TQW Magazin
Susanne Songi Griem on To Sing The Wind, Pipes and Bones, A Dance Choral by Alix Eynaudi / PARASOL

The Painting of a Chorale


The Painting of a Chorale

According to German-language Wikipedia, “chorale originally refers to the monodic vocal church music of Western church liturgy”.

GATEWAY A handwritten note on the envelope says: “To Sing The Wind, Pipes And Bones, A Dance Choral. Alix Eynaudi, Camilla Schielin, Júlia Rúbies Subirós, Shahrzad Nazarpour, Theresa Scheinecker, Alex Bailey, Han-Gyeol Lie, Paul Kotal, Krisha Piplits, An Breugelman.”

Camilla and Alex are handing out an accompanying booklet to the evening programme at the hall entrance. A diary of the time spent together: “Please fold your time slowly near me.”

In a rehearsal I visited a week ago, they looked at books, lifted the PVC floor and hid the books underneath. The dance floor served as a pouch for storing text, a library grew out of the floor. And then the performance begins. The dancers gather in hand-stitched dresses around the square white dance floor on the stage, and I’m reminded of Renaissance paintings.

SNOW The piano paints a snowy landscape. It’s dancing. It glitters, growls, stutters, jumps, sways, mourns, struts and pauses, alternating or along with misty or dotted white noise from the speakers. The electric piano on wheels is connected to long black and white cables. It wanders along the edge between the large white dance floor in the middle and the black wooden floor on the sides of the stage. The colour palette of the piano keys spreads across the stage space. I think: black plus white doesn’t equal grey, but rhythm.

PERSPECTIVE At the beginning, Theresa pulls a leather duck diagonally across the stage. I think of my striped wooden Tiger Duck from days past. I read somewhere that Tiger and Bear were a gay couple. The present story is another one from another world. Alice in Wonderland: the duck’s eyes glow green. Further in the front, a skateboard traverses the stage space, by itself and with determination – exactly in the place where the piano is playing, dark and low. Later, pulling the missing piano pedals on a cable, Shahrzad draws a path on the white floor as if with black tar. I recall her hair dance at Schillerplatz a few weeks earlier.

SUNDAY OUTING A colourful picture surrounding Júlia on roller skates: the tranquillity of a figure skater enjoying the last hour on the ice by herself at the end of a long day. The light around her changes, a quick run-through of the lighting moods of Elizabeth Ward’s Hedera helix: a visit to the park, the angle of the sun changes, she skates past a green lake, yellow lamp posts and a blue forest. I see Júlia’s strong legs and think of the Vienna Roller Derby, realising that I didn’t go to a single game again this year.

SWEETHEART AND WINDOWS A queen of hearts stumbles out from the backdrop all of a sudden, and we see Alex’s rib cage through a cut-out in the shape of a Leibniz biscuit. Next to the queen of hearts, there’s a dog in black leather (is that you, Shahrzad? I can no longer follow the costume changes), and soon they both disappear back to where they came from. Actually, there are cuts and windows all over the costumes: the fabric has diamond-shaped cut-outs or is semi-transparent, exposing the pelvis. Behind a flattened cactus, Alex sings into the fractured, speckled stage space. His voice mixes with the white noise and the piano, a shiver runs down my spine.

YOUTH Camilla dances. Lip-synching, she skates across the stage in a sitting position. A quick zoom into a most intimate conversation with herself in the bedroom, in a kimono or pyjamas. I realise that I don’t remember a word she formed with her lips. Only the glance she casts at us from various places on the stage. She’s looking at us. With her, the dance changes: now look at each other, not at us; Theresa and Júlia literally melt together. No edges, like the ones Theresa initially shaped with her hands around her face, fewer words.

In the rehearsal last week, Alix talked to Alex (I really wanted to write both names after one another) about extending the movement of his arms. It concerned the moment he presents the golden manicure to the audience. “There’s a lot more room than you think: the elbow can open up even further from the shoulders, the energy flows out from under your fingernails.”



Susanne Songi Griem is a German performance and visual artist living in Vienna. Her first work for the stage, Fisch und Schwan in Negligé, premiered in 2021 as a journey through a living anti-cabinet of curiosities and memories. Spaziergang bei Nacht followed in 2022, an acoustic duet with Pete Prison IV. Susanne Songi has collaborated in various constellations on performative works in public space, with Alexandra Pirici, Scarlet Yu and Xavier Le Roy, among others, or in self-organised groups such as Gruppe Bussi and Perilla.