RE-PLAY The Swan



World Premiere: 23th October 2012, Théâtre du Crochetan, Monthey (CH)

// Germany Premiere: 15th November 2012, Theater im Ballsaal, Bonn

// In co-production with Theater im Ballsaal, Bonn / Théâtre du Crochetan, Monthey (CH), Theater im Pfalzbau Ludwigshafen und Zeughaus Brig (CH) 

// Funded by: Kunststiftung NRW, Ministerium für Familie, Kinder, Jugend, Kultur und Sport des Landes Nordrhein-Westfalen, Bundesstadt Bonn und Théâtre-ProValais, Le Conseil de la Culture Etat du Valais, La Loterie Romande, MIGROS pour-cent culturel


There is no “Swan“ in CocoonDance Company‘s new production. Anna Pavlova danced the famous solo in the history of dance thousands of times, and, again and again, the swan died. CocoonDance deals with the reproduction of sameness, with copying, fragmentation and reconstruction in “Re-Play – The Swan“. The five performers rule a timeless space with elegant indifference. As if held captive in a memory loop, they vary a constant repetition of movement material, do not grant themselves mercy and demand again and again: “Can you repeat it?“



Katrin Banse, Fa-Hsuan Chen, Laure Dupont, Weronika Pelczynska, Inma Rubio// Choreography, Regie: Rafaële Giovanola// Sound, Music: Camille Saint-Saëns, Jörg Ritzenhoff & Ensemble //  Light- and Roomdesign: Marc Brodeur //Costume: Gilvan Coêlho de Oliveira // DJ- and Video-Coaching: Martin Baumgartner // Ironwork: Michael Giering // Wardrobe mistress: Kristina Weiß // Fotos: Klaus Fröhlich //  Choreographic internship: Marja Leena Hirvonen // Dramaturgy: Rainald Endrass // Management-/PR: mechtild tellmann kulturmanagement 


“Expressive and performed with virtuosity - (…) an unexpectedly beautiful beginning with scraps of music wafting from somewhere and a continually spinning turntable. The show-stopper: not the sound expressions, but this clearly visible turning platform achieves all the attention for the installation by Joerg Ritzenhoff, who has been a wonderful composer of music for CocoonDance, among others, for a long time. However: This attention is not focused on the music, but on the very moment the music stops and, with a quiet crackle, starts over and over again in the last groove. An unusually impressive invention by this dance company. This stems from another time. (…) but this is also the moment in which the choreography by Rafaële Giovanola – not finally, but as feasible extrapolation – and her five dancers, seizes the power in the Ballsaal. (…). Rafaële Giovanola makes use of very expressive, extremely talented dancers, who slip in the most variable temperaments and roles, and are led by Giovanola very impressively in choral formations. So to speak, faithfully aligned to the angles. These elements are also performed with wit and very well. To avoid misperceptions, however: the “dying swan” does nowhere appear as an image in Giovanola’s choreography. The choreographer, and especially her dramaturge Rainald Endrass, love to examine formal correlations, sometimes in never-ending loops, sometimes as record, sometimes as dance – applauded everywhere. "

(Heinz-Dieter Terschueren, Bonner Rundschau, 11/17/2012)


”The conceptional subject of repetition is transcribed very cleverly into a likewise challenging and impressively beautiful choreography. (…) But those, who were misled by the title of the piece and possibly expected another version of the dying swan, could have been disappointed. On the other hand, they were rewarded with highly aesthetic choreographic images by Rafaële Giovanola and five splendid female dancers, who fashion their roles impressively. Though the swan motive can be heard time and again in the violoncello version by Saint-Saens, it is ingeniously plucked, scratched and overlaid with noises by composer Joerg Ritzenhoff, who arranged sound and music. Likewise fragmentarily, the choreography picks up the elements of movement of the Swan-solo. (…) in RE-PLAY every repetition works like a little terpsichorean experiment that tries to make internal changes tangible in external images.

Wonderful of this performance is how the motive of the swan becomes the catalyst for the choreography in order to transform this theoretical frame into feasible dance images – and thus to make it accessible. With RE-PLAY, the established production team of CocoonDance Bonn with choreographer Rafaële Giovanola and dramaturge Rainald Endrass has created a sensitive and intensive dance performance.  A black-and-white video re-recording (Martin Baumgartner) projects a dancer, repeatedly duplicated as in a surrealist movie. This comes across as if her body would leave itself. In front of this black and white background, infatuating beautiful dancing images appear in warm light spots. The dancers act alone or in twos, repeat the poses of the others or move, like lost in a dream, in slow motion and slip their kimonos simultaneously from their shoulders. In this slow-down of the movements, is a morbid beauty that seems to announce an end. Accordingly, at the end of the performance, one of the female dancers lies outstretched on the floor, like at the beginning, but without her clothes, shed off except for slip and chemise. The beauty of the dancer's images is embedded in a whirring sound and warm light creation (Marc Brodeur), which combine to form a choreographic work of art. Can you repeat!"

(Klaus Keil,, 11/2012)


“’Can you repeat’, one of the women, who sit in radiant coloured kimonos and high plateau shoes at the edge of the stage, asks in a slightly snobbish and bored tone, while smoking a cigarette now and then. This artificially private atmosphere of the group picture seems as ritualized as the dance figures on the stage. There is neither a defined space nor a central perspective in the choreography of Rafaële Giovanola. Five dancers (Katrin Banse, Fa-Hsuan Chen, Laure Dupont, Weronika Pelczynska and Imma Rubio) from five different countries vary very individually a constantly repeated vocabulary of movements. Everybody develops - barefoot in jeans and T-shirt – their personal body language and their personal temperaments.

They encounter this mechanical reproducibility of the always same with a lively polylog of bodies that releases them from the endless loop, but co-reflects the performative limits of the process. To copy, to fragment, and to reconstruct – these are also the principles of Joerg Ritzenhoff’s composition which does not only accompany the performance, but becomes an actor itself. Out of the white noise, the famous cello-swan motive by Saint-Saens detaches itself. “ (Elisabeth Einecke-Kloevekorn, General-Anzeiger Bonn, 11/17/2012)


“The renowned Bonn Company CocoonDance delaminates the topic repetition with gentle humor in “Re-Play the Swan”. The five dancers in the Theater Ballsaal all wear the same artificial silk dressing-gowns, only in different colours, and they sit there diva-like with crossed legs and nourish their skirmishes (…). Set phrases and poses recur. This indifference, this tired keynote, renders the choreography so contemporary.

The dance is bizarre. From standing to the floor and back up again, sometimes in twos; in lumps, they wobble right-left-right or form a dramatic sculpture. New movements turn into phrases, and the swan is a devil to kill. That melody of melody of Saint-Saëns rings out, sometimes squeaking, sometimes squealing, sometimes as cello-song. But nobody here imitates Anna Pavlova – the  bird-like jerking heads, the lifting of the shoulders, the hands softly grazing the air, the lifting of the shoulders, the undulation, the arms stretched behind the backs, the upper part of the body folded downwards, these are all her fragments which wander like ghosts through the performance - as set phrases.“

(Melanie Suchy, Kölner Stadtanzeiger 11/19/2012)


"The German Premiere of “Re-Play – The Swan” – Very strong Dancers and brilliant ideas - Awareness through repetition (Title) - German premiere of “RE-PLAY. The Swan” – a new dance piece by CocoonDance Bonn

In the beginning, the sound is rather unremarkable. But at some point, carried by its monotony, the noise edges its way through pauses and recordings of music right to the audience´s ear. It sounds like the rhythmic shushing noise of a record when played, moving endlessly on the turntable. Played. End. Over. And it is even the last thing one will be hearing at the end of CocoonDance Bonn´s new dance piece “RE-PLAY. The Swan”. A small, almost marginal noise which becomes – through its poignancy – a metaphor for repetition and infinity.

On Theater im Ballsaal´s (Bonn) open stage lies a casually dressed woman on the floor; four more are dressed in kimonos and sitting on an ottoman. The background holds a futuristic table covered with a canopy supported by steel strapping. On top of it: electronics, wires, amp, record player. In the course of the piece, each of the five performers will search for her sound or scratch her LP like a DJ up there.

Calm, spherical music: a dancer rises, contracts her body, stretches again, one arm swinging up. The other four have a small talk with small movements of their hands; in between their recurrent “can you repeat”. They all stand up, move one place over, the second dancer starts her solo, while the first one is now standing at the sound table, participating acoustically by using several sample techniques. As if it was an everlasting rotation. Can you repeat. The dance is getting fierce. One of the dancers stretches out one leg while shaking her head, her arms spinning wildly.

Is she shaking or being shook, or does she even want to shake something off? One individual eccentric sequence of movement is  followed by another, when suddenly they all form a monolithic wall by turning their backs on the audience. They sway, part, come back to the ottoman – the game starts again. They live and dance through the room in numerous variations. None of the movements resembles the other. Repetition becomes the distinguishing feature. It is like an infinite search for meaning through space and time, a search for the self, which can only be formed and found in repetition, meaning: life in progress.

By discussing the principle of repetition CocoonDance maintains a form of staging which is frequently used in dance. But “RE-PLAY. The Swan” does not use it because of its reinforcing visual effect; it rather establishes a symbol of constant change. This change is being illustrated in the five women´s altering movements. Each of them performs an intense solo in the center of attention. The classical motif of a swan – upper body is bent forwards, arms are stretched backwards like wings – is portrayed as being a mere sign of recognition without being of any value. Tschaikowsky´s Swan Lake motif is either being scratched or gets lost in background noise. As a matter of fact, the motif of repetition has not been used as contextual stylistic device before contemporary dance. In “RE-PLAY. The Swan” every repetition seems to be an experiment which visualizes inner change.

The ingenious element of this production is the way choreographer Rafaële Giovanola transforms theoretical ideas into clear images of dance. With Katrin Banse, Fa-Hsuan Chen, Laure Dupont, Weronika Pelczynska and Inma Rubio she found an expressive cast for this piece. A black and white video sequence projects a doubled image of one dancer as if in a surreal movie. It seems as if her body detaches itself. Enchanting images of dance covered in warm spots of light evolve in front of this background. The dancers move either separately or together, imitate the other´s pose or move as if in a dream, slow motion; they simultaneously take off their kimonos. Then suddenly they rear up in chaos, throwing arms and legs out wildly.  In the end, one of them lies stretched out on the floor, as she did in the beginning, only dressed in panties and shirt. Her search does not seem to be over yet. One last “can you repeat”; then darkness swallows up her search." (Klaus Keil, Nightcritics on, 16.11.2012)


"Dancers traverse the room, and each of them covers the stage with their pattern of movement, expressively and individually. They strike their poses again, form a body sculpture in slow motion. The group and the individual, five of them perform their impressive solos, return to the sofa, pull on their kimonos, chat, smoke. The game starts again from the beginning, just as life always starts anew and repeats itself endlessly. A touching dance experience. The memory of the dying swan by famous Anna Pavlova is integrated into this performance expertly:  movements such as a jerking of the head, a floating motion of the arm, a soft waving flow, and the slow languishing on the floor, the twitching of the body. Finish.

The famous cello swan motif guides the five female dancers of CocoonDance Bonn through the piece, connects present and past. These are hauntingly beautiful images. Katrin Banse, Fa-Hsuan Chen, Laure Dupont, Weronika Pelczynska and Inma Rubio transfer the endless loops of an old record into dance until the music stops, while one female dancer, while lying on the floor, once again raises her hand and lets it drop, exhausted. Rapturous applause follows in the not quite sold-out Schauspielhaus." (Juliane Sattler, Hessisch Niedersächsische Allgemeine, 05.01.2014)