Meg Stuart
Damaged Goods
Jozef Wouters/Decoratelier
TAGES-ANZEIGER, Radikale Körperforscherin - Andreas Tobler (22/01/14) [ German ]
TANZ, Choreografin des Jahres Meg Stuart - Elena Phillip (15/08/14) [ German ]
DEUTSCHLANDFUNK, Mikroskopische Tänze - Franziska Buhre (27/03/14) [ German ]
TAGESSPIEGEL, The crack in my body - Sandra Luzina (28/03/14)
TAZ, The choreographic principle of the collage Taz - Katrin Bettina Müller (28/03/14)

DANCE The sum of different parts: in her solo Hunter at HAU2, Meg Stuart examines the concept of the body as an archive full of memories

It’s a minor sensation: twenty years after founding her company Damaged Goods, the choreographer Meg Stuart is on stage alone all evening for the first time.

The premiere in HAU 2 of Hunter (that will also be performed in Essen, Venice, Geneva, Zürich and Brussels) was a meeting place for many who had brought her fascinating early works like appetite, Visitor’s only and Alibi to Berlin as curators in the late nineties, or who had breathlessly followed them as colleagues, critics or spectators.

In short, she danced for a crowd of Meg Stuart fans. She rewarded their loyalty with a performance that once again personally highlights her style and her unique ability to create moods. Cutting; tearing; daubing; turning on unusual axes; creating new compositions; distorting and accelerating. These are the techniques that you often see in her choreographies, used alongside everyday movements and dance movements. However, for the first time, she also applies this approach to images. With her back to the audience, Meg Stuart sits at a table messing around with scissors, felt tips, glue, photo clippings and other fragments of memory. A camera projects this, much enlarged, onto a piece of fabric. Everything recognisable changes continually in front of our eyes.

This principle of a collage already alludes to Meg Stuart’s astonishing talent: her ability to use unusual accents to transform her own body into something where individual limbs, for example hands and arms, can lead their own lives. She starts to dance in swinging, shocking movements to a soundscape consisting of all kinds of sound fragments that change in under a second. The movements become mechanical, graceful, fragile and aggressive. The most contradictory emotions and situations are brought together in a highly compact way. Even though they are impossible to name, the movements do not appear abstract. Time and time again, they approach a form of emotional expression or physical state.

The battle for memories that simply do not want to become clear is a dramatic element that plays out here in the unique and fragile body of the choreographer. Super 8 family films and childhood photos are regularly beamed onto a series of projection surfaces. The voices of an old man and an old woman who are trying to express in detail the way things once were can also be heard. At the end, Meg Stuart takes a purring projector whose speed has been adjusted incorrectly, and the snowy image it projects creates an eventful void. Slowly the image moves to the ceiling and fades out. Such expressive visual and acoustic elements create a reference context for the dance. As well as allusions to the biographical and the personal, there are images of burning houses or bleeding mouths whipping past at high speed. What makes many of Meg Stuart’s creations so exceptional is this fascination with the catastrophic, the panicky, and the uncertainty about the ground beneath our feet. But the difference this time lies in the embarrassment and the toughness, the vulnerability and the violence as facets of one person; as a part of her past.

Lighting (Jan Maertens), sound design (Vincent Malstaf), scenography (Barbara Ehnes) and video (Chris Kondek) combine to create a space that is not so much a solitary environment, but a tiny fragment of a universe: a world filled with private moments and more universal events. In this world, objects – such as a gleaming foil that changes colour in different lights – connect with the dancer to form moving installations. This creates the effect of seeing, and at the same time not seeing, her body, and the balling of the light that can expand into a space. It is all rather ominous, a little unworldly, and over before you know it.

Translation Helen Simpson

BERLINER ZEITUNG, In Fellstiefeln singt Meg Stuart sogar - Michaela Schlagenwerth (28/03/14) [ German ]
MOUVEMENT n° 73, Sketches/Notebook - Jean-Marc Adolphe (10/03/2014) [ French ]
DIE DEUTSCHE BÜHNE, The worlds of Meg Stuart - Anna Volkland (27/03/14)
DIE DEUTSCHE BÜHNE, Les mondes de Meg Stuart - Anna Volkland (27/03/14) [ French ]
P.S., Slalom - Thierry Frochaux (25/09/14) [ German ]
DE STANDAARD, Meg Stuart's sensational hall of mirrors, Charlotte de Somviele
UTOPIA PARKWAY, Beautiful cutting up and reassembling the past: ‘Hunter’ by Meg Stuart/Damaged Goods
DFDanse, Un chef d’oeuvre peut en cacher un autre, Margot Cascarre (15/05/14) [ French ], Danse libre sur musique grandiose, Philippe Couture (15/05/14) [ French ]
TAZ, Le collage comme principe chorégraphique - Katrin Bettina Müller (28/03/14) [ French ]
TAGESSPIEGEL, La déchirure dans mon corps - Sandra Luzina (28/03/14) [ French ]

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