic version, which was first staged in St. Petersburg in 1884. What makes a cinema screening of a production of a world famous dance company so special is the technical realization. “Giselle” was directed for the cinema by Ross Macgibbson in an excellent way. I don’t know how many cameras they use, but you can see every single detail on an 18 x 10 meters screen in a multiplex cinema. In fact you can see the facial expressions and the technical work of the dancers much better than form every seat in a performance theater. The price for this of course is that you miss the live atmosphere in an opera house. They try to compensate this with help of a live moderation from backstage before the show starts and with interviews in the intermission live from the foyer of the Royal Opera House. It is a good solution, because the moderator speaks live to the audiences in the cinemas around the world (in this case about 1500 cinemas). In addition they show the visitors in the cinemas produced short films with impressions of the rehearsals. That way one can really learn a lot about the creative process of the company. One other main thing that I missed was the total view of the stage. The cameras determine the point of view of the spectator. I see what the director wants me to see on the screen and I have no chance to focus on a ballerina in the corps de ballet only, like I could in the theater, if I wanted. I talked to a German technical employee in the cinema afterwards and he gave me some more information’s. They hardly have any technical problems with the live screenings any more, but there are only a very few shows that sell very well however. The Rocky Horror Show was a success and the screenings of the concert screenings of the Berliner Philharmoniker do very well. Besides the cinemas have similar problems just as the theaters. People like to stay at home these days and most of them have a huge TV screen anyway. We need to change that again people. It really makes a difference! I switch of my mobile phone, when I go to the theater or the cinema. I spent my time and concentration to enjoy a show with a friend. It’s a special evening and I am full of ideas and thankful afterwards. A TV never made me happy that way and I doubt anyone would disagree with me! What do you think? Share your thoughts about this question and live cinema screenings with me! Leave a comment!

 

Pool der Emotionen

Johannes Wielands Auseinandersetzung mit der Flüchtlingskrise im Tanzstück “You will be removed” am Staatstheater Kassel

Ein kühler, nackter Ort der an ein Schwimmbad erinnert. Das Becken ist nicht mehr mit Wasser gefüllt und der Sprungturm wirkt ungleich höher und bedrohlicher, ohne das nasse Element. Vielleicht will in diesen Tagen auch niemand mehr schwimmen gehen, weil wir die Fernsehbilder ertrinkender Menschen im Mittelmeer im Kopf haben, denke ich mir im Stillen. An beiden Seiten führen steile Treppen in das Becken. Hier und da stehen Stühle, ein Sessel, eine Matratze, eine Palme, ein Einkaufswagen. Das beeindruckende Bühnenbild von Momme Roehrbein für Johannes Wielands Tanzabend “You will be removed” dominiert den ganzen Abend. Die Körper der Tänzer rutschen erschöpft die Treppen hinunter ins Becken. Kraftlos, hilflos, die Glieder scheinen zu schmerzen. Manche Körper könnten bereits nicht mehr am Leben sein. Kaum auf dem Grund des Beckenbodens angekommen, bemühen sich die Tänzer, die Treppen wieder zu bewältigen, und gleiten erneut hinab. Der Vorgang wiederholt sich. Die dominierende Farbe ist weiß. Man könnte sich auch in einer Flüchtlingserstaufnahmeeinrichtung oder in einem Behördengebäude befinden, wenn man den Sprungturm ausblendet. Bei genauer Betrachtung der Tänzer fallen die eleganten Kleider und guten Hosen auf. Hier wird in schicken Stöckelschuhen und modernen Sneakers getanzt, nicht in Flipflops. Nichts ist dreckig oder zerrissen. Natürlich spielen Choreograph Johannes Wieland und seine Kostümbildnerin Stefanie Krimmel mit den Symbolen des Kapitalismus, unserer Medienwahrnehmung und der anhaltenden Diskussion, ob nicht die Flüchtlinge die im Moment nach Europa kommen, eher Wirtschaftsflüchtlinge sind (ein Argument, dass man besonders in Deutschland dieser Tage oft hört). Musik und Situation ändern sich von Szene zu Szene. In unzähligen Variationen finden die Tänzer Möglichkeiten an den Wänden aus dem Becken zu klettern, wieder ins Becken hinein zu springen oder einarmig am Sprungbrett zu hängen. Akustisch nicht immer verständliche Texte unterstreichen die inhaltliche Auseinandersetzung. Da behauptet eine junge Frau in einer Szene sie sei zu einhundert Prozent physisch und psychisch in Ordnung und könne einen Beitrag für diese Gesellschaft leisten, obwohl sie gerade auf dem Sprungbrett am Abgrund steht. In einer anderen Szene geben Männer von sich alles ist real, echt, rein, man solle bloß nichts mischen…Koks, Seide, Rasse, Sex. Michael Jacksons Hit Black or White wird als Nummer ebenfalls eingeflochten. In den besten Momenten an diesem Abend ist die Energie, die das Ensemble freisetzt, unglaublich hoch und erinnert an die Arbeiten von Lloyd Newson oder Wim Vandekeybus. Wieland zitiert sogar die Arbeit “What the body does not remember” von Vandekeybus, aber statt der gefährlichen Ziegelsteine werfen die Tänzer bei ihm Schuhe und andere Alltagsgegenstände in die Luft. Ein Risiko einzugehen ist ein wichtiges Thema in dieser Arbeit, denn es funktioniert als Metapher dafür, dass auch die Flüchtlinge Risiken eingehen, wenn sie ihre Heimat verlassen. Sie wissen nicht, was sie auf der Flucht erleben und wo sie in Europa unterkommen oder gar ankommen werden. Wieland fordert den Körpern viel ab und bringt seine Tänzer mit den zum Teil gewagten akrobatischen Einlagen bewusst in Gefahr. Sie scheinen die Herausforderung zu genießen, bieten tänzerisch alle waghalsigen Sprünge an, die sie in der Lage sind auszuüben, und machen den Zuschauer gerne glauben: „Schaut her, ist doch alles ganz easy. Ich arbeite wie verrückt und das ist das Ergebnis.“ Und doch ist es nie gut genug!? Finden wir nicht immer etwas, was wir an den Neuankömmlingen auszusetzen haben? Die Medien fluten unsere Gedanken, so wie Johannes Wieland an diesem Abend unsere Köpfe mit irre schnellen und komplexen Bewegungsabläufen flutet. In Erinnerung bleibt eine Szene in der die Musik so laut wird, dass man das Gefühl hatte es würde über einem gleich das Dach des Theater einstürzen. Insgesamt ein gelungener Versuch der tänzerischen Auseinandersetzung mit einem aktuellen Thema, wenn auch die eingestreuten Performanceszenen bisweilen zu lang waren. Vielleicht hätte ich mir gewünscht, dass die Bewegungssprache weniger schön und sexy, weil das nicht zum Thema Flüchtlingsproblematik passt.