Boris Charmatz: danse de nuit. 24.09.2017, Volksbühne Berlin/Tempelhof, Berlin.

Navigation – certainly a topic in „danse de nuit“ by choreographer Boris Charmatz. Six performers, sporting a fluorescent overall, a long salwar-styled shirt, leggings or a white cowboy jacket with a heap of long fringes, enter the waiting crowd of an audience in front of the main entrance of former Tempelhof Airport, Berlin.

In a relentless concert of vocalisation ranging from rhythmic utterances to entire scenes of spoken word (the slaughter of cartoonists at satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo’s headquarters in Paris 2016, a litany of actors and actresses acting in „abject“ scenarios…), the space is sculpted, if not literally concertated by the sounds hanging in the air and the dancers who − with stunning expertise and tangible concentration − criss-cross the space to either form islands of action, single settings, to whisper in people’s ears, rub against them, shouting at them to „move!“, thereby turning the audience into a scenographic ameoba that accompanies the sadness, the stress, the scaredness of the dancers‘ imaginary.

Yet, they are not the only ones filtering through the crowd like magnets in a polarised field: four scenography assistants, equipped with black LED-plated backpacks, quietly follow the scenes, switch on their portable lights to actually shower the people with thousands of lumens, thus theatricizing the audience’s experience. Through helpless mimicking gestures − like holding an Uzi submachine gun − as well as through poetic and dramatic reflections, the performers make space for themselves, their space amongst the bystanders, their space in their heads, in their movement range, enabling them to carry on with their matter-of-factly dancing, clapping, jumping, sliding.

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