Layer by Layer
Henrietta Horn says goodbye with Ablicht
Tanzjournal 4/08, Hartmut Regitz

The original title of this choreography was Coda. Now it is called Ablicht, and its opening sequence does indeed evoke a photograph: the dancers at the Schauspielhaus Bochum find themselves confronted with the spectators as if captured by the camera - frozen in pain and yet so agitated deep inside that the audience cannot help noticing. Lips tightly closed, they have the melody under firm control at first. But their joint music cannot be suppressed forever, and after a while its sound at last struggles free from their static bodies: Henrietta Horn's departure from the Essen Folkwang Tanzstudio is marked by a choreographic crescendo that draws a deep breath before it „occupies” the space.
No last dance then. Certainly not a dance to squeeze tears from the audience, more of a „piece of generations”, as Horn puts it, assiduously exploring the young company members' motives: not in comfortable anecdotes but associatively - a piece that uncovers each personality's characteristics, layer by layer. Take Marcela Ruiz Quintero for example, writhing on the floor in a soft and feminine manner, lost in dreams and yet wholly with herself as soon as she mobilises her energy. And there is Kim Sokolowski, the man in the brown suit, who responds to her condensed power after a considerable while: angular, square, almost inhibited - even shy.
Horn's breathing gets more and more hectic. At intervals, Ablicht, choreographed to the music of Flat Earth Society, NAFT, David Darling and Peter Giger, seems like a fast paced revue from which solos keep emerging - like the downright surrealist scene when Ines Fischbach lets her hair fall over her face as if she wanted to hide behind a hairy curtain. But this astonishing game of hide-and-seek doesn't last long. The choreographer's empathy draws from her dancers ever different movements which may not always be comprehensible but set us thinking long after the show.
When they all return from the intermission, they are quite open. Auftaucher is seven years old now and has lost none of its sensuality. Horn realises her stories only in the bodies of all participants - driven by the „rattling” sound, they engage in correspondence and confrontation that are not as mundane as they first appear to the audience. One can only hope that Horn will re-emerge - our country needs choreographers like her.

Quiet ecstasy
Last weekend, Henrietta Horn presented the premire of „Ablicht” and her 2001 piece „Auftaucher” in Bochum. The audience thanked her with thundering applause.
WAZ Kultur, Gudrun Norbisrath, 30. June 2008

This is what dance and football have in common: passion. Only with dancing the news hasn't spread to everyone yet, so it's a good thing the Schauspielhaus Bochum established „tanzBO”, a co-operation with the Essen Folkwang Tanzstudio, two years ago. Now this series saw its first premire, and it was like a Friday night in summer: light, intoxicating and trembling between warmth and mild coolness. Of course dance is not just passion; dancing is both form and its suspension; it's ecstasy, lust, craving and melancholia, but also ceremony and rigidity. Dancing has a special, intense way of telling stories about life.
... „Ablicht”: an enigmatic title, but a piece of incandescent clarity, telling the old story of life and love. Seven dancers confront the audience. Three men, four women. They are standing there, upright and firm, light and shadow falling on them. A sound like humming is pulsating in a great silence, one voice, many voices, the humming becomes rhythmic; something is chanted, what? Distant instruments merge with this rising chorus and were it not for some careless coughs in the audience one would find oneself transported to the stars. As it is, you angrily reflect that in Bayreuth this kind of thing would be punished by tarring and feathering. In Bochum, respect for art carries the day after all, and a crescendo of voices can rise and make you experience something quite astonishing: emotion, communicated by motionless bodies. The sudden return of silence comes as a shock.
A shock resolved by heavy breathing. Panting. More humming and finally movement, almost painfully expected. One dancer breaks out of the line, jerking like a robot, a woman follows, but she is dancing. At last! The line stirs: moving up, closing ranks, leaving gaps. She is dancing meditatively, a writhing movement, the man watches; and then his turn: twitching, fidgeting. She rejects him, breathing and panting, then the company bursts in ecstatic joy. Seven great dancers, seven simultaneous solos. And suddenly there's only one stern dancer left; she has loosened her blonde hair, a cello plays very gently, she twitches as if she was struggling, as if she was ecstatic. She seems wounded, even more so when she slowly pushes the hair out of her face and leaves. They dance their approach: a woman, lascivious like an aquatic plant; a man, gurgling like a lovesick frog. One man grasps a woman, she defends herself; the others cast knowing looks at the spectators. The lighting changes: the stage becomes a soft green underwater space. Or bluewhiteblackcold. Evading, conquering, striking, and leaving. Always cut off until only the audible breathing is left, the visible standstill. What is this? Calculation, emotion. Power that allows itself to be harnessed; sentiment looking for expression.
„Auftaucher” is different. Its subject is the same as „Ablicht's”: love, life, breathing, dancing. But it's younger, faster, more aggressive. Hotter. ...

These great moments are marred by the knowledge that this is the last piece Henrietta Horn created in the Ruhr region. She will leave Essen this summer. The final applause was a thank you for her - it lifted the roof.