Exhilarating - and brutal

The dance piece "Aqua" offers beguiling images. The Kempten fire department also has its share in it

Allgäuer Zeitung Kempten
Michael Dumler

She just wants to cross the square quickly, and so she runs off. But wait, what is that? There is water. It splashes, abruptly impeding her run. She almost stumbles. She looks down at the ground, puzzled. She is standing ankle-deep in water. Where did that come from? The others around her have already come to terms with it, moving smoothly through the wet, and Tom Waits croaks his heartbreaking "The wrong side of the road" to it. "Aqua" is the name of the spectacular performance by the dance company of the Gerhart Hauptmann Theater Görlitz-Zittau, which, after almost 100 minutes, inspired the audience in the sold-out Stadttheater to long applause.

The stage, that is above all a 9.50 by 7.20 meter large water basin. With the help of a continuous flow heater, the Kempten Volunteer Fire Department had supplied 60 to 70 degree hot water, which had cooled down to the comfortable temperature of about 35 degrees at the beginning. 5000 liters of water on stage - there has never been anything like it in Kempten. A year ago, the Theater an der Ruhr also had its players play in water (in O'Neill's "A Long Day's Journey into the Night"). But the way in which the dance company from Görlitz-Zittau now made the wet element the big theme amazed many of the 538 visitors.

It rushes, splashes, splashes, splashes. In addition, there are always suitable sounds from the boxes - from Schubert's "Der Fischers Liebesglück" to "Kalifornia" by Fatboy Slim. The seven dancers and five female dancers (including one who is pregnant) tell touching and poetic, sad and dramatic, but also funny and exciting stories in "Aqua". Couples move in tango step through the water. There is sensual acrobatics in a suspended bathtub, a maid freaks out while cleaning, another marvels at the liquid slipping between his fingers, women wash their blouses in rhythm, and a water ballet shows its art. But Dan Pelleg and Marko E. Weigert do not exclude the darker sides in their piece: For example, when a man hurls his lover into the water when she wants to get away, and yet always willingly allows herself to be captured by her violent lover. The topic of environmental pollution sounds softly when an angler catches only plastic water bottles. When water comes incessantly from above, it becomes a threat. A group rescues a desperate woman and carries her away - while a gentleman with an opened umbrella looks on impassively. Then the rain stops, and as if in punishment, it rains under the umbrella. A table and chair made of ice at the edge of the stage illustrate global warming: towards the end, they break apart with a crash.

The fact that the dance company is showing its piece outside of Görlitz and Zittau for the first time has to do with the press spokeswoman of the Theater in Kempten (TiK). Steffi Kutz experienced the production in her hometown of Görlitz in 2015 and infected TiK director Silvia Armbruster with her enthusiasm. The ensemble had already caused a sensation twice at the Kempten Tanzherbst under the name "Wee Dance Company": in 2006 the dancers dealt with order and chaos, in 2008 with time. They also hit the bull's eye with "Aqua".

"The principle of all things is water; from water is everything, and into water everything returns," says the Greek philosopher Thales of Miletus. And so the captivating dance piece about the wet elixir of life returns to its source at the end: a naked couple lies closely entwined in the water. Chapeau - for many beguiling images!