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Recording: 2015-05-21 , HAU Hebbel am Ufer (HAU1) (Video © Walter Bickmann)

Laurent Chétouane


HAU Hebbel am Ufer (HAU1)

Production Details / Press Releases

For the first time ever Laurent Chétouane brings on stage the text which has been the hidden source of his choreographies for years, namely Heinrich von Kleist’s “On the Marionette Theatre”.

What should we take into account when we dance? Under what circumstances can we and must we move, today, in the future or already for a long time, even always? What is the unavoidable reality that we have to consider, whether we want to or not, before we take any step at all? If Kleist, in his story “On the Marionette Theatre”, is looking to teach us a lesson in this regard, it is that each of our impulses – even before political, social or moral circumstances – is first and foremost ruled by one thing: by the basic law of gravity. Personal freedom and even grace have to confront it before anything else.

So what to do in view of this force? This is perhaps the simplest and most important question in dance, in trying to answer it, dance negotiates the human form and provides it with a figure. Roughly speaking, two answers to this question have come forth over its history: the ballet opposed gravity with an ideal of striving upwards, even to the point of weightlessness, while modern and postmodern dance countered this by affirming gravity, letting the body fall. Aesthetic discourse has formulated its own response, but it can be related to this history: for the former, Schiller can serve as an informant, for the latter, Kleist’s essay has frequently been used as legitimation.

“Considering” is the attempt, turning to Kleist again, to get at a different response. The setting of this attempt consists of several levels: there is the level of the text itself, Kleist’s words, which are spoken by Johann Jürgens and rendered audible in the room over loudspeakers; there are the dancers Raphaëlle Delaunay and Mikael Marklund and along with them Laurent Chétouane’s choreography; and finally there is Mathias Halvorsen at the piano and the music played by him, which establishes the beginning: Delaunay and Marklund begin dancing to Charles Ives, after which they take off on a journey through a dramaturgy that consists of a total of four more parts.

This structure follows the original publication format of “On the Marionette Theatre”, which Kleist himself oversaw in 1810 in his Berliner Abendblätter. He published the text from December 12 to 15 in four issues of his newspaper, thus dividing it into four parts. Just as almost each of the four text sections forms its own chapter or its own story, each further scene after the prelude with Ives is formed by a pairing of text and music, and each of the pairs in turn corresponds to its own choreography.

The choreographies of the four parts correspond to a development that increasingly suggests that there might be a different way to confront gravity. Perhaps it could be about opening the body up more and more to what Kleist – or more precisely: Herr C., one of the characters in the story – calls “the path taken by the soul of the dancer.”

The soul in this case would not be any spiritual principle, but the “vis motrix”, in modern language called moving force, but also the sense of balance. It is this intuition that would make it possible to go along with gravity, in which the body would no longer be heavy or light, but heavy and light at the same time. The spirit would not be shut out of this process, it could occasionally even provide the goal of the movement, the goal of the path, but the path could only be taken by remaining in constant contact with the “soul” that obeys gravity. Only by using its bodily sense could we envision how we might actually take this path. And if contact to the “soul” were found, then ultimately a long path could be marked out, a path that consists of many successive phrases of movement, of a dynamic made up of the most diverse transitions, making it possible to imagine a choreography of continuity.
(on “Considering”, 20.5.2015)

Laurent Chétouane (born 1973 in Soyaux, France) is a Berlin based theatre director and choreographer. After receiving a diploma in engineering studies, he took up drama studies at the Sorbonne in Paris and the studies of stage direction at the Frankfurt University of Music and Performing Arts in Germany. Since 2000, he has been working as a theatre director at various major theatres, among them venues in Hamburg, Munich, Weimar, Cologne, Stuttgart, Athens, Oslo and Zurich. Since 2006, he has been also been working as a choreographer, presenting his dance productions in France, Belgium, Austria, Turkey, Norway, Switzerland, Italy, the Netherlands and Russia. Alongside his artistic work, Laurent has been teaching at various art academies and universities, among them institutions in Frankfurt, Gießen, Hamburg, Leipzig and Oslo. In 2008, he received the Wild Card of RUHR.2010 and the sponsorship prize for outstanding young artists awarded by the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia.

Cast & Credits

Choreography: Laurent Chétouane
Dance: Raphaëlle Delaunay, Mikael Marklund
Piano: Mathias Halvorsen
Narrator: Johann Jürgens
Dramaturgy: Georg Döcker
Light: Stefan Riccius
Sound processing and sound concept: Johann Günther
Piano Sonata No. 1 (5/5) by Charles Ives
Variations op. 27 by Anton Webern
Phasma by Beat Furrer
Variations sérieuses op. 54 by Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy
Partita I (1-3), BWV 825 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Assistant choreography: Lisa Blöchle
Production: Christine Kammer and Hendrik Unger
Many thanks to Jörg Lehmann, Regina Menzel, Markus Joss, Lars Rebehn, Tomás Correa and Stroemfeld Verlag
Production: Pas de deux GbR.

Coproduction: La Commune aubervilliers, Tanzquartier (Vienna), HAU Hebbel am Ufer
Funded by The Governing Mayor of Berlin – Senatskanzlei – Cultural Affairs and the Fonds Darstellende Künste e.V.
Supported by Dock11 / Eden ***** Berlin

HAU Hebbel am Ufer (HAU1)

Stresemannstr. 29
10963 Berlin

Tickets: +49 (0)30 259 004 27

Video Documentation

The video documentation is produced on behalf of the Senate Department for Culture and Social Cohesion. The purpose of this contract is to document productions in the field of contemporary dance in Berlin. The master recordings are archived by the University Library of the Berlin University of Arts. Copies of the recordings on DVD are available for viewing exclusively in the reference collections of the following archives (at media desks in these institutions):

University Library of the Berlin University of Arts
Mediathek für Tanz und Theater des Internationalen Theaterinstituts / Mime Centrum Berlin
Inter-University Centre for Dance Berlin (HZT)

Laurent Chétouane / Trailers and Video Documentations

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