2016 // 3 performers, 1 technician // stage: 12m x 12m // 1h
ABOUT THE PIECE
// World Premiere: 7 April 2016, Theater im Ballsaal, Bonn
// In collaboration with Theater im Ballsaal Bonn, Malévoz Quartier Culturel, Théâtre du Crochetan Monthey (CH).
// Funded by: Ministerium für Familie, Kinder, Jugend, Kultur und Sport des Landes Nordrhein-Westfalen, Bundesstadt Bonn, Théâtre-ProVS, Le Conseil de la Culture Etat du Valais, La Loterie Romande.
MOMENTUM makes a connection between the dancers and the audience through the palpable feeling of movement in a shared space. The dancers and the audience alike absorb the evolving kinetic energy just like the exhaustion, which become the driving elements of the performance.
There is a club-like atmosphere: A feverish, live-produced and pulsating beat surrounded by an austere, dark setting. Three chimerical figures appear from the vague darkness. Their movements are first hesitant and searching. A slight twist of the torso here, a sudden nod there, then slowly accelerating to a swaying, a twitch or a gyration of the entire body. None of these external proceedings reveal anything about the inner feelings. Only the rhythm and speed unite the movements in a structural dimension. The pure physical, sweat-inducing choreography and the fusion of light and sound are generating a hypnotic energy.
“Exhausted is a whole lot more than tired. The tired no longer prepares for any possibility (subjective): he therefore cannot realize the smallest possibility (objective). But possibility remains, because you never realize all of the possible, you even bring it into being as you realize some of it. The tired has only exhausted realization, while the exhausted exhausts all of the possible. The tired can no longer realize, but the exhausted can no longer possibilitate. 'That the impossible should be asked of me, good, what else could be asked of me?" Does he exhaust the possible because he is himself exhausted, or is he exhausted because he has exhausted the possible? He exhausts himself in exhausting the possible, and vice versa. He exhausts that which is not realized through the possible. He has had done with the possible, beyond all tiredness, "for to end yet again."
(Gilles Deleuze, The Exhausted, translated by Anthony Uhlman)
BY AND WITH
By and with: Alvaro Esteban, Werner Nigg, Andi Xhuma // Choreography, Direction: Rafaële Giovanola // Music: Franco Mento // Light design, set: Marc Brodeur // Parkour Workshop: Frédéric Voeffray // Choreographic Assistance: Fa-Hsuan Chen // Dramaturgy: Rainald Endraß // Management: Mechtild Tellmann // Photos by Klaus Fröhlich // Video trailer by Michael Maurissens – Dancing Frames Productions
“... a virtuoso etude about movement and how movement is perceived using intelligence and sensuality to play with the complex relationship between dancer and spectator. Although the three dancers are undertaking a physically demanding high-performance program while the audience remains in a basically passive state, both parties are nevertheless actors.
The audience members are a part of the production. In this way, the enthralling dance piece adds another exciting facet to the past productions "Pieces Of Me" and "What About Orfeo?" (Bernhard Hartmann, General-Anzeiger, Bonn, 09./10.04.2016)
The male trio in MOMENTUM seems to be “ancient and eternally new … and that is the ingenuity and the very contemporary quality in 'Momentum'. It is both the desire to be completely absorbed within the moment, the heavy beat, the dance, the crowd, and even the horror, the stimulus, the addiction, the pushing, the affirmation. Don’t think. Just keep going and going and going!" (Melanie Suchy, tanzwebkoeln, 07.04.2016)
„CocoonDance with a strong „Momentum“. … a remarkable work about the desire for oneness … .“
(Melanie Suchy, Kölner Stadtanzeiger, 12.04.2016)
“The three dancers are sometimes bodies, sometimes space. They are flooding and floating in all directions. (…) With 45 minutes this is not a long evening that strains the attention of the visitors, but rather one that requires also in hindsight an interest for its richness of perspectives. There is no doubt that its conceptual, also philosophical fluctuation releases our imagination.” (Heinz-Dieter Terschüren, Bonner Rundschau, 16.04.2016)
Choreographed by Rafaële Giovanola, “Momentum” comes across as straightforward and dapper, but anything but bland. At first, the three performing dancers are just lying around, then they begin to twitch – above all with their pelvis. Slowly the movements become larger. They are often jerky, animalistic and aggressive. (…) DJ Franco Mento is playing monotone, hammering, driving beats. The spectators are standing around, some of them begin to teeter and twitch along. Only towards the end, the dancers take off their head scarves and look at the audience. Interestingly enough, this also changes the energy in the room. Their “momentum”, however, doesn’t leave anyone cold. (Sylvia Staude, Frankfurter Rundschau, March 31, 2017)
“… for 40 minutes one stands by and watches in awe how much a man can put up with. “Momentum” is the title of the CocoonDance production that demands everything from its dancers, moment by moment, and always more and more. The dance piece (…) creates a strange maelstrom , like a good action movie, meaning a real spectacle. The dancers are wearing stocking masks over their heads which leads to their de-individualization, their movements are animalistic, but quite powerful, until finally they are standing up. A thought comes up: One is watching, how someone attempts to be.”
(Klas Libuda, Rheinische Post, May 5th, 2017)
"The main attraction of the last festival night then was then "Momentum", one of the successful choreographies in the repertoire of the Bonn CocoonDance Company. (...) Everything in this choreography is leading to an increasing energy.
Almost unintentionally, the pounding rhythm starts to extend to the audience that is grouped on four sides around the dance floor. (...) Any improvisational training can grow into such actions. With Cocoon, of course, the whole gains a significant dimension. There is hardy any company in Germany which creates with their productions a comparable aesthetic density." (Thomas Linden, Kölnische Rundschau, 27.06.2017)
„‚Momentum‘ from the CocoonDance company is intense. The deep bass of the techno soundtracks penetrates into the bodies of both the spectators and the performers. While the audience unconsciously
concentrates on the dance, starts moving to the beat, the electric pulses pull through the bodies of the dancers and push them to maximum capacity. The increasing ecstatic exhaustion of the
dancers creates the so-called moment in the space – less guided by thoughts, but more an instinctive effect. The dance (choreography by Rafaële Giovanola) is very physical, at the time
minimalistic, accompanied not only by the music (DJ Franco Mento), but also impressively by the rhythm of the pulsating light effects (Light design: Marc Bodeur).” (Dora Cohnen CHOICES,
"The dance festival ends with “Momentum”, the brilliant production of Bonn’s CocoonDance Company that shows to what sensual surprises today’s modern dance is capable of." (Thomas Linden, CHOICES, May 26, 2017)
“I could still hear the beat sounding in my ears and rumbling in my body. I suddenly feel like strolling through the city avoiding the obstacles, challenging myself to recognize the structures I see every day. After confirming this play’s continuous success I do accept the implied invitation to move and explore the unknown limits of the human body. There were three European dancers not falling apart of tiredness but overcoming it instead. They were standing in their feet like epic heroes, transcending their human physical capacity, pushing their incredible force and resistance to the limit. Pure adrenaline. Pure sensuality. …
The delicate rhythms swing exquisitely into a dance which escapes from the shapes of the bodies, in a savage vital impulse with the ferocity of a brutal elegance and an outstanding virtuosity. …
The audience couldn't resist the impulse of getting up from the floor and, in a complicity that needs no words, moving to the music compass that possesses the dancers. It's a possession in the strict sense of the word: a conquer of the beat over the reason, and its explosion in the form.” (Nina Blau, 18.10.2017, www.sotobosque.uy, Montevideo Uruguay)
"As soon as the three men find their voice and roar, the piece stops. Even before the language, the philosophy, the politics. "Momentum" by CocoonDance, the Bonn-based ensemble of choreographer Rafaële Giovanola and dramaturge Rainald -Endraß, is embodied physics, in the sense of "impulse" or "momentum". This is also precisely how the dance bores itself into the “moment”, the raw moment.
The location is a kind of cave, which also surrounds the audience: You stand anywhere listening to the mountain and its beats inside. DJ Franco Mento makes his electronic sound swell up and down, grow thicker and thinner, but it never pauses. The spectators eventually surrender to it by moving their heads to the beat. It takes a while for the dancers. First they are lying down, as if dropped down. Something jerks inside of them, arching, tensing, slowly pushing them on. They crawl, slide, lurk, always close to the ground, apparently blind, with their heads wrapped, anonymously.
Slowly they gain in height, arise and submerge again smoothly quickly, they roll, tumble, grasp each other's hands and neck, push, pull, bounce, jump: it looks like archaic dances similar to today's sports cheering rituals. The moment when they us show their faces and look at the audience doesn’t slow them down. On the contrary. Despite or because of this self-recognition , they continue with their senseless, sweaty rumbling and jerking; On and on, with the beat, they are nodding silently - "yes, yes, yes". A piece about the yearning for unity, the oneness. But woe betide anyone who only nods." (Melanie Suchy, tanz, March 2018)
"Is this only symbiosis or already fascism? – The Tanzplattform dance festival at Essen Zollverein enchants its visitors with an ecstasy of movement of both sexes. (Headline)
(...) In general, the (gender) difference turned out to be a secret leitmotif of the festival, especially where the principle of gender-neutrality is otherwise applied notably in a rigid way. Two performances staged male and female bodies so unabashedly that not just gender-fetishists went almost blind and deaf. The audience, in unison, succumbed to the lure and ecstasy of movement ignited by the three stocking masked young men in Rafaële Giovanola's "Momentum" arena.
Following the pulse of the techno-beats pressed by Franco Mento from the mixing desk into the room, the trio performed a rhythmic ritual. Like lizards, the dancers scurried around on the floor, tensing their buttocks and pelvis, bouncing in the air and landing on all fours, all with the precision of a beat that jumped over to the surrounding audience and let people in chorus nod their heads. "Momentum" safely balanced on the narrow ridge between proto-fascist testosterone-fueled swaggering and the longing for a symbiotic immersion into the collective: a Dionysian act with a mixture of Apollonian ingredients, charged with masculine myths." (Dorion Weickmann, Süddeutsche Zeitung, March 19, 2018)
"Whether politics can dance (or one can dance politics) or how dance can politically present or position itself - that could be the guiding question of this year's Tanzplattform.
(...) The CocoonDance Company creates an intense kinaesthetic event - just alone through the confined space - that vibrates between the (again exclusively male) dancers and the audience. The unequal gender relationship is especially striking for those who had chosen to watch the two productions of Grupo de Rua / Bruno Beltrao and the Cocoon Dance Company following each other for their daily performance selection. Afterwards one honestly wonders why such powerful and energetic dances can only be danced by men. While the beat (live performed by DJ Franco Mento) throbs in their bodies, the three dancers wind, wiggle and crawl across the floor so that the stage tilts over horizontally. Their faces covered with black masks, occasionally political images are flaring up that transform the three performers at times into detained hostages, being held back-to-back in political captivity, at times into left-wing activists who are climbing a wall together. Here you can watch how to dance politics: not just by negotiating political issues, but also by building temporary communities that give us a sense of how one could act politically together for a common cause." (Anna Wieczorek, 3/18/2018, tanznetz.de)