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Alessio Trevisani: “1916 onenineonesix”

in Dance/O & P Highlights by

The European Dada movement was born at the Cabaret Voltaire in Zurich in 1916. Artists, writers and intellectuals joined in to create a new language in their rejection of World War I.

One hundred years on and we have to ask, “What has changed?”

Alessio Trevisani’s 1916 onenineonesix opens the Leipzig Tanztheatre season with an examination of where we are in 2016. And it’s marvellous!

Among the many things discussed, I especially liked the portrayal of our response to social media. Images have an immediate impact on our emotions.

In a space of minutes, we can go from laughing at a silly gif to crying over a catastrophe to being moved to sign a petition against an injustice.

When we close those windows, how long do the emotions last? Are they real or only imagined?

This cycle is on repeat. Are the chemicals associated with the emotions released? How will this affect our mental health? Are we being manipulated every moment we are online, or are we in control of what we see and do?

Alessio Trevisani's 1916 onenineonesix, photo Benjamin Streitz
Alessio Trevisani’s 1916 onenineonesix, photo Benjamin Streitz

By choosing to recreate Martha Graham’s 1930 choreography, Lamentation, Alessio brings home the way perspective affects what we see. Originally intended as a vehicle to channel grief, this piece remains relevant when looking at the cause and effects of war.

Due to recent events, one can’t help but see the correlation between the wearing of hijab and burkas and Western society’s reaction.

No matter what we think about how that relates to the role of women in society, I think we all reacted in horror as we watched what must have felt like rape on the beach in France when police forced a woman to remove the long-sleeved shirt of her burkini.

Alessio Trevisani's 1916 onenineonesix, recreation of Martha Graham's Lamentation, photo Benjamin Streitz
Alessio Trevisani’s 1916 onenineonesix, recreation of Martha Graham’s Lamentation, photo Benjamin Streitz

Co-directing is actor André Hinderlich. His presence on stage is strong and precise. You feel his control as he descends in and out of madness as puppeteer and politician. Somehow he is quite foreboding as the lights stream down on his bald head and sculpted ruddy beard.

On percussion is Philipp Lamprecht. He includes a variety of  Eastern and Western instruments. He is usually in an orchestra pit or to the side of the stage, so for him it was a new experience to be a physical part of the piece. He is the relentless rhythym of the drill sergeant, the organ grinder’s monkey and the beat of wild abandonment that has come to “take our women.”

Alessio, André and Philipp worked closely together to make a piece rich in layers and texture.

They all felt this was an important topic to tackle and wanted to get to the meat of it rather than just scratching the surface. The result is a hard-hitting look at our time.

I love the blend of influences: Butoh, mouth percussion, physical theatre, singing. The dancers have truly stretched themselves well beyond their boundaries.

Rumor has it there may be more performances in the spring. If so, it would be well worth your time to see it.

Alessio Trevisani's 1916 onenineonesix, photo Hagen Wolf
Alessio Trevisani’s 1916 onenineonesix, photo Hagen Wolf

Alessio Trevisani’s 1916 onenineonesix
Werk 2
25, 26, 27 May @Werk 2 . 8pm

Maeshelle West-Davies gleans her varied life experiences to expose a personal perspective through a multitude of mediums. Sound, video, photography, dance, performance and public art are the tools she uses to convey her message. Her work is a response not only to a physical journey, but an emotional one, as with all of us who walk along or beside our individual paths.

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