Alan Lucien Øyen: Story, story, die. 30.08.2019, Tanz im August, HAU1, Berlin.
White stage lights off, yellow proscenium lights on; an abrupt switch accompanied by a foley sound to make the transition not only visible, but audible – as if to emphasise the advent of every cinematic scene filled with the yearning for appreciation.
In a seemingly endless string of situations, containing a somewhat awkward mix of neoclassical dance, speech, gestures and out-of-bounds movement, the dancers recount stories of their wish to be liked, of who they would like to be liked by and the anxieties surrounding potential rejection.
The flawless execution of the choreography, the dancers‘ incredible velocity and readiness to fully embrace and embody a story, carry the burden of having to compensate for all those moments when the dramaturgy fails to detach from the superficial: a re-enactment of a Hollywood dance scene, an intermezzo with a bully – the evil inner voice – dressed in a teddy bear costume, the candid listing of achievements („I want a house, with friends…“), the Techno party, the jazzy moves towards the audience. Rather than displaying the personal dilemma between „being liked by all means“ and „being honest with oneself“, this constant vying for filmic effect seems to express the choreography’s strong desire to be liked by its audience, with a soundtrack that readily snaps into place as soon as the movement starts.
The dancers progress through the space like interlacing waves. The way Zander Constant locks his legs in fear and desperation and Olivia Ancona’s touch of matter-of-factness as she enters and leaves the stage are the beacons of interest that keep both focus and attention alive. But the hope for the story to finally die grows with every yellow proscenium light that announces yet another one to come – again.