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In Performance: Sasha Waltz & Guests, Kreatur (Tanz im August)

Sasha Waltz & Guests
Tanz im August, Haus der Berliner Festspiele
August 21-24, 2017

Kreatur is an expansive undertaking from the venerable Sasha Waltz, a human origin story of epic proportions packed into just ninety minutes. Vibrating constantly between formal precision and unsettling rupture, Kreatur taps into basic building blocks of life and consciousness, painstakingly building a civilization before our eyes. Bodies are born as if from nothing, appearing pristinely from a sea of haze. Muscular, untamed choreographies emerge in unpredictable spurts. The company of fourteen are attracted to and repelled from one another; build and break alliances; inflict abuse; discover environmental danger, companionship, the erotic. Extended periods of diffuse repetitions are punctuated by precarious and provocative images: the entire company squeezes themselves onto a too-small, too-high ledge and cling to one another for dear life, or the score cuts out to allow us to hear a dancer struggle to hold her breath at the command of a superior. It is as though we are watching a new species claw through their own depravity towards a light above ground, the sublime always just out of reach.

Featuring costumes by Dutch experimental fashion designer Iris van Herpen, score from Soundwalk Collective, and lighting by Urs Schonebaum, Waltz’s exceptional team of collaborators create an interdisciplinary experience as rich and varied as any civilization. Deserving of special recognition are van Herpen’s museum-worthy creations, often more apparatus than garment. Inside Waltz’s waves of violence and pleasure, of solitude and community, the costumes materialize ineffable realities of human relationships, transforming them into captivating wearable sculptures.

Waltz & Guests employ a decidedly cold, utilitarian aesthetic full of real material danger, and delight in aggressive formal instabilities as they drag us through an unforgiving examination of life. But in spite of all this—or more accurately, because of it—we can see the Eden in their mind, our hands reaching together away from the quicksand of human existence, up towards a light of pleasure.

Photo: Sebastian Bolesch

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