Registered from A to Z

The Görlitz Dance Company deals with stereotypes and finds it difficult to break out of them creatively.

Sächsische Zeitung
January 2018
Gabriele Gorgas
Everyone needs encouragement, especially in complicated situations. And in Görlitz, it has long been possible to speak of such encouragement, jobs are a dying species, which can soon be found in the Senckenberg collection. No wonder that over the years the dance actors from the Gerhart Hauptmann Theater have repeatedly dealt with how people feel who are degraded to a kind of shifting mass, disappear coded in registries or are completely "sorted out". This already makes angry and perplexed, challenges to revolt and to be in solidarity with the use of one's own means.

The new dance piece by Dan Pelleg and Marko E. Weigert does not deal with exactly this topic in such a concrete and direct way, but it makes clear with scenic perspectives how it is for those who are discarded or who do not feel taken seriously as self-determining personalities. It is certainly worthwhile to challenge labels and pigeonholes and to ask in an associative way whether it really has to be "typical" - as the title of the piece says - that people feel bare and at the mercy of the structure and the pushing and shoving. For this, the two dance directors and choreographers choose an image that is probably familiar to everyone. The stage (set: Markus Pysall) is dominated by an oversized index card cabinet with respective drawers assigned to the alphabet, which become the hub of the action. In these personal boxes, which sometimes extend into the audience (especially those with "V - W" and management), people are crammed in, pulled out or stuffed in. Who shimmy up or descend and are sorted according to standards of bureaucracy, "angled", made equal or also sorted out.

. All this takes place in the extremely varied musical framework of "Little Boxes", a rather whimsical song about American conformity written by Malvina Reynolds almost 80 years ago, which has lost nothing of its topicality even in its linguistic images. Whereby the "boxes" today look somewhat different, are rather virtual, and the conformity, above all also the reachability and recognizability to be grasped has expanded in a frightening way.

. No question, the two choreographers have come up with a lot with their company, which is or could be "typical" in this sense. And so it crawls, teems, climbs, flits only so over the stage, the register drawers are strongly in use and gather the dancers even still high up to the pit roof party. A rather manageable crowd here, which is also sometimes coded with hissing equipment, which seems rather creepy. And used is likewise the chance to put on "yardsticks" of the own profession. There are halfway classical variations built into the happening, in which the dance people move increasingly like led puppets, there is a moving weighing between being and appearance.

. So there is no lack of ideas for the staging, and the audience virtually celebrates the participants, finally not sparing with applause. Nevertheless, it seems problematic, and this is probably tucked away in the very personal box of the two choreographers, that they vary far too little in their movement language. When it is directly and immediately about the file card cabinet, this is less noticeable. But in free space, in solos, duets, or at times in groupings, their movement vocabulary exhausts itself all too quickly. Far too seldom can the dancers come up with their idiosyncrasies and peculiarities, which is elementary for this piece. Like, for example, Jeremy Detscher's solo, which is brought close into the field of vision and deliberately decelerated. There is something there, and just this, so very personal "getting out" should be to be discovered again and again in the weighing. But it also demands more structure. The scenes and actions don't have to chase each other. Nor does a lot and even more always have to happen. The choreographers, the dancers, even the audience must be able to come to their senses. That's what it's all about. This production certainly has the potential to be very good, and the audience is clearly attracted to it. Only the measure must be right and the movement language should be more differentiated.