The Great Leap
“It’s in the air”, the new piece by Mette Ingvartsen and Jefta van Dinther, premiered at Pact Zollverein: a feasibility study into the possibilities of the human body.
The two dancers start moving slowly. But for the next hour or so, Mette Ingvartsen and Jefta van Dinther will no longer stand still. This comes as no surprise since their new piece entitled “It’s in the air” – this season’s third premiere at Pact Zollverein – deals with the body in motion.
The two dancers are seen jumping up and down on trampolines, timidly at first, but without interruption. After near-static movements at the beginning, a rhythm suddenly imposes itself on the play through the screeching noise of the springs, a substitute for music. The dancers’ leaps get gradually higher, echoed by the increasingly louder squeaks. Ingvartsen and Van Dinther turn to the public sitting on either side of the trampolines.
The dancers’ movements are somewhat like an encouragement: Look at what our bodies can do! Slowly, almost mechanically, they take off their sweaters first, then their shirts. Ingvartsen and Van Dinther shed new light on everyday movements by performing them in the air. The movements thus become meaningful, though the choreography never suggests a specific interpretation, the simple and subdued stage direction allowing each figure to produce a new – and all-too-familiar – image.
When falling on their backs, arms raised, the dancers look like fans jumping from the stage into the crowd at a rock concert. One moment they seem to be skating, the next they are marching and dancing. Sometimes it looks as though they were leaping over a ditch or as though someone were pulling them upwards on strings before letting them drop. Ingvartsen and Van Dinther literally perform a feasibility study of the human body: their virtuoso dance performance explores the boundaries between free and wilful movement and its culturally conditioned codes.
Ingvartsen and Van Dinther could be said to illustrate Heidegger’s philosophical theory of man’s “thrownness into the world”. While in dance theatre the movement of the body is not an unusual topic, the idea to relocate the action in the air proves as convincing as its straightforward implementation.
Just as much as the crowd in the former shower room of the coal mine, the two air dancers seemed to be enjoying their great leaps.
Sarah Heppekausen, WAZ Essen, 16.06.2008