connect, grow & thrive.

Tanz 25: Variationen des Seins

A review by Francesca Duchesne


‘Variationen des Seins’ (Variations of Being), is a performance designed to both assault and stimulate the senses. If contemporary dance and white noise/trance music really isn’t your thing, then perhaps I would advise that you give this performance a miss. On the other hand, if you are a reasonably broad minded person then this performance will definitely challenge any pre-conceived ideas you may have about traditional dance and its accompanying environment. It takes place in the Luzerner Theatre Box, which as its name suggests is the large wooden box structure located just opposite the Theatre. It’s a clean crisp and quite sterile environment, with the audience sitting in two rows around a stage in the centre of the room. Once seated the audience feel an immediate sense of exposure, and this it turns out is entirely deliberate.  At the beginning of the performance we are greeted with an immaculately choreographed seated sequence. For those who have ever commuted by subway, you would have found yourself transported back to the hustle and bustle of the anonymous masses and those oh so frequent look at your shoes moments. I then suddenly find myself sitting face to face with a dancer and the victim of what I can only describe as a relentlessly long gaze.  All personal boundaries being now inconceivably blurred, I immediately had one of those “Awkward” moments. To the amusement of the dancer before me, I found myself compelled to look away, with eyes flitting madly around the room any which way I could to avoid that gaze (in much the same way as a startled rabbit runs around in circles when caught in headlights)! This initial assault on personal boundaries leaves you with a slight feeling of discomfort that never quite leaves you throughout the whole performance, setting the scene for what is yet to come. Indeed, the dancers come so close on occasions that you could literally reach out and touch them, leaving you wondering if you’re going to get pulled into the performance yourself or perhaps even sat upon at times.

Using sound, lights and abruptness as the dance moves from one movement to the next ‘Variationen des Seins’ will both challenge and assault your senses by turn. However, throughout the dancers are mesmerising, and never disappoint, continuing to amaze me with their almost unnatural ability to morph and contort their bodies into unfathomable shapes and forms. Georg Reischl’s choreography demonstrates every change in tempo and volume with alacrity, certainly show casing each dancers skill. The performance isn’t what I would call elegant, rather its very intense and there were often so many dancers on stage at once that the overall impression was a bit chaotic, but I rather think this was actually the point!

You can catch ‘Tanz 25: Variationen des Seins’ at the Luzerner Theater until 19 October 17.

Francesca Duchesne.

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