The day begins as usual in our Altona hotel, which we share with a group of boomers with an affinity for schlager, who sit next to us every morning with flashy sports suits and fairy lights in their hair and like to loudly announce unavailabilities at the full buffet. In any case, we all make our way to Gaussstrasse well satiated, where we share the immense number of impressions we had previously exchanged in small groups between the theater foyer and the hotel bar. But now we bring them into the large circle. There is a lot of laughter as we reminisce about yesterday's experience, but critical questions are also asked and some voices are brittle as they express their thanks and praise to the performers. One participant says, "I've never felt prouder to be a woman."
And finally we come to the second main part of our meeting: the workshops, where the cities of origin no longer determine the division into the performing groups. We, as your favourite roving reporters, have split up on all three groups and will give you insight everywhere:
GROUP 1 with flo
We start by getting a feel for the space and the group through reaction games and counting to 20 without agreement. After jogging our name memory again, we collect topics "that burn in our fingers" (or hearts or heads or bellies), as one of the workshop leaders Adrien says. We find: Dancing, the experience of the week, being different, music, the circus and the question of what the hell is supposed to define us as men or women.
After a short period of reflection over a piece of watermelon or a cigarette, we meet again and now it gets practical: we create short performance snippets by jumping over sofas to Lady Gaga and squeezing into a cage with mannequin parts. Above all, however, one thing is important: exchanging ideas about what we have seen and experienced. By the end of the afternoon, our ideas are taking rough shape... Come back tomorrow for the rest of our work!
GROUP 2 with Carla
My legs are heavy. My arms are heavy. My hands melt into the solidity of the ground. My head feels like a stone falling into the water and slowly, very slowly, it glides to the ground, softly. And then I fly. I am light as air, I am a cloud that breathes in the wind. I am the whisper of the trees, I am a bird gliding over the mountain peaks, slowly, very slowly.
I open my eyes, see my body lying on the floor of the rehearsal stage. The relaxation introduction of the workshop "movement and dance" is now over. The voice of the leader Eszter Ildikó asks us to sit down. With an incredibly light and grounded body at the same time, we play games to get to know each other and warm up. We do the "mirror exercise": everyone is in pairs of two. One person leads, the other is following like a mirror.
New pairs: Now one person moves the other just with their hand. If the hand twitches, the whole body of my counterpart twitches, if I make a fist, he rolls up on the floor.
Change of pairs: the mirror is reversed, left becomes right, up becomes down. Upside-down world.
Change of pairs: time slows down. Delays. If the arm moves downwards, the mirror follows with the movement twice as slowly.
Pair change: your arm is my leg, my head is your foot. The familiar anatomy dissolves. It is only the movements that are reflected, no longer the perfect visual image from each other. If your hand slides to the right, another body part, my foot, slides to the right in the same movement. It's difficult when you start thinking with this one. You have to let the body think. It's fascinating how in a short time the body has power over me, rather than me having power over it. The body energies flow into each other, the movements melt us into one organ. The nervous system of the octopus sits in its tentacles. So his brain is everywhere.
At the end of this workshop it feels similar: We are all octopuses, our nervous systems merge into one and guide us in the movements. Like an intertwined wonderful intelligence.
GROUP 3 with Emilie
A quick grap for the water bottle, taking off the sneakers. It can get warm in these windowless rooms. Once again we find ourselves in one of our well known circles. After the performance showings last night, we draw new energy in the different workshops. Romy, a theatre teacher from Dresden takes over the direction of the workshop named “performance and presence”. We are sitting on the narrow rehearsal stage of the theatre, the home of acting. Where is the boundary between acting and performing? Both definitely have one thing in common: dealing with one's own body. And it is important to properly prepare it for physical work. With massages we come together in small groups and knead, press and tap each other's bodies, our most important tool on stage. A performance is always an invitation for the audience to watch us. And that's what we practice: While we train our muscles in variations of movement and stillness, the others are allowed to let their eyes wander up and down our bodies. Between the black walls and heavy curtains of the room, we step out of the mental walls, which we call comfort zone. Fingertips give soft impulses on other people's skin. A story automatically emerges in our brain, a narrative that guides us. Caged birds that break free or depressed ballerinas in a broken music box. In wave-like movements, our bodies flow in confusion, our imagination streams intensely. We let the others watch but actually perform just for ourselves.
performers on tour
Full of new impressions and ideas for our performances, we set off for Oberhafen in the afternoon. What awaits us there is not really revealed, we are curious. At intervals of 20 minutes, we leave in small groups the rehearsal stage in Gaussstrasse that we have come to love. A few S-Bahn stops later, Nadja and her colleague are waiting for us and explain what is about to happen: a rally through the neighborhood, during which we will think about the cities of the future and create small spontaneous performances in subway overpasses, on escalators and on observation towers. We record our impressions in a few words on Post-Its, which we enter into the RECORDOMAT at the end of our excursion (the premises of Lukulele e.V.). The RECORDOMAT weaves an expressive sound carpet out of all our impressions, which can be experienced in the room next to us.
After so much performance we sit down exhausted and satisfied in the last sunbeams of the day and let the evening end with a plate of curry and animated conversations.
text by carla pugnat, flo rieder & emilie willner
July 3rd, 2022