Clichés from the box

Sorted according to stereotypes, the dancers are pigeonholed - an evening that plays with clichés.
January 2018
Boris Michael Gruhl
Markus Pysall has placed a large box with twelve drawers on the otherwise empty stage of the theater in Görlitz for the new dance piece by Dan Pelleg and Marko E. Weigert. The drawers are marked, two letters each, from A to Z, so space for the whole alphabet and especially for the twelve protagonists of the Görlitz dance company.

. Moritz Bard has put together quite a few variations of the famous song "Little Boxes" by Malvina Reynolds from 1962, with the proverbial "ticky tacky" (referring to the structural monotony of American suburban settlements of the sixties, in which appropriately shaped and usable people leave their boxes early and disappear into them again in the evening) and linked them together. This starts with a version of Iggy Pop, Dakota Lynne or Walk of the Earth are also there, for Pete Seeger, who actually made the song famous, the rights were certainly not to get.

. Instead, there is an ironic kitsch version ŕ la Hansi Hinterseer, written and sung by Weigert and Pelleg, the soprano Jenifer Lang opens an opera box after Puccini and in the a capella art Anna Gössi and Dan Pelleg prove themselves. Between the boxes - indispensable in contemporary dance boxes - recordings with the Kronos Quartet. Surprising then is ballet music by Charles Gounod, and when the operetta box is opened, the Grisettes dance, here as "Grausettes" by Franz Lehár from "The Merry Widow".

Everything begins with a kind of primal scream from the group of uniformly dressed and thus initially hardly distinguishable dancers. Still there is probably resistance against the box constraint and further "Schnicki-Schnacki". Even a naked Adam has lost his way, a sensitive duo follows Puccini's Adagietto melody, but is then immediately replaced by another dance duo with aggressive ductus. If the boxes are already opened, it is already checked who fits into which drawer: What is "typical" for men, for women, for dance, forʻs ballet, for the show? To what extent does the Basic Law, the right to free development of the personality, apply to everyone? But who knows how it behaves with the personality?

. Not so easy, because already next to the box with the drawers stands such a monstrosity of behavior cabinet, "#man". And out they come, pressed and hardened with all the utensils and handles from the western box and no question - the biology of the sex, to which "man" is so fond of grabbing, does not matter, because a woman is also among them, quite male, of course.

Again and again, when it threatens to become too typical, and that is probably the concern of this production, the types and types get between the boxes. Can also be sometimes that one wants to put the or the other brutally in exactly that box from which he or she has just escaped. Of course, the dance drawers are also opened, there is the typical dance theater concern, the big show gets small blows - why does Helene Fischer always have to serve? Or is that pure envy, because their tones just don't wobble, those of the dance positions, when the ballet box is opened, however, do. This however dissolves, if typical dance robots drive their jokes, or in correspondence to a video feed the dancers reach deeply into the drawers of the opera gestures.

. There will be hips and hops. Franz Lehár's grisettes become whimsical "Grausettes", who clownishly enhance their insignia of femininity with exactly those melons that men usually wear on their heads; probably because that corresponds to what slumbers in the drawers of male heads and comes out of the box here quite unabashedly. And as at the beginning with the hard guys already a woman was there, now also a quite cruel guy belongs to it.

. When the dancers disappear into the drawers of the box, when the drawers open, sometimes only hands, then again feet or heads are to be seen, when they change the drawers, when they acrobatically wriggle out, then this cabinet also gives the occasion for the image-strong moments of this evening, which altogether is probably supposed to set a sign against the classification and the typecasting of people, which at worst can lead to persecution and discrimination - and can be taken as a conceptual thought from the program booklet.

After 90 minutes, which do not always fly by, this evening, which is already very typical for the Görlitz Dance Company in its concern, is stormily celebrated by the premiere audience. But fortunately this is also typical, because there is obviously no lack of friends for dance. Typical Görlitz, quite seriously.