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Tuesday, 7th September 2010

On the Road: Internationale Tanzmesse

Internationale Tanzmesse
Düsseldorf, Germany
August 25-28

Since Laurie is away in New York, I dusted off my Deutsch and early one morning headed to Düsseldorf for Tanzmesse. It’s a biennial dance trade fair – a big market place where choreographers, agents, presenters, venues, festivals and other interested folk get together to talk, network and watch lots of dance. Such an eye opener to meet so many more people working in dance – and to get a feel for the kind of dance being created in Europe and further afield! The Irish were well represented too, with five companies (including Rex Levitates, CoisCéim, IMDT, Jean Butler and Legitimate Bodies) featured in the showcases over the four days of the festival. The Culture Ireland booth, where ‘Team Ireland’ spent lots of time meeting people, was right inside the door of the fair hall – they couldn’t miss us!

Over the course of four days I had the chance to catch up with several of the international guests who attended DDF in 2009 and 2010, and was introduced to lots of work by artists I didn’t know before.  The performances opened with a repertory show by Philadanco, who celebrate their 40th anniversary this year. Presenting a mixed programme of jazz, funk and modern ballet, this was a fun show – with Jawole Willa Jo Zollar’s By the way of Funk being a definite highlight. I followed this with a complete atmospheric change with Cie. Didier Théron’s Hara Kiri, which presented a relentless chorus of movement, dark and often disturbing in its imagery, but powerful in its execution.

The next three days passed in a flurry of introductions, meetings and shows. I caught a studio showing of Tim Rushton’s work for Danish Dance Theatre, followed by a double bill of French companies, A Contre Poil du Sens – whose work Bonnes Nouvelles started out with childish humour, but finished with some beautiful images of the dancers’ bodies projected onto each other – and Compagnie Sylvain Groud’s duet L’Oubli, which explored ideas of the fear of and the need to forget.  Sol Picó gave a riotous performance as a self-styled front woman of a rock band. Late on Thursday night, the music of Leonard Cohen was played live for Granhøj Dans’ homage to the Canadian poet and singer. Dance me to the End on/off Love, styled as a  dance-concert, was humorous, touching and understated.

Brian Brooks’ work Motor was set inside a tunnel of pale blue cables, focusing our attention on the driving energy of his dancers. Live music was also integrated into compagnia zappalà danza’s Instrument 1, in which the Jew’s harp, a typical Sicilian instrument, accompanied seven male dancers who competed and flirted with each other in a virtuosic investigation of Sicilian habits and gestures. Featuring another all-male cast, Compagnie Thor brought nine dancers of African origin to the stage for To the Ones I Love.

A trip to Krefeld on Saturday afternoon was worthwhile to catch Thomas Noone’s work Bound, a succinct and highly physical piece which deftly explored the apparent paradox presented by the title. I was glad also to watch Caroline Simon’s work Stück, which I missed at Dublin Fringe Festival in 2009. It’s both clever and hilarious and makes well observed comments on real-life and stage-life. Back at Tanzhaus NRW, after another tasty dinner (finding time to eat was the toughest challenge of Tanzmesse!), there was one last triple bill, the highlight of which was also the shortest piece – Shang Chi Move’s Dialogue II – which in only eight minutes created beautiful, fluid images that were resonant and fresh.

It was up to us to do the dancing after that…the wrap-party DJs managed to get everyone (and I mean everyone!) onto the dance floor. For a while, before beer and tiredness thinned the crowd, it was a show in itself!

Author: ellie | Add your Comment »