… the lights in the monastery dim, yet what I have seen continues to glimmer inside of me, an absolute high point … thank you Bora, thank you Jin Ho, thank you Young Hyun, thank you also to Insoo, thank you Andrea, thank you Elinor…
(the program:) quintessence
…(… middle Latin „quinta essentia“ = fine invisible air or ether material; the fifth element) cannot be put into words. At least – I don’t have the appropriate words to describe the „ vital beings“ in this program of Young Korean Choreographers. For that I would need to be as great an artist of words as the Korean artists that the office for dance | theater | productions won for Millstatt are of contemporary dance; many of them are winners of multiple international prizes. What I saw was great, touching and incredibly beautiful, and my words seem small, gray, sometimes pathetic, sometimes banal in comparison. Regardless, I’ll try.
-A long talk to oneself – A woman – not out of fear, but rather driven by courage – pees her pants. For her, the expressions of communication that normally succeed no longer suffice, and so she lets her bodily fluids speak for her. „Did you understand my piss?“ Bora Kim later asked me through her translator. Yes. I did understand her: not really with my head, but somewhere in my gut.
-Goblin Party-The soles of this man’s feet emanate so much love during a dialogue with death that I can’t stop starring at them intently. This ensemble includes not only great dancers, but also great actors who no longer simply dance or simply act, but are also completely in the moment. And in this moment, they demand (at least from me) my complete and greatest respect.
-Not I-A doll that the dancer uses as a mask, persona or other “counterpart” is at first put on, supported, beaten, antagonized and loved and then suddenly, before my eyes becomes perceptively alive and can support, love, suffer and … dance … on its own.
Especially touching was the moment after the dancer lost his own face, disappearing behind the doll and then much, much later, when he finds himself and wants to separate himself from it: he cannot even support his own legs, so accustomed has he become to his foreign self.
This man came to me after a rehearsal at which, apart from the technician, I was the only audience member. He took my hand briefly and said: “You know, I sometimes hate myself.” Not only a supreme professional dancer, but also an emotional person: after applause brought him to the stage for a third curtain call, he kissed the floor for joy.
-Modern feeling-two dancers show so many varied facets of a relationship in twenty minutes that my own life flashes before my eyes. Sometimes it is a wild love, sometimes boring, sometimes spending time together – idling like in real life – gestures of awkwardness, power play, circling each other, following each other, first defensively then suddenly fighting, in the highpoint flying at each other, rebounding off one another, falling to the ground and … the entirety more or less (the same) from the beginning …
(in the background:) and now the nails in the walls must be kissed
… Andrea said, kissed, because the holes should be able to be used again for the next nails and the next pictures.
It is exciting to be a part of and to experience Frau Professor (Andrea K. Schlehwein is a professor of choreography in Seoul) in action: the way she tosses her long her around (unfortunately only in my imagination; she actually wears it pulled tightly back) and engages the space without removing herself from her chair. She demonstrates her presence especially in gestures and movements that have been reduced to the essentials.
When she appears on stage I shift my attention to the subject matter, of which she says: „there was so much going on over this last year – there were so many different productions – sometimes we broke down in the evening so we could play with the new set-up for the wings for the next performance during the night. Our space here is not a theater, not even a stage … there were artists in residence, up to eight at a time, for whom everything from graphic design to artistic direction to press work was carried out by us alone.“
And all of that here where we are. In Millstatt. In Carinthia.
Dear Andrea, Dear Eleonore, your names may be greater elsewhere, but you are more important and more necessary here where we are, because we are naked in some ways and in some spots where others are already covered. That makes us underdeveloped in some respects, but in other ways it makes us more original, more interesting, more natural. And so our deficiencies, which can naturally be embarrassing, cruel, closed-minded, segregated and barbaric, are also partially warranted.
Thank you, for (currently) being here with us.
Ulrike Kofler, 10.09.2014 translated by hrgb Fotos by Jo Hermann