Detail_Muster_23_Journal_Lucia Glass

When everything grows quiet, the hall begins to sound.



Lucia Glass’s pop-up-piece, developed as part of explore dance – Tanzpakt Stadt-Land-Bund, moves students ranging from 11 to 19 years of age beyond the limits of non-professional dance. Yet the grand surprise of the piece is something else: simple wooden boxes.

Written by Falk Schreiber


Things are alive. Mid-size plywood cubes move across the room and performers hang onto them, following their movements, creating communities, and becoming disentangled again. The performers do not move, they are moved: their movements are motivated by the mysterious cubes.

That’s of course not true. Of course Lucia Glass did not bring wooden boxes to life for her pop-up piece Die Choreographie der Dinge und Geräusche (the choreography of things and sounds). Of course the Hamburg-based artist choreographed human movement, and human beings pick up and carry, push and pull the boxes across the room. And yet the scenes that are created here imply that initially the performer picks up her box, pushes it through the air – until the object suddenly develops a force of its own so that the arm no longer pushes the cube but the cube moves on its own, it pulls the arm along with it, and the arm pulls the body attached to it.




Die Choreographie der Dinge und Geräusche (the choreography of things and sounds) was created as a pop-up piece at a local school in Hamburg-Blankenese, which means: the performance space is a bleak gym (the piece could therefore easily be performed at other schools, too, if they are interested). Students ranging from 6 to 13 years perform alongside professional dancer Jonas Woltemate and musician Clemens Endreß who adds a suggestive layer of sound to the performance: electronic crackling, analog grinding, a deep humming that is differentiated into a careful beat. And when everything grows quiet, the hall begins to sound: squeaking linoleum floors, the clatter of feet, heavy breathing. A gym hall, a performance, music, everything is one movement.




Glass largely rejects concrete images. At times, the cubes are used to build towers, at others these towers are circled, in one short passage they are even surrounded in a traditional dance. It is at that moment that the image of a village community gathering around the maypole is conjured up. Yet as suddenly as it appeared, the image dissolves again, the stage architecture falls apart (stacked wooden cubes are the ideal objects for this kind of disintegration), and the figures’ cohesion also dissolves. In their place, geometrical forms begin to appear, strictly calculated patterns of movement, a dancer crumbles up a sheet of paper, another withdraws into the last corner of the room, is circled by the others and brought back into a collective that only moments later dissolves again. Tennis balls fall to the ground, a cautious rhythm emerges and disappears again, bodies stand completely motionless.




At the final rehearsal, three days before the premiere on May 24, not everything in the piece has been precisely timed and thought through: some movement sequences could still use a little more accuracy. It is also still somewhat unclear whether it is a good idea to leave the abstract level right before the end to create a concrete image. At the same time, the choreographer has to be careful that not everything is worked out in every detail, that open space remains, that a secret in the dance is not resolved – the project’s quality also lies in its uncertainty, in a movement whose origin cannot easily be decoded, but rather remains movement that can be read as dance or a physical law whose background one can guess but does not fully comprehend. What remains solely unquestioned is the fact that Die Choreographie der Dinge und Geräusche (the choreography of things and sounds) is a powerfully artistic composition. And beyond its existence as this artistic composition, the production proves something else: a presence of dance that transgresses far beyond the level of non-professional dance. During the months of rehearsals Glass succeeded in turning the students, whose dance skills and age range vary widely, into an ensemble that is dedicated to dance and at the same time acknowledges the individual dancers’ personalities. Die Choreographie der Dinge und Geräusche (the choreography of things and sounds) is a piece that moves beyond the performative work with young non-professionals: it is art. It is art that no longer raises questions who is a trained artist and who is merely a student with a soft spot for dance.

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