“Film can never do that” is what Belgian dance critic Pieter T’Jock said about Hannah De Meyer’s production new skin (which was received to great critical acclaim in May in the context of Tanzquartier Wien’s festival for emerging artists Rakete). In a precise and nuanced way, De Meyer constructs this performance as a conflation of text, performative gestures and movements. What is it that drives all these contemporary choreographers and performers to utilise text and language, to develop stage essays and to think about choreography in terms of poetry (or vice versa)?
In November, Tanzquartier Wien’s thematic focus word will present a range of artists who really have something to SAY. First up will be Hannah De Meyer with a preview of her latest solo hi baubo, while Christine Gaigg will premiere her stage essay Affair – Gaigg developed this concept based on her sensuous and intellectual methods of creating a political-artistic approach that will exceed limitations of content and form. In I’m Gonna Need Another One, New Yorker Jen Rosenblit (together with Gérald Kurdian) will lure us to follow her to complex climes: A diverse collection of figures with unstable identities will emerge from an elaborate monologue – an artful narrative which will illustrate the possibilities of belonging and being together. Next up, the poetic text performance Unspelling by Andrea Maurer will see the artist plaster the space with text constructions, arrange words and objects and “upset the meaning of words”, while the words themselves will do all they can to irritate the performer as well. One moment in Maurer’s performance will make us listen to a quote by poet Franz Mon in which he speaks about “a reality impregnated with linguistic stereotypes”. Whatever the aesthetic or methodical difference, it is the joint effort of all artists presenting in the context of the thematic focus word to break with and contradict such a reality and to reclaim the complexity and freedom of language.
Finally, the roundtable Words Don’t Come Easy will give ample opportunity for discussion. The introductory lecture on Contemporary Dance Between Body and Language will be held by the Slovenian theatre critic Alja Lobnik. Together with the artists, TQW theory curators Thomas Edlinger, Janez Janša, and Janine Jembere will discuss the reasons for and the ways in which the making use of language currently permeates the genre.