Potsdam If you want to bring more than 40 performances and events from the 31st Potsdam Dance Days in common, it means above all else: intense group experiences. More than two years after the global pandemic, in which all participants experienced very differently, after enforced isolation – whether in Brazil, Nigeria or Canada – there was an unmistakable technical need to deal with the energies and special qualities of people in groups to contend with.
Individual upbringing and collective spiritual experiences
With the premiere in Germany from the pre-Corona period, young Catalan choreographer Aina Allegri kicked off last weekend on Friday: she was a guest at Fabricek and at Altanzeitge for the first time. Her essay “La nuit, nos autres” once again emphasized the theme that defined the entire festival: here, too, it was a matter of individual inauguration and spiritual group experiences – in a forest-like setting.
The festival’s inaugural production – “Ever soently” by Canadian Rubberband about Victor Quejada – not only integrated opposing movement styles such as hip-hop and ballet, but also explored opposite energies such as heaviness and lightness.
Brazilian choreographer Lea Rodrigues, on the other hand, developed a wonderful intoxication of color and form in the compulsive loneliness of the coronavirus in Rio de Janeiro with reference to the original roots of her varied dancers in “Incantado”, which was a factory theater with a spiritual group. It is extremely flooded with healing life energy. Rodriguez also spoke candidly about how she and her group were exposed to the pandemic in a Brazilian favela and what it means for them to be able to perform again in Europe.
Round dance for large group events
On the festival’s first weekend, young Nigerian choreographer Kudus Onyekko concluded his big group dance event series with “Re: Incarnation”, one of a total of six German premieres during the Tanzag party, in which ten very energetic young dancers from tying the 22 millionaires A resident of Lagos with the traditional roots of African Yoruba culture.
Above all, this production was a philosophical expansion of horizons and once again demonstrated excavation as a cultural window open to the world. Only companies from the Asian region were not guests in Potsdam this time.
Even as a spectator, I once again encountered large crowds in closed rooms more than two years after the pandemic. Whereas the opening of the festival in a Hans Otto theater almost entirely run out at first felt unfamiliar, this alienation and the theater experience par excellence – the experience of the combined group in real time – soon developed its irresistible allure from now on.
They laugh together, they are blocked, they are disturbed
And in completely different ways: either by laughing together at Tolstoy’s intellectually complex performance of Gunilla Heilborn “37 Hours and 3 Minutes” or by being fascinated and annoyed by Daina Ashbee’s body-naked performance. These collective explorations were often met by two powerful female soloists from the Arab (cultural) region, which also made this room a subject.
The young Palestinian woman, Sahar Al-Damouni, addressed the issue of forbidden abortion among Arab women. Oslo-based Mia Habib explored the uncertainty in Lost in Action, a 17-year-old solo film from the time the War on Terror began: What it means when people get lost in war — and how a body deals With what can not be determined?
Dance Theater Alive!
The predominant artistic medium in almost all productions was performance as an aesthetic examination of the crisis-ridden capitalist world. After the well-attended performances, there was also a great need to exchange in the numerous discussions with the audience.
Contemporary Dance Theater Alive! This is the comforting conclusion of the Potsdamer Fabrik Festival organizers at the end of these dance days. After two years of constant delays and interruptions, over 5,000 spectators remained loyal to the festival despite the improvisational situation. Festival director Sven Thiel openly thanked the audience for their strong presence after Mia Habib’s performance on Saturday night. He was pleased that more and more visitors of all generations are interested in International Dance Days.