connect, grow & thrive.

Dancemakers – Series 8

Review written by Francesca Duchesne:


After raving about watching Tanz 24 a couple of weeks ago, I eagerly went along to Dancemakers – Series 8 anticipating something inspiring. Well, once more I wasn’t disappointed. Many of the dancers that enthralled me a few weeks ago, I was delighted to find either choreographing the dances or gracing the dance floor themselves once again. Yes, for the second time I found myself rubbing my hands together in glee and knowing I was going to enjoy the evening. So if you were lucky enough to see Tanz 24’s performance, then you’ll find Dancemakers – Series 8 is well worth a visit in its own right.

Each of the 7 performances tackled society’s preconceptions of behaviour, habituality and fragility. The performances are challenging, energised and demonstrate the kind of forward thinking choreography and dance techniques of the future.

Right from the first act I’mpossible, Dor Mamalia challenges your conceptions of traditional dance. You find yourself confronted by a giant heart emoticon. The watcher becomes unsure how to react. Do you laugh or tut with amusement or perhaps wonder if you’ve wandered into the wrong room by accident? Then you’re struck with the intensity and often violent emotions produced by Dor Mamalia himself and suddenly the humour is lost. Dor Mamalia demonstrated in dance love’s volatility, its passion, hatred and questionable judgement, but also be consoled there’s vulnerability there too.

Carlos Kerr Jr.’s PlayFULL, will find you nodding with agreement at the ritual of life and the actions that we all mimic in private as well as in public. Three men jostling, teasing and taunting each other taking great joy at each other’s discomfort. It tackles our prejudices to one another in a hard hitting but highly comical fashion. In fact, there were times that I wondered if I was watching a scene from an Abbot & Castello movie or perhaps Charlie Chaplin, with that slapstick humour that brings a smile to your face whether you want it to or not!

What Lies Between, choreographed by Zach Enquist will leave you feeling unsure of love. It’s both beautiful to watch, gentle and caressing, but also demonstrates the ugly side of love as dancer Sada Mamedove becomes a crazed personification of envy, infidelity, and  temptation.

I found Olivia Lecomte and Sada Mamedova’s Kintsukuroi mesmerising. Performed by Olivia Lecomte, I suddenly found I was watching what could have been a scene from the exorcist. Her movements both slow, deliberate and beautifully controlled. She contorts herself into what can only be described as unnatural (possibly unholy) positions. I was riveted! This piece definitely played to my liking for a good horror movie. Fluid, graceful and highly disturbing Olivia Lecomte almost dissolves into pieces before your very eyes and then rebuild herself again, just as we all do in life time and time again.

Then more light hearted humour again with Dario Dinuzzi’s The Balancing Act. We’ve all been there on a train or tram, all preoccupied with our own musings and our own personas…never knowing quite what to do with ourselves or where to look. The Balancing Act is a joyous performance and show’s us what it would be like to just let go of all our inhibitions and social constraints. Then of course inevitably, revert right  back to them again.

Crescens, choreographed by Dario Dinuzzi will sooth and lull you with a more balletic performance that delves into the notion of loneliness, with Enrique Saez Martinez bringing passion, pain, remorse and finally that all so important glimmer of hope to the forefront of this performance

Finally, +3 by Shota Inoue brings the performance to an end. It’s comical and full of nods to bygone days of slapstick humour again. The twisting and writhing together of the performers puts me in mind of writhing snakes and throughout the performance there’s  one of the pack that’s always comically out of kilter with the others…such is life!

A Piece of Clay.

This was an additional treat for those of us clever enough to hang around and catch this ingenious performance. Being someone that dabbles in sculpture myself, the idea of plunging myself into a bed of slippery, squishy clay thrills me to the core. Dario Dinuzzi performance definitely did Barabar Hennig Marques’ concept justice. To say that Dario Dinuzzi was writhing around in clay was an times he positively plunged himself into it with such passion and pleasure we all wanted to join him. The clay, representing earth and our organic attachment to it as biological beings was danced upon, smeared all over and caressed with great passion, Dario Dinuzzi’s movements expressed such awe and frenzied fear at times you find yourself living with him the notion of both earth and time slipping and flowing through his body and fingers. His performance was riveting and once finished almost the entire audience felt the need (and did) go and plunge their own hands into the clay to feel its pull and marvel at the hand marks and foot falls left on the clay bed  like fossil remnants.

Dancemakers – Series 8 is running at the Südpol until 17th June 2017.

Charlie Hartmann is the managing director of the Living in Luzern organisation which focuses on helping international residents connect, grow and thrive in Switzerland.