any attempt will end in crushed bodies and shattered bones

any attempt will end in crushed bodies and shattered bones

May 6 Live Stream – Dance Munich 2021 – Jan Martens & Dance On Ensemble

After an hour I longed for it to end, I wanted my supper, I wanted the comfort of idly listening to The Archers with my feet in soft slippers. I felt ants crawling up my back and I had to walk for a few minutes around the room to catch my held breath. I felt compelled to brace against the sting of abusive words, the frenzied movements of the dancers, their energy and exhaustion caught so starkly by the camera’s eye.

The work was about protest and was itself a protest with its resistance to the norms of a dance company encompassing as it did dancers from 16-69 years old. The dancers created their own enclosed, tormented worlds with nervous repetitive actions; hands close to faces; rocking childlike gestures; fingers curling and crawling. Yet just as it felt as though they would suffocate in their private confinement they would break into larger and larger groups, connecting and engaging with one another. Archetypal motifs of protest; walking, marching and singing energised the stage to create a disturbing and powerful display of defiance and a longing for change. And then the cycle would turn and begin again.

This was a work which insisted on integrity. It demanded that the dancers embody themselves, that they revealed their individuality as part of the movement towards change. From self- examination and introspection came the impetus to reach outwards in corporate, explosive action.

In the final moments of the live stream each dancer walked towards us; some meeting the camera’s eye in triumph others with a look of contempt, others with just a smile or a shy glance; each member a person with a face and a history which they had shared with defiant honesty, this was their moment!

By Anna Mortimer