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Wednesday, March 22, 2023

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Dancers over 40: The Dance On Ensemble plays with many shades of grey

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The Dance On Ensemble is unique in the German dance scene. The company was founded in 2015 with the aim of only hiring professional dancers over 40. Dance On has earned a high reputation in seven years – and by no means as a senior group. An exciting repertoire has been developed with renowned international choreographers who see the rich experience and immense body knowledge of the dancers as inspiration.

The Dance On Ensemble presented the new production “Mellowing” in the Radialsystem. The Greek choreographer Christos Papadopoulos developed the piece together with eleven dancers. The musician Coti K accompanied the creation process and created the electronic sounds according to the specifications of the choreographer.

Nuances from slate gray to anthracite

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On the back wall you can see a light stripe that turns into shades of gray. The costumes of the performers are also mostly in shades of grey. It’s not “50 Shades of Gray” that can be seen, but different nuances from slate gray to anthracite. Even when dancing, the gradations are important here.

The eleven dancers perform one after the other. At first they hardly come from the spot. You alternately bend and straighten your knees – in a barely noticeable movement. The arms hang loosely; the performers appear very relaxed and wide awake at the same time.

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Then they move in tiny steps through the room, which is now brightly lit. The feet are always in contact with the ground. The composition initially has something monotonous with its constant pulse, which is then overlaid by various rhythmic patterns. The dance seems ascetic and almost meditative with movements on the border of the perceptible.

Repetitions and rhythmic variations

Less is more. Christos Papadopoulos has made a name for himself with minimalist dance pieces. In “Mellowing” he takes minimalism to the extreme. But it is quite exciting to watch the dancers unfold and further develop an inconspicuous movement.

Dance performance “Mellowing” in the Radialsystem.
© Jubal Battisti

Papadopulis works with repetitions, phase shifts and rhythmic variations. The movements gradually become a bit larger and more dynamic, but they are only gentle increases that Papadopulos allows. He also focuses on how the group’s constellations change in space.

The dancers come together in duos or trios and constantly shift their position through small changes of direction. They line up one behind the other or face each other, they move forward, back and to the side. The group then forms a cluster and disperses again.

The steps are getting bigger, now you can also see movements of the hips and shoulders – or a jerking of the head. If the performers were initially pushed back and forth like figures on a chessboard, they ultimately form a welded community. The energy now breaks ground and the dance unfolds a great power of attraction.

Mellowing is a school of seeing. Anyone who gets involved in the choreography will discover a wealth of details. And with each of the performers, individual nuances and subtleties can be recognized. It is a pleasure to watch these experienced and expressive dancer personalities. In “Mellowing” they manage to keep the tension, increase the intensity and find freedom in the strict form.

For all its simplicity, “Mellowing” is a complex and fascinating dance evening. And the Dance On Ensemble has proven once again that it is an asset to the dance scene.

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Source: Tagesspiegel

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