the starting point of the dance piece is the theme of shadows, loosely inspired by adelbert chamisso’s art fairy tale »the wonderful history of peter schlemihl«, which was written in 1813 and tells the story of a man who sells his shadow. »clair obscur« is an attempt to approach the complexity and multi-layeredness of shadows and their paradox, because shadows have many faces.
the HALLE is transformed into a stage divided into two parts. the two parts face each other like two sides of the same coin, like light and shadow, like day and night – one cannot exist without the other and this is how this work is composed: the two perspectives are inseparable and yet can be perceived separately…

»see how this body casts its shadow and how dreams are born from it.« henri bosco
who hasn’t tried to catch their shadow while walking back then? who has not wondered about this strange apparition that constantly accompanies us, but also always slips away? from plato’s »allegory of the cave« to carl gustav jung’s »analytical psychology« to the dream world of every human being, the shadow veils and reveals the secrets of the world.

where does this shadow come from? what does the shadow tell us? and where does it escape to when we no longer see it? what is this shadow that wanders in search of its body, and what is a body without a shadow?
the crazy attempt to catch the shadow is always doomed to failure.

»in these shadow phases i am unable to think, to feel, to love.« fernando pessoa

but there are also shadows that cover our existence. they unfold, act and live-in silence. shadows can have many names… they appear around the corner, in the unexpected and suddenly take possession of us. shadow sides that dwell within us and that we carry with us. shadows that arise, full of doubts, full of illusions. they reach out to the visible world through our senses and take possession in impermanence.

premiere 2021 dance/creation alba de miguel
the cie. toula limnaios is institutionally funded by the state of berlin, senate department for culture and europe.

concept/choreography

toula limnaios

music

ralf r. ollertz

dance/creation

daniel afonso, leonardo d’aquino, francesca bedin, laura beschi, priscilla fiuza, alessio scandale, hironori sugata, karolina wyrwal

technical director/lightdesign

felix grimm

touring cooperations

marie schmieder

choreographic assistance

ute pliestermann

lighting & stage technics

domenik engemann

reviews

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»but the dance also stands for itself: the rebellion and sinking of the bodies, the lostness in the shock stiffness and the expressive acting into the space – a very fascinating dance language. […] accompanied by the music of ralf ollertz, co-founder of the company, this time an enraptured soundscape, even if the rustling, knocking, dripping, scraping and hammering seem to come from the mechanical, industrial world of sound. once again, toula limnaios digs into the depths of the human soul, feelings and thoughts and translates this into an expressive, elegant dance that is whimsically beautiful and often eerie and unsettling. a piece created in lockdown, under the impression of the experience of isolation, that casts a spell over you, almost captivates you and triggers an infinite number of interpretative associations.«
frank schmid, rbb

»”clair obscur” is an unsettling and skilfully executed dance of doppelgangers in which the audience is reminded that, as otto rank once wrote, a person’s past stubbornly clings to him and becomes his fate as soon as he tries to free himself from it. […] and so it is here and now. here in this dance, which is not a duet but an ensemble of silhouettes, sometimes moving across the stage in sheer synchrony, sometimes splitting into silent soliloquies. […] hence the three gauze curtains that divide the stage into four areas and transform the theatre into a kind of palimpsest in which, with each gauze curtain, the dancers in the distance become increasingly indistinct and the imprints of the others’ movements are inscribed. until the light shines down blindingly on us, the audience, who sit on opposite sides of the stage on chairs 1.5 metres apart and, it soon dawns on us, have our own shadows.« liza weber, tanzschreiber

»the audience watches the performance from two opposite sides of the stage. the stage is divided by four walls that separate the dancers from each other in pairs. thanks to their transparency, the four walls also allow us to see the dancers who are on the opposite side of the performative space in a game of ‘chiaroscuro’. in this mirror dance, one performer becomes the shadow of the other. then this pattern breaks up and in a dynamic, intense and brilliant dance, suggestive images full of symbolism follow one another. finally, as in a hall of mirrors, the action of one is reflected in the other and reproduces itself endlessly. […] the great achievement of the new production of the cie. toula limnaios, apart from the choreography, the artistry, the precision, the harmony of the dancers and the music by ralf r. ollertz, lies in transforming the limits set by the emergency into stimuli for creativity. the idea of bringing suggestive shadows and transparency games to life, dividing the space and justifying this necessity with the dramaturgy of the piece, shows how much an artist’s inventiveness is what allows to go beyond creativity again and again and to enliven art. i couldn’t ask for a better return to live dance!«
nicola campanelli, campadidanza