Skip to content

Posts from the ‘Theresa Steininger’ Category

Crying out the mutual desparation

Theresa Steininger

Singing, shouting and crying out the mutual desparation of all women, the performer in Nicole Beutler´s „1: Songs“ becomes the personification of famous suffering examples of her sex. In her piece, which Beutler created together with Sanja Mitrovic and Gary Shepherd, Mitrovic is on an almost empty stage, only having five microphones she switches in between. She sings different songs, many of them in some kind psychedelic. The creators have chosen rock music to bring to stage different stories of suffering, like Gretchen´s (of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe´s „Faust“) Marie´s (of Georg Büchner´s „Woyzeck“) or the antique Antigone. Mitrovic cites from Faust, bringing the famous words of Gretchen´s last monologue into a quiet, but agressive rock song. After showing a – in relation to the others – rather simple situation „Please god, let him call me“ with her head in her neck, agression takes over the whole evening, she cries out her wishes, her despariation – „I want everything of life“, but then „If not, I want to die“. This strong situation is cut by a s short „Okay“, she comes to the next scene. Mitrovic barks, pretends to undress, but doesn´t, tells the audience „Watch me vanish“ and in a strong situation moves as if being shot by a machine-gun. She jumps around without any obvious reason, suddenly throws all microphones to the floor, says sorry and comes to a very quiet Shoop-shouwada-song.


Beutler´s/Mitrovic´s performance brings a lot of impressions to stage, some of them very strong, still the red line through the evening was too weak, the topics she had chosen had been presented too often before. Giving the desparation of women a voice, bringing discontend with the world around us to the stage, with the final claim „More than machinery, we need humanity, more than cleverness, we need kindness, we all think too much and feel too little“, which seems important, but also naive after all that came before, the impression remains that of a partly strong performance, but not one that affects – because it is then just one of many.

A dance-time-machine

Theresa Steininger

A Mary Wigman Dance Evening has brought the choreographies of the founder of the German Ausdruckstanz to today´s stage.

Why would a young man today dance solos that a 43-year old woman had done in early 30ies? Do we already need a living dance museum of modern dance, as Martha-Graham-Company-leader Janet Eibler suggested in an interview concerning her dancers` tour to Austria? If yes, young Ecuadorian dancer Fabian Barba, currently working in Brussels, can join it. He has put together an evening reconstructing important choreographies by Mary Wigman, founder of the German Ausdruckstanz. In his „A Mary Wigman Dance Evening“, he offers the audience the possibility to go back in history, also having the aim not only to copy and reconstruct, but to build something of his own. The difficulty of such a time-machine-performance is that the audience will more likely see the evening as a chance to imagine Mary Wigman dancing in front of them, not so much concentrating on the elements Barba has brought in.

So you surely will come up with the question if this evening is a creation or a carrying out. The audience will certainly notice how accurate Barba brings in typical elements of Wigman, but not see it so much as a creation of Barba´s.

In what concerns this accuracy, Barba has really worked very precisely. He has perfectioned Wigmans way of gliding, he has studied very accurately how she used breath for her choreographies, he brings in the praying hands in „Anruf“, the snake-like arm in „Gesicht der Nacht“, the strong and flowing arm-movements in „Sturmlied“. He has the costums, playing a huge role in Wigman´s solos. From the program, you may learn that Barba has worked with videos as well as with former students of Wigman, he has prepared very precisely. But when after each solo, he copies Wigman´s very self-confident, almost arrogant way to bow, you cannot be sure any longer, if he is just copying or ironizising it. A strange taste also remains, when until one of the last pieces, nobody gives an applause when Barba bows.

When you see this performance, you can sometimes not be totally sure if it is Barba or Wigman performing. If this was the performer´s aim, he has surely come up to it.

Theresa Steininger