the cie. toula limnaios is an ensemble for contemporary dance, founded in 1996 by choreographer and interpret toula limnaios and composer ralf r. ollertz.
in 2001, they were awarded the »meeting neuer tanz« prize. in 2004, their beckett trilogy was made into a television film entitled »atemzug« for zdf/arte. the company has received funding from the city of berlin since 2005 and were selected by the fonds darstellende künste to receive conceptual funding for »leading ensembles in the field of independent theater and dance« from 2008 until 2010. in 2012, they were awarded the »george tabori prize«.
with its flexible, lean, but highly effective structure and in co-production with international partners, the company continuously produces ensemble work of exceptional quality, making them one of the most successful ensembles for contemporary dance today.
as a representative of the german dance scene for the goethe institut and the federal foreign office, they have presented their repertoire across germany and abroad since 2005. the company is institutionally funded by the city of berlin’s department for cultural affairs since 2014. the cie. toula limnaios show dance that is watchful, critical and bold – with concern for humankind, made by and for people.
»the audience is presented with somnabulistic images, poetic sensitivity and intimate impressions, which love to mix the real and surreal. i am referring here to the choreographer toula limnaios, born in athens, who has lived and worked in berlin since 1997 and produced pieces here with her company that are sometimes leave you floating out the door. for her visual worlds are magical. to the expert, one thing is however clear: with such choreographies, toula limanios holds a special position in the gigantic german dance scene – she is an exception. for what she shows us cannot be seen anywhere else nor is she in any way prone to following mere fashions of any kind.« (rbb-kulturradio, frank schmid, 2006)
»nothing that is not an excerpt of the heart, finds its expression in the work of toula limnaios, whereby the originality of this artist, a perfectionist of excesses, may lie therein. her excesses focus on mankind, the mysteries of his origins, the fire of his future.«
(saison de la danse, jean-marie gourreau)
»the cie. toula limnaios stands for dance that touches the soul. for visually stunning, intensely atmospheric journeys into the dark places and afterworlds of humanity. over the years, she has found her own expressive voice. more often than not, the choreographer is inspired by great works of art and literature, famous musical scores. classic works of art, which she rewrites and reframes with her own aesthetic, her movement vocabulary and transforms into psychologically, finely balanced contemporary pieces. the company is marvelously hard-working and her theater is one of the hottest spots for contemporary dance.« (tagesspiegel, patrick wildermann)
in berlin: akademie der künste, halle tanzbühne berlin, theater am halleschen ufer
national: bielefeld, bonn, bremerhaven, bremen, buchholz, cottbuss, dessau, dortmund, dresden, erlangen, essen, frankfurt/main, hannover, hameln, krefeld, heilbronn, münster, oberhausen, offenburg, osnabrück, ludwigshafen, quedlinburg, recklinghausen, stuttgart, wuppertal
international: austria, armenia, belgium, brazil, chile, denmark, ecuador, france, georgia, greece, ireland, italy, lituania, lettland, mexico, nicaragua, palestine, panama, poland, santo domingo, swizzerland, senegal, spain, trinidad&tobago, venezuela, cyprus
20-year anniversary of the cie. toula limnaios
what memories will stand the test of time? lost in reverie on the way home after a premiere, in the days after, in flashes of recollection, still woven into a cocoon of images, emotions, thoughts. basically, it would be better to take one or two days off after a toula limnaios premiere – doing nothing, merely following the sensations, remembering. the white veil floating, flying and fluttering through the air in ›anderland‹ (2012). a fairy, an angel? a trace of the immaterial, of something hoped for or is it merely a piece of fabric after all, made to float by a dancer with a ventilator?
remembering the peat landscape of ›minute papillon‹ (2015), the scene of exhausting restlessness and exorbitant acts of aimlessness, as if longing to pause and sense the moment, the self. or the tons of fertile lush soil, the fields of life, which the dancers tirelessly ploughed through in an allegory of sisyphus in ›every single day‹ (2011). images of spaces and scenes that memories attach themselves to in order to draw closer to the other, to a dance that has found a way to itself.
an anniversary. 20 years of the cie. toula limnaios. what are we celebrating? surely, the happy fact that toula limnaios and ralf r. ollertz and their staff and the dancers in the various casts managed – under what were occasionally very adverse circumstances – to defy the economical woes of berlin and – surprisingly enough – invented, established, in form of the halle, a venue of their own, filled it with life and are now able to restart it, lead it into a new era. stats. facts. congrats. celebration and thanks. thanks for the perseverance, the steadfast searching, the infinite inquisitiveness. thank you for this dance.
let us assume that is it possible, wise, i.e. appropriate and comprehensible to speak and write about dance. then the first thing that should be said is that writing about the dance universe of toula limnaios is challenging; that it is as frightening as it is exhilarating. for just the right word is ever eluding the writer, the dance escapes de-scription. there is so much to see, to feel, to understand, to remember.
the world in its entirety and our respective small earthly existence with all its whims, mysteries, delusions, hopes and fears, all our heritage, contradictions, fluctuating abilities to understand and recognize life, our ability or more often inability to love, trust, understand, all those egos and the many others within and outside us, all that is there in her choreographies, all that flares up in moments of recognition that occur while watching her work, all that is understood and sensed. and it leaves its mark either immediately or in the reverberations of memory that follow.
but can all this be captured in words? all the scenes that contain the one and the many. the meandering solos and duets in ›short stories‹ (2005), in which the mysteries of our existence reveal themselves momentarily. the realms of the soul, flickering into view, as fragile and ephemeral as if caught in a state of exception-transition, into an opening-up of the self for everything as in ›the silencers‹ (2008). celebrating the existence of light and dark, truthfully revealing with increasingly playful ease and sensuality the complex landscape of relationships that we have with ourselves and others in the round dances of ›if i was real‹ (2013).
the movement language is metaphorical, allegorical, associative – seemingly fragile with translucent fissures, while nevertheless impervious. idyllic intimacy aware of its impermanence. tumultuous passion quasi impossible to control while fully aware of standstill, stalemate and blockade. irreal dreamscape, phantasmagorical parable, enigmatic poetry permeated by skeptical existentialism. penetrating our existences, piercing their very essences. and a utopia, in which dance seriously claims that freedom, openness and receptivity, fluid individuality, receiving and giving can be possible without the restrictions and separations of ancestry, experience or even hierarchy. in this sense, toula limnaios’s dance opens up and reveals spaces of potential that one no longer dared to dream of. tragic, funny, joyous walks along the abyss – full of relish and brimful with life – taking a acceptant stance with a melancholy and mischievous smile against the risks and the banality and hardship of the world – in this form of danced theatrum mundi toula imnaios knows no equal.
a flash of memory. of the dancer in ›spuren‹ (2004), running forwards, ever forwards with an elastic rope around his body as if trying to plunge into the future. the rope keeps dragging him back. he is unable to release himself from the past. but why should he anyway?
anniversary. 20 years of cie. toula limnaios. what joy, what great fortune.
frank schmid (independant dance journalist)