Sun, 23 Jun 2002

Bremer Tanztheater back with new work

Helly Minarti, Contributor, Jakarta

Lovers of modern dance likely still recall the performances by Bremer Tanztheater in Jakarta four years ago during the Art Summit II.

Then led by artistic director Susanne Linke, one of the principal figures of German's Tanztheater -- the dancers graced the nights with Linke's three works.

Besides the stunning Frauenballet -- an old dance piece by Linke -- the troupe's performance was marked by the appearance of Ditta Miranda, the only Indonesian dancer in the company.

Next week Bremer Tanztheater will revisit the stage of the Gedung Kesenian in Central Jakarta, only this time with choreographer Urs Dietrich as artistic director.

Dietrich, who helped choreograph the group's performances during Linke's tenure, was appointed artistic director of the troupe after Linke moved to Essen, Germany, in 2000.

An eloquent solo dancer himself -- he could at times be spotted doing the pas de deux with Ditta Miranda at the Bremer theater -- Dietrich, a Swiss national, will dance his solo piece, HERZ.KAMMERN (Heart's Chambers), a new work that premiered last May at the Biennale di Venezia in Italy.

The full-length dance piece for the night will be EVERY.BODY, performed by 10 dancers. Created two years ago, the choreography explores the possibilities of body movement with the curiosity of a researcher, investigating the suppleness of the body from head to toe in a variety of pictures.

A critic observed how the dancers work themselves across the ground as limbless creatures, like maggots or seals, liberating the human body from its normal way of moving, yet far from grandeur of movement.

It is as if in confirmation of Jochen Schmidt, the expert of Tanztheater who came up with the notion that German Tanztheater has many faces, surpassing the entire spectrum of aesthetic expression.

It spans the personally rich, idea-building and dramatic constellation of Pina Bausch, instrumental solos, wild attacks on German society and beautifully drunk adaptations of Purcell opera, Dido and Aneas. Dietrich is only part of this constellation.

Like some of the principal dancers and choreographers who helped define the Tanztheater scene in Germany, Dietrich graduated from Folkwang Hochschule in Essen, where choreographer Kurt Joos first planted the seeds of today's Tanztheater back in the late 1920s.

After a few years of working as an independent dancer and choreographer, he took over the responsibility for the Bremer Tanztheater, together with Linke, for two years (1994 to 1996).

This was the period when audiences could enjoy his graceful, strong movement onstage at the Bremer theater, as well as his choreographies, before he took over the helm of the company at the beginning of the 2000/2001 season.

The Bremer Tanztheater's performance in Jakarta from June 26- 27 will give dance lovers here their latest look at the world of Tanztheater.

Although it has been awhile since Pina Baush performed in the capital back in the 1970s, Jakarta has since been visited by a number of prestigious Tanztheater groups and choreographers -- from Joachim Schloemer to Henrietta Horn.

Urs Dietrich and the Bremer Tanztheater can complete this view of German's modern dance genre.