Sasha Waltz and Guests
This epic work dates from 2000 and 18 years later it still has moments that beguile. Körper means Bodies and the 13 international dancers nearly all wear white underpants as a uniform that unerotically emphasises flesh, bones and blood. This is a collage piece where the disparate elements hardly synthesise. The black slant wall décor serves as a neutral backing for multiple possibilities. Holes in the wall’s surface allow dismembered limbs to appear. A body silhouette is chalked to show where a human once was.
At one moment a man skis down it and there are other Magrittian absurdities that charm. The set credits multiple designers: Thomas Schenk, Heike Schuppelius and Sasha Waltz. Its spare and brutal aesthetic works effectively especially when the hanging wall is totally reversed to alter perspective. Walz’s choreography is an eclectic mix of contact improvisation, Zumba fragments pure dance.
In this performance there is nearly always a sense of satire. Dancers speak banal, repetitive monologues about their own bodies. These weak texts are counteracted by movement that lampoons the spoken words. Within the textual area of this dance theatre the section about the selling of body parts and the critique of plastic surgery feels flat compared to more original moments.
Hans Peter Kuhn’s abstract soundscape is a disjointed mix of dinner plates and voices in a café, ringing phones and harshly strange sounds. Occasionally it has gypsy or Yiddish accordion elements which fast become subsumed by creaking metalworks. The score is surprising and fresh.
Those looking for narrative here may find some familiar territory. Walz heaps the company’s half-naked bodies in to mounds that evoke Shoah images. Perhaps referring to the influx of immigrants to Europe, an African appears out of the sea to be ignored by the well dressed white man on the beach. There are certainly moments of brilliance but there were also passages with far too many longeurs.
Julia Pascal © 2018.