Trip to Tanz Platform Essen 15.3-18.3. 2018
Our MA choreography 2017 class travelled to Tanz Platform Essen. In this post I look a little closer to one of the pieces we saw: Xavier Le Roy’s piece Temporary Title (2015).
About Tanz Platform
The event is organised each other year. This time it was in Essen, Pact Zollverein which is Unesco World Heritage Site. It presented 14 pieces and multiplicity of discussions and talks. These 14 pieces were selected out of 400 by curators.
We arrived to Essen at thursday afternoon. After hotel check in we headed straight to the Zolverein area. During the first day we saw three performances: Julian Warmer & Oliver Zahn - Situation bit doppelgänger, Claudia Böse - The last IDEAL PARADICE and Sasha Waltz - Kreatur. The following day included Xavier Le Roy - Temporary Title and CocoonCompany - MOMENTUM. Finally at saturday it was time for William Forsythe - Dance on Ensemble (Catalogue), Ester Salomon - Monument 0.5: The Valeska Gert Monument and Boris Charmaz - Musee de la dance.
Xavier Le Roy - Temporary Title (2015)
Le Roy (1963) is a french choreographer and a doctor of molecule biology. ”His works produce situations that question, the relationships between spectators/visitors and performers and are attempt to transform or reconfigure dichotomies such as: object / subject, animal / human, machine / human, nature / culture, public / private, form / unform.” (Xavier Le Roy - http://www.xavierleroy.com)
Temporary Title was a durational performance that happened between 14:00 and 19:00. Audience could enter and leave the space as they liked. There were 17 performers who formed a performative system where the pauses and entrances were included to the choreography.
The space where the piece was performed was a crucial aspect of if. SANAA -building was gigantic open and breathing space build from concrete elements. It was built in 2006 and from 2010 it has been at the use of Folkwang University of the Arts. The multiple floors of the building are built so that you can see the hole space from everywhere. It is like a huge airplane hall but at the same time very quiet and peaceful since it’s surrounded by grey carpeting. The carpet dampens sounds of the steps and decreases the echo of the space.
So experience got tuned to peaceful, quite and observant from the beginning. First thing visible in the space was other spectators sitting at edges of the space. Since they had their own clothes and stuff they seemed like colourful spots. In the middle of the space was naked bodies.Together the bodies had formed a hilly pile that slowly moved with the pace of breathing. After a while people who first seemed like ordinary spectators started to take their clothes of, ”transformed” to some kind of animals who then crawled on all fours to the pile in the middle.
So what happened here was a sort of embodied change. Together these bodies or animals formed different kinds of events of coming together, separating and heard like things. The pace of the events was peaceful and calm, developing gradually.
Next rapid change happened when one of the bodies yelled from the middle of the space: ”Can I ask you a question?” The question was directed to one of the persons that joined the pile from the audience. She replied yes and then started crawling back towards the audience. When she reached the oaudience she transformed back to human behaviour of form and started a one-on-one conversation about the question. Then the rest of the transformed ones moved back also and initiated multiple conversations.
There was plenty of questions dealing with the theme of change, like ”What is forgetting for you?” and ”What is learning for you?” I was surprised how deep the conversations could get when you think about the time and space they were happening in. The performers introduced themselves by their names and the hole conversation felt totally normal. At some point they had some kind of impulse from the space that led them to fade that talk away and transform back to the embodiment of the animality.
Then the structures of coming together and acting herd-like emerged again. At this point I had spent 2 hours in the space. When the events started to repeat, I slowly started to perceive the possible structure of the piece. The hilly pile, the conversations, events of the herd and other scores started to appear more clearly and I think the performance is a kind of loop.
When the conversation moment arrived again I talked with Ben from whom I asked about the performance. He told me they always perform on some kind of a carpet since concrete wouldn’t do. Still, even the carpet leaves signs after performing such a long time. Ben’s insteps and knees were full of plasters. He was going to have a brake after our conversation so instead of going back to the pile he put his clothes on and went for a pizza. I also left for food and other events. This performance left me with a light and calm feeling that lasted long until the evening.