TQW Magazin
Denise Palmieri on Dance for the Future by Mzamo Nondlwana

A time journey through bodies of wind, earth, water, sound and light.


A time journey through bodies of wind, earth, water, sound and light.

Eyes in the audience
Soft eyes, kind eyes
Welcoming eyes
Grass at the back of the stage announcing movement
Body and movement
Organic, plastic, electronic
Visual material moving with the beats
Movements creating possibilities of earth, of earthquake, of wind
Synthetic screams alerting you to wake up the senses
Slowly bringing visual traces and colors moving across the body
Possibilities of other realities
Questioning the reality
Questions that know and mock the answers
Then, water
Water washes, waves wash the space and the sound takes you somewhere else
Dreams of earth and berimbau, Capoeira de Angola over waves
Child’s play, a wheel that flies with the wind, the eye of the hurricane
Pause, change
Objects take the scene, paralyzed bodies become ethereal
Bodies revolt and recollect, repeat, accelerate, slowly free themselves and are washed by waves and become distant, present, multiple
Are we brought to the present or are we somewhere else in time?
Bodies are here and there, are elsewhere, are visuals, are matter
Movement that comes and goes like waves
Eyes that are distant, absent, that move through distant times, other times, calling eyes
Herbs and spices are pressed
Time is compressed
A concoction of sound and smells, creating distinct times and rhythms
The movement generates new energy, could this be the energy of the future?
Was this all part of the past?
Voices and screams of despair, of liberation wake up the hypnotized
Technicalities of silence and pause
The audience is revealed and surprised by the organ
The preaching comes
We are questioned, repeatedly, frenetically, loudly
We are delivered the present and are left to face it

In Dance for the Future, Mzamo Nondlwana together with Lens Kühleitner and Maanila de Moraes, create a journey that mixes time, sound, visuals and movement.

The immersive piece awakens all the senses to bring the present, the past and the future together to have a conversation that instead of words uses movements, poetry, music and visuals to remember that the present is the time we should be in with all our senses.

The costumes amplify the three figures that become three entities that play with time, with elements, with our perception of reality.

Sound is a playful tool that invites us to listen with our skin, with our eyes, with our noses. The sound has the function of changing the atmosphere of the piece and guiding the audience on this journey that is full of surprise, drama, playfulness, silence and joy. Sound in this performance carries weight and lightness, softness and hardness, presence and absence.

The visuals play with time and space and show subjects that couldn’t be in the space otherwise. Multiplying bodies, re-inventing textures, inviting elements to be present and layering colors and vibrations that contribute to the complexity of the performance.

The very subtle aspect of this piece, that especially marginalized and racialized audiences coming from the Global South will directly relate with, is the playfulness that the artist brings to notions of faith, joy of life, dance and celebration. The performance presents these topics with fun and whimsicality, transforming some hurtful relations that some of us might have, and creating a lightness that can bring about healing.

Dance for the Future creates these possibilities of futures in a mix of past, present and future with a back-and-forth movement that breaks the order of time, makes it fluid. Our awareness is brought to the present and the cacophony reveals to us the importance of being in the present.


Denise Palmieri is a Brazilian performance artist and curator based in Vienna. She has been a board-member of the Austrian Association of Women Artists (VBKÖ) since 2020 and, since 2023, co-curator of the festival WIENWOCHE.