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Transatlantica

Through an autobiographical reappraisal of choreographer Caroline Alves’ family history, the solo performance Transatlantica delves into the voids between Brazil and Europe, between past and present.

It is one among many family histories that are marked by settler colonialism in Brazil: histories based on the erasure of indigenous ancestors, carrying colonial continuities into the present. Following the traces of Senhorinha, the indigenous great-great-grandmother of whom only the colonial name remains, Caroline Alves explores the violent nexus of patriarchy and colonialism.

Transatlantica interweaves dance and storytelling, atmospherically oscillating between the elements of the stage set: the crystalline cold of a block of ice and the spreading, reflecting water that connects the continents. With tenderness and rage, Caroline Alves confronts her ancestral history and present, searching in the voids of the “official narrative” for the place from which to speak with her own words and movements that may break with the vast silence.

History Has Failed Us, But…

If I can’t dance, it’s not my revolution.

These words, attributed to the anarchist author Emma Goldman, serve as a starting point for the performance and accompany the choreographic investigation of protest and resistance. In what ways does a dancing body become an empowered body and what contradictions may arise from this empowerment? How can individual and collective bodies become resistant through movement? Which narratives and images of resistance linger in our memories and how can they be spoken about and shared?

Inspired by past and present revolts against injustices such as the Gezi Park protests in Turkey, the viral feminist performances of Las Tesis and the anger over the Sewol tragedy in South Korea, History has failed us, but… recounts protest movements from the perspective of queers and people of color – people whose bodies are still read as “Other” and “foreign.” The choreography combines visions of future demonstrations with existing traditional dances, such as the Korean ganggangsullae, which has been danced for centuries by women’s groups during the full moon for catharsis, into an exchange of playful lightness and political urgency.

Throughout the evening, the dancers draw strength from physically activating specific moments, citing powerful poses and creating togetherness in solidarity together with the audience. The dancing bodies thus become a form of non-violent opposition against discrimination and racism and enrich the imagery and ideas of political movements.

Present Body 2

In the moment of improvisation, a special, almost magical presence of the body emerges. Anything seems possible, even identity breaks free of its fixed structures and bonds and allows itself to be reinvented every moment.

Using music and dance, all of the artists weave their own experiences and memories into a common whole that remains in constant motion. Thoughts and ideas flash up, are taken up by the group and develop into something else. In this way, new connections and possibilities are always created, the power of change is revealed.

Present Body 2 is a live improvisation with dance and music dedicated to the decolonization of bodies. It builds up the performance of Present Body, which was recorded in November 2020 as part of the MIMIMI Space project and presented digitally at HAU4. The new version now links the Black and white perspectives: dancers from Grupo Oito and MIMIMI Space enter into dialogue with each other. They bring in their experiences and the physical repertoire of the last productions, in which they worked on a new form of physicality and being from different perspectives, thus looking for what they have in common and what connects them. Understand the past, dance the present and dream the future in your own way!

Fauna Futura

Fauna Futura takes us into a space that is engulfed by nature. It is a ritual of transformation, a journey of five into their own bodies as into the body of the land.

A landscape in constant motion asks them to forget, to submit, to become. They travel together like roots and branches, expanding, climbing in different directions, to pass by osmosis into a new being, the animal of the future.

Yotam Peled & The Free Radicals deconstruct mythology and explore the evolution of humanity into a new species. They create an archive of extinct organisms and lost techniques that contrast with our role as destroyers of the planet. The performance integrates forms of the new circus into dance, hyper(sur)realistic images, objects and costumes to create a unique universe.

Exotic Animal (Live)

“The master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house” – Audre Lorde

Exotic is warm and spicy. It is one letter away from erotic. It promises adventure. Exotic is somewhere far away and foreign. Exotic is strange, but also very appealing and desirable. It is always over there, not here; them, not us; you, never me. Exotic is dark and mysterious, but its threat is tamed and contained.

The exotic industry has become a big and lucrative market, offering goods and services ranging from food, fashion, music, books, health products, workshops, collectibles, antiques to cultural attractions, theme events, tourism and corporate branding. It has often been touted as a fun and light way to promote the appreciation and experience of foreign cultures. But is it as innocent as it appears? What lurks beneath its foreigner-friendly surface? This collaborative performance invites the audience to see what it takes to create the ideal exotic look.

Drawing on his personal experience as a dancer of Asian origin, Ming Poon looks at how eurocentrism, globalization and cultural consumerism contribute to the exoticization of his body for the art market. Approaching the body as a site on which meanings, values and boundaries are inscribed, he interrogates how the exotic gaze displaces and appropriates his body, turning it into a cultural commodity and a symbol of subjugation. Exotic Animal both invites and confronts the exotic gaze. Staring defiantly back, it attempts to shift the power relation between the gazer and itself.

Warning: This performance contains cultural stereotypes and the white/racialized gaze.

Ming Poon is a Berlin-based choreographer who began his career as professional dancer in 1993 and started to develop his choreographic practice in 2010. He creates choreographic interventions, where spectators are invited to exercise their agency to create change. His works are interactive and collaborative in design. They usually take the form of collaborative performances, public interventions and one-to-one encounters. He works with vulnerability, care, peripherality and failure as performance strategy.

His practice is influenced by Buddhist concept of interdependence and care, Judith Butler’s resistance in vulnerability, Augusto Boal’s theater of the oppressed and Nicolas Bourriaud’s micro-utopias.

His works have been presented at Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay (Singapore), The Substation (Singapore), English Theatre Berlin | International Performing Arts Center (Berlin, Germany), Hebbel am Ufer (Berlin, Germany), Scenario Pubblico | Centro Nazionale di Produzione della Danza (Catania, Italy) and Südpol (Luzern, Switzerland).

WAH WAH WAH

A young queer person grapples with the messiness of (MAYBE) being violated.

Wah Wah Wah follows one person’s muddled account of a very specific, yet familiar story. A gaze held too long, being followed down the street, a stranger’s hand on your bare thigh — the layers are peeled back, revealing a tangled inner dialogue surrounding instances of violation. What happens if I love it and hate it at the same time? Did anything even happen? Is anything ever gonna change?

Wah Wah Wah is a new and explosive performance work from Canada that dissects micro-moments of sexual harassment from a queer perspective using storytelling, tantrums, and visceral movement when words arent enough.

 

FOCUS CANADA 2022

______________________________________________________

Celia Green  (they/them)

is a queer and trans non-binary performer, performance creator, and choreographer. Their growth and learning has been greatly shaped by trainings and opportunities at The Paprika Festival, the AMY Project, La Pocha Nostra and the P.A.R.T.S summerschool for contemporary dance. Recently, Celia was involved as a choreographer in adelheid dance’s re:research program, and was a guest choreographer at Toronto Dance Theatre’s for their Pilot Episodes project. Celia is a recipient of the Theatre Centre Emerging Artist Award, and is also a birthworker. They are currently developing SOWWY, a new ensemble performance work that explores men, gender and apology.

 

Bilal Baig (they/them)

is a queer, trans-feminine, Muslim playwright, director, performer and workshop facilitator. Bilal’s first play, Acha Bacha, had its world premiere in 2018 and has been published by Playwrights Canada Press. Other written work in development includes Kainchee Lagaa, Kitne Saare Laloo Yahan Pey Hain, and I want that free mind! As a director/dramaturg, Bilal has worked on projects such as Wah Wah Wah (SummerWorks 2019), Eraser (RISER Project 2019), and The Trans Gemmes (Rhubarb Festival 2019-2020).

Photos by Tanja Terziani and Franny Chudnoff

Exotic Animal

Exotic Animal is an online audience collaborative performance that takes place via the platform Zoom.

“The master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house” – Audre Lorde

Exotic is warm and spicy. It is one letter away from erotic. It promises adventure. Exotic is somewhere far away and foreign. Exotic is strange, but also very appealing and desirable. It is always over there, not here; them, not us; you, never me. Exotic is dark and mysterious, but its threat is tamed and contained.

The exotic industry has become a big and lucrative market, offering goods and services ranging from food, fashion, music, books, health products, workshops, collectibles, antiques to cultural attractions, theme events, tourism and corporate branding. It has often been touted as a fun and light way to promote the appreciation and experience of foreign cultures. But is it as innocent as it appears? What lurks beneath its foreigner-friendly surface? This collaborative performance invites the audience to see what it takes to create the ideal exotic look.

Drawing on his personal experience as a dancer of Asian origin, Ming Poon looks at how eurocentrism, globalization and cultural consumerism contribute to the exoticization of his body for the art market. Approaching the body as a site on which meanings, values and boundaries are inscribed, he interrogates how the exotic gaze displaces and appropriates his body, turning it into a cultural commodity and a symbol of subjugation. Exotic Animal both invites and confronts the exotic gaze. Staring defiantly back, it attempts to shift the power relation between the gazer and itself.

Ming Poon is a Berlin-based choreographer who began his career as professional dancer in 1993 and started to develop his choreographic practice in 2010. He creates choreographic interventions, where spectators are invited to exercise their agency to create change. His works are interactive and collaborative in design. They usually take the form of collaborative performances, public interventions and one-to-one encounters. He works with vulnerability, care, peripherality and failure as performance strategy.

His practice is influenced by Buddhist concept of interdependence and care, Judith Butler’s resistance in vulnerability, Augusto Boal’s theatre of the oppressed and Nicolas Bourriaud’s micro-utopias.

His works have been presented at Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay (Singapore), The Substation (Singapore), English Theatre Berlin | International Performing Arts Center (Berlin, Germany), Hebbel am Ufer (Berlin, Germany), Scenario Pubblico | Centro Nazionale di Produzione della Danza (Catania, Italy) and Südpol (Luzern, Switzerland).

Foreign Body_Trio

Bodies that do not fit within the framework of society are treated as “foreign bodies” and are ultimately rejected.

The choreographer wants to look at society through three such bodies. The unfamiliar physical form that the three bodies create explodes stereotypes about the body.

This performance explores how the audience perceives them and questions the meaning of “foreignness” in our society.

Rays

RAYS is an immersive experience, dedicated to the latent nervousness that increasingly permeates our existence. It strives to make visible what usually evades our senses: Wi-Fi signals, the electromagnetic fields of our smart phones, computers and power supply systems…

Working as an antenna, Mirjam Sögner lends her body to these immaterial waves that define the very core of our contemporary existence.

Using no other device than her own organic material, she attempts to receive, detect, synchronize with and amplify these omnipresent signals. She becomes vibration. Vibration becomes body. Energy becomes solid. The line between transmitter and receiver blurs. Will the body eventually dissolve?

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L’ART ET LA MANIÈRE and PLANTING MEMORIES

Two dance theater performances

L’art et la manière explores the relationship between everyday movements and artistic actions in an engaging, fun and critical way. Through this this interactive dialogue with the audience, Marie questions her identity as an interpreter, a woman and the role artists have in society.

Planting Memories is a dance duet that explores the concepts of personal space and identity. Drawing inspiration from their own lives, Marie and Paula relate personal memories through text and images. By plunging into a surreal world, this piece guides the audience through a personal journey in which the unfolding of the past enables the present.