Tanz im August

In Performance: Rudi van der Merwe, Trophée (Tanz im August)

Trophée Rudi van der Merwe Tanz im August, Vierfelderhof August 19-20 The performance space (in this case, a field at the outer edges of the Berlin city limits) becomes a site to be conquered in Rudi van der Merwe’s outdoor Trophée. At one end of the field stands a white picket fence, the audience gathered a short distance behind it. From the faraway trees at the other end of the field, three figures emerge. Their faces are blank, white; they lift their blue hoop skirts to move purposefully, with a regimented directness. Too distant to perceive the details of their actions, all we know for certain is that they are coming closer. Their slow approach instills a visceral unease (augmented by the ominous soundscape, performed live by Béatrice Graf). When we first arrived, the picket fence mere...

In Performance: Trajal Harrell, Caen Amour (Tanz im August)

Caen Amour Trajal Harrell Tanz im August, HAU2 August 17-19 “Hoochie in the front, koochie in the back,” explains the chipper woman who takes the stage early in Caen Amour to walk us through the performance. She is referring to the hoochie-koochie show, a pastiche of so-called “oriental” and “exotic” dance styles that emerged in the U.S. in the early twentieth century, which provides the framework for Trajal Harrell’s piece. Her statement also playfully introduces us to the performance’s bifurcated playing area, created by a flat backdrop (with one doorway and a shadow-play window) cutting across the middle of the space. On one side is the show proper: dancers enter through the doorway, shake and strut their way across the stage, and make a tantalizing exit on the other side of the wall. O...