Choreography starts with five motionless minutes

The Folkwang presents ”Blauzeit“ (Bluetime) by Henrietta Horn

WAZ 05.2006
Sonja Mersch

How long can five minutes be? Five dancers are standing motionless on an empty stage, their eyes focused and directed to the front. Perfect silence, cool lighting. And for five minutes, nothing happens. This is the unusual beginning of “Blauzeit”, Henrietta Horn’s new piece for the Folkwang Tanzstudio. After its première in Leverkusen it is now presented at the Neue Aula of the Folkwang Hochschule.

They come and go, fall down and get up again. The movements of the dancers, all of them brilliant, seem sometimes smooth, sometimes abrupt. They twitch, roll on the ground, hold their position for seconds. Accompanied by sounds resembling a metallic scuttling at first, then ringing, finally a mouth organ, all created by New York composer David Lang.

Much happens simultaneously, apparently aggressive, though it never appears disordered: Every step, every movement here seems precisely choreographed.

The duos are particularly impressive. Two dancers wrestle each other breathlessly; another couple uses intense eye and physical contact. Movement sequences of almost tender closeness. The lighting a warm yellow, white, then bluish-cold again. And always those plastic bugs scuttling down a glass wall. “Clack, clack, clack,” they go and it seems almost funny.

Look to the bugs

TANZ / “Blauzeit”, Henrietta Horn’s new piece, premieres in Essen, partly inspired by composer David Lang’s music.

NRZ Essen 19 May 2006
Dagmar Schenk-Güllich

Henrietta Horn surprises. One can be almost certain that each of her pieces reveals new movement patterns, new stylistic tendencies, extraordinary content. Now the choreographer and - together with Pina Bausch - co-director of the Folkwang Tanzstudio stirs up excitement again with her new work, “Blauzeit”.

Music, time, and - here comes the surprise - bugs made this piece what it is. Henrietta Horn based it on music by American composer David Lang who was born in Los Angeles in 1957. …

… The piece still has the choreographer’s angular, minimalist, expressive signature style. It begins with a standstill, a five-minute staring contest between the dancers and the audience unrolling in complete silence. The deadlock is broken with the first low sound, followed mainly by precisely executed, virtuoso ground movements of the ten dancers.

The stage is white and empty; a narrow, high glass wall puzzles the audience. Its existence is later explained, when the first bugs hit it, when they crawl down the wall in droves. The dancers imitate their movements. Aggressively vigorous duos recur again and again. One dancer shows a subtle and synchronous improvisation to the sounds of a mouth organ. Low tinkling, rattling and rustling, as if produced by insect wings, remains, a gentle voice commands “And, and, and, and …” A fascinating piece.

Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger - No. 105 - Saturday/Sunday, 6/7 May 2006
Ingeborg Schwenke-Runkel
The Folkwang Tanzstudio Essen launched “Blauzeit”

… Everything in this 70-minute-piece revolves around calm in movement. It is an inward-looking, demure piece, very German and yet exciting, because it upsets you. It is deep. Reflective. Analytical. It asks: How much standstill can a form of art whose life is movement tolerate? …

… “Blauzeit” is taxing, demands our concentration and relies on our willingness to engage with the silence which is interrupted by surges of movement again and again. …

Of men and bugs

“Blauzeit” in Leverkusen

ballettanz 06/06
Jochen Schmidt

The invitation reads, “’Blauzeit’ centres on the question ‘How long are five minutes?’”. For five minutes, the dancers of the Folkwang Tanzstudio, loosely distributed across the stage, stand staring at the audience before they suddenly drop to the ground and stay there in foetal position for so long that one begins to believe that “Blauzeit” will consist of nothing but a series of such motionless five-minute-sequences.

… Henrietta Horn develops the dances taking place in the hour between the motionless first and last five minutes of “Blauzeit” less from some hallowed old dancing techniques than from basic movements of everyday - and not just human - life. The stage floor becomes the most important part of the space. The Folkwang dancers walk and stand still, lie and sit, run and skip. They build bridges and tunnels with their bodies. They move on all fours, and occasionally resemble big crustaceans or bugs. …

They strike threatening postures or perform shadow-boxing. Occasionally they seem overwhelmed by tender feelings, and then someone holds the head of another person who is stretched out on his or her back, as if to keep it from touching the ground.

Among the most amusing elements is the playful use of small plastic figures of men and bugs which move down the large glass pane, the most important prop on a wide open stage surrounded by a low fence no higher than a span. First one of the dancers, watching almost jealously that no one else interfere with his game, throws them against the glass, then another, and finally a real mass migrations of small toys pours down from heaven, toys formed like miniature humans and insects which supply the patterns for the movement material which Henrietta Horn used to construct her piece. …