Home, a glass house

Die Deutsche Bühne
Ute Grundmann

They dance against glass walls. Sometimes they stretch inside, as if they had already found a home. Others punch or kick from the outside, as if they were looking for a refuge in the glass house, a home perhaps. This large, silvery frame with (window) panes inside (set design: Marks Pysall) dominates the stage at Theater Görlitz, where Dan Pelleg and Marko E. Weigert, the company's directors, premiered their new dance piece.

"iHome" asks many questions: what and where is home, how does one connect, ally with other people, when does one have to fight, is a new place just a refuge or already home? These questions are answered in dance and with a lot of music by the Polish folk group "Dikanda" with sometimes melancholic, sometimes racy Klezmer-like tones and songs. Sometimes the sound of a penny dropping is heard or an accordion dabs accents. To this end, the dancers, alone or in pairs, move inside the Glass House in boxes through which one can pass, a single person dancing in front of them, slower than the rhythm of the music, which, like the movements, becomes faster and faster.

Such scenes were developed by Dan Pelleg and Marko E. Weigert together with the company, which contributed its experience with "iHome." Weigert also contributed the lighting design (from candle glimmer to flashing light reflections on the windows), Pelleg the sound design. Five men with turbans and wide pants carry two harem ladies in, an oriental dance begins until the women enter the house. There they transform into women in kimono, dancing with tripping steps, but also strikingly angular movements. The glass house is made homely with cushions, teddy bears, flower boxes, at the end it is emptied again and the things are built up to the altar.

There is the wall of people against which an individual runs and is pushed away, he jumps against it, the wall opens briefly but shuts him out again. Again and again the figures support or attack each other, couples find and separate again, bodies become knotted and tangled. These are concise images of counter- and co-existence and of the multi-ethnic world in this 100-minute evening. But some of it also leaves you perplexed: a fully veiled woman is brought onto the stage from the front row, a man tugs at her burqa, and when she's worth it, she's yelled "Out!" from the stage. Later, a cajoling male voice from offstage gets a woman to take off not only the burqa but everything else, dancing vigorously naked until a burqa group dominates the stage. There the reference to the self-imposed theme remains rather unclear, a scene with loud foreigner jokes is simply superfluous. And when all the dancers sing their national anthems in confusion, then wave flags in a strictly choreographed manner, it results in a beautiful scene of "All men become brothers". However, like some of the evening's other scenes ("Foreigners out!" shouts from ghetto blasters), it also comes across as very striking in the otherwise atmospherically dense dance scenes.