For the closing event of Tanznacht Berlin 2020, two very different female artists have been invited to combine their practices: Mmakgosi Kgabi is a voice-over artist who finds ways of embodying language and speech with her own «(Dance) Encyclopedia of the Mouth». Dasniya Baddhanasiri is a ballet dancer and choreographer who runs a dojo in Wedding in the Japanese art of Tight Bondage.
In «An Unboxing Ballet Beat», Mmakgosi Kgabi and Dasniya Baddhanasiri conduct an open, body-voice dialogue, simultaneously breaking down sentences and ballet vocabulary to create a rough working environment. By their reciprocal approach of bodily listening, they open spaces in which processes of connecting and dividing occur equally, in parallel. The audience is cordially invited to engage with this exchange and to join the artists on their journey through a space-time continuum full of surprises.
Mmakgosi Kgabi is a trained physical theatre and improvisation performer and also a performance facilitator. Her work often interrogates the premise of identity and nationalism, revisiting themes on the Black Female Body Politics and Migration.
The choreographer Dasniya Baddhanasiri researches movement from the perspective of the dancer. Her primary interest is the redefinition of body images, which she seeks within a physical and cultural spectrum ranging from Japanese bondage art to deconstructed ballet practice.
In June we were invited to show The Männy at Autoren(theater)tage. Because of the situation it’s now postponed to autumn. Fingers crossed that it can come to Berlin! It will be a crazy job to set up the installtion in a new space, despite our meticulous documentation of every single rope critter.
New years vacation, knitting and knotting this and them, developing part of the stage design for ‘The Männy’. On the left suspended a cocoon which gives birth to an adorable rope creature in the piece. The happy side of the cocoon is made of more organic material, flowers, willow cotton, beeswax and compostable left overs. The back is covered in bitumen, an oily and somewhat burned, demolished landscape. ➿
Just finishing an inspiring challenge with Kevin Rittberger, Nora Khuon and Sandra Fink at Schauspiel Hannover. ‘The Männy’, created with texts and themes from Donna Haraway’s work ‘Staying with the Trouble’, amongst others.
It was intense! My brain turning to mash reading and discussing theories and highly sensitive texts with five devoted actors, and a patient team. Everybody was open to the very end. Working so detailed through and inbetween each sentence with Kevin and Nora. And, open to dive with me into the rope world, learning some shibari, and navigating my rope installation through space as if it was another play partner. A sort of rhizom, air roots, or anarchically grown dendrites.
It wasn’t my first stage design with ropes, but the first in close collaboration with the workshop and technical department of the theatre. Using thousands of meters of jute and hemp. Feels.
And also the first time using rope juxtaposed and at the same time closely intertwined with 90 minutes poetic theoretical content, and developing it over the course of the evening.
The actors did a really good job. Telling an utopia involving plantoids. A kind of cyber biological connection between plants, insects and humans. Screaming of the shrinking population to safe our planet from dying (very roughly). Or for example other systems of ‘care’.
I much enjoyed searching for scenes/images, and developing a dance sequence with the actors. Opening up the more bodily dimension to them, and working through pain, muscle memory, nerves and endorphines. And, there was also the level of finding an approach together with Kevin, and get to know his work. Sometimes rough, often new but in the end productive I find. Yea, I’ d like to continue choreographing in this way, crossing over fields!