Sanctuary. The end is the beginning.

The autumn leaves are falling and the cities call bursts of cultural activities. Within this spinning wheel of decisions we put our final performance series of “Sanctuary”, the European project with partners from Turkey, Lithuania, Malta and Poland. It was successful. There was a good press and the audience loved it in different ways.
The success was especially earned by our artists who did their jobs with dedication, to turn farms into stages, who otherwise do their every-day-business, they harvest, sow, calculate, apply for money, plough, tend, sell, breed, till the soil and irrigate, in the supposedly quietness on the edges of our cities.
Here we have danced, spoken, played music, rehearsed, installed and insisted. We did draw on rubber boots and took them off again. We tuned our instruments, tested the acoustics, we made friends with cats and ducks, we stroked cats and bulls, we came to arrangements with horses. We placed sound systems and spotlights, cash boxes and we were eating and drinking. We selected groups and audience, organized car sharing.
Are farms sanctuaries, places of retreat or shelter? Yes, depending on the viewer, sometimes for a short period, only if you lay back on nature and yourself. At least, farms are locations which generate edification. The landscape which presents itself as something new here and there, when there are dancers on a hay-wagon, moving in minimalistic style giving the landscape the foreground. It becomes a painting, makes us feel silence which is torn in pieces by traffic noises in real. Every observer has his or her own deepness, own memories or wishes, leading vaguely into emotions.
When we are watching small images every day for hours and hours, on the notebook screens, the mini-screens of our mobile phones, then the vastness of the land is a relaxing field, for some it even is distressing.
When Yanlav Tumursaikhan is playing on his Morin Khuur, when a flock of sheep draw cycles and horses assemble in the first row, dancers pay homage and disperse folklore, making it to a modern event, then these moments which you could only experience here and now. They will never show up again in this form, at that time. These are moments of fluency that could never be reproduced, cannot be documented. Holy moments are created which are spiritual as well as real.
When the musician is communicating with a turkey on a musical basis, this is not a romantic idea but part of the experience in “LandTanz”. When the cello is calming the bulls in the stable, when singing inspire ducks for new movements in the small lake, then nature and the arts are joining each others. Exaggeration ? No. These are reasons to leave the theatre to work at places which are not unspoiled, but nevertheless they do not restrict the views and makes you breathe.
“What is behind the curtain” is a song by Laurie Anderson. When the actor opens the barn door and the barn turns out to be a sacred space, when there is an installation behind the next door in a workshop, where you can see red spiders’ webs, where a woman in red is captured…It looks as if it was beamed from somewhere else, when the dancer appears, behind her hills of wheat looking like the miniature remake of the desert Gobi. Strong music is playing and the dancer orders to bring her inside outsight, turning it into dance. Barn closed – illusion ends.
When a kennels is lightened by a living-room lamp and the dancer is living in this room with fencing all around her, the audience is watching a cell, a limited space reminding of compulsion and discipline, which also supports thoughts without limits.

The actor who is changing his look, once he is an old man, once a farmer, always following the clichés, he turns into a child playing with little things. He is a shaman washing the hands of an old woman, carrying trees, being the court jester and picture frame leader.
In the dark back of a barn, an old lady is sitting on a small plastic tractor. In vain she is trying to move forward. You cannot hear what she is saying; you cannot see where she wants to go. At another place she is sitting on a water bucket, wants to move, but fails.
The actress is standing in the window frame of the hayloft. She is waiting for him who will never show up. She is living on a playground telling us how lost farmers are, falling from cliffs. Wearing a monk costume she is sitting on the edge of a water basin peering into the distance – a lost creature.
A bold headed creature is celebrating something weird, a kind of ritual with bells in her hand. She moves as if she was in a new world, touching everything very carefully. Where can it be, the room for her? The lady is wandering through the bulls stable is maybe symbolizing blood which makes life living. The graceful procedures of a land dance in front of piles of wood, of old land machines, on the edges of a ducks lake, that procedure seem to carry a bit of luck.
The audience is sitting together with the artists, drinking, eating, talking, listening to music, wondering if there is a central theme.


photos: Guntram Walter

Postet on 04.10.2011 by Rolf Dennemann
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