in »short stories«, toula limnaios has very consciously turned to short, simple forms. in two duets and a solo, both as distinct from each other as they are interconnected, she lays out an array of small, very personal stories. they describe the interplay of harmony and divergence, of intimacy and loss. in poetic, sometimes absurd images, the dancers examine human relationships, accompanied by ralf r. ollertz with the bandeon, percussion and live electronics.
»if this were a film, they’d kiss, but it is a dance piece by toula limnaios and in these, things don’t happen, as would be expected. the balance of power continually shifts between the characters. toula limnaios uses a very fine choreographic pen, she goes into detail.« (frankfurter rundschau, sylvia staude, 2006)
a cie. toula limnaios production with kind support by the cultural department of the city of berlin.
tours: caracas, venezuela, sao paulo, brasil dança em pauta, dortmund, frankfurt/main, athen, krefeld, dakar
resumtion 2016 dance: daniel Afonso, katja scholz, hironori sugata, karolina wyrwal, inhee yu
readaption 2006 dance: nefeli skarmea, carlos osatinsky, ute pliestermann, katja scholz, hironori sugata
premiere 2005 dance/creation: dagmar bock, katja scholz, hironori sugata, anuschka v. oppen, carlos osatinsky
photos: dieter hartwig, johann camut
»in orbit around dance /// the choreographer toula limnaios recounts finely etched »short stories« at the mousonturm.the woman lets herself fall and stands back up again, lets herself fall and stand back up, over and over again, the man watching her. then she stops and their faces draw nearer. if this were a film, they’d now kiss, but it is a dance piece by toula limnaios and in these, things don’t happen, as they would be expected. the two of them move their heads past each other, there are always a few centimeters of distance between them, as if trying to sniff at each other. then they do finally dance together, but it is no simple relationship.
short stories is what the berlin-based greek choreographer toula limnaios (who produces her pieces in her own venue the »halle«) has named the ca. one-hour piece for five dancers. a piece that examines loneliness and togetherness. and which she has now brought to the mousonturm, which is determined to reposition itself as a place in frankfurt for multiple forms of dance.
in this case, as a place for dance, which uses moods, which doesn’t insist on stories and only offers them discreetly. and which is supported in an astounding way by the music of ralf r. ollertz. music that the composer, seated on stage, plays on the bandoneon and various percussion instruments. or simply snorting, breathing into the microphone. limnaios and ollertz founded the »cie toula limnaios« together in 1996, they seem to be kindred spirits: rarely has music referred to dance as cleverly and emphatically as this, producing a highly charged space in which it is nonetheless given ample room to breathe feely.
the short stories therefore actually develop out of quite abstract, though nevertheless emotionally saturated movement. short stories that reflect the variations of male-female-togetherness. the balance of power continually shifts between these figures, the highly complex dancing refuses simple answers. toula limnaios uses a very fine choreographic pen, she goes into detail, she looks for movement that is not yet worn out. together incidentally with her dancers, who she considers to be co-authors: carlos osatinsky, ute pliestermann, katja scholz, nefeli skarmea, hironori sugata.
the choreographer toula limnaios is pleasantly far from current fashion. and when she uses, as in short stories, not quite fresh ideas such as low hanging, swinging lamps as lighting (lighting: klaus dust), she does so with precision and clarity. at one point, one of the lamps circles a couple, the woman has sent it on its – for the dancers not always hazard-free – orbit. and as light and shadow flits across the two bodies, their movements transform from one to the other equally swift.« (sylvia staude frankfurter rundschau, 2006)
»toula limnaios was described as a poet of dance and a philosopher of movement. yesterday evening in the halle… her new choreography was premiered: it is called ›short stories‹ and according to the announcement, it should be about interpersonal relationships. …
an evening that provokes, that is meant to provoke, various emotions and thoughts in the viewer. toula limnaios’ approach to movement has always been formal, only that formality is never only an end in itself, abstraction instead being always precisely where intimacy and intensity of dance are sought. these are once again very, very strong reflections of tempers– very poetic, very touching, sometimes also upsetting. it’s safe to say that these are snapshots of the kind of relationships possible between two people or of a one person with himself. it’s about attraction/revulsion, proximity and distance, holding and being held. this is not quite easy to access, but what is to be gained by the viewer is very great indeed.one can get an idea now. is it recommend to go there…? yes, definitely, although one shouldn’t expect a simple dance evening because toula limnaios is becoming more and more radical in her movement choices as well as in the visual language she seeks. the viewer is called upon to perceive, even to receive. it’s evident that toula limnaios treads her own path in berlin, that there is no company or choreographer comparable and that she stands all alone in her search for a distinct physical and expressive language. her work never ceases to evolve and that is truly admirable.« (rbb-kulturradio, live interview with frank schmid, 2005)
»man and woman deliver a passionate show /// short stories – a certain form of short prose characterized primarily by compositional condensation, typification of the characters and the reduction to a detail of reality as a description of a moment in the midst of everyday occurrences, but which have functions of reference that go beyond them. present on the stage of a dance theater, these features are almost as evident as they are in the literature: in concise, short scenes, five dancers comment on various forms of interpersonal relationships. they are the type of relationships that everybody knows and has. the performers therefore neither appear from the sides nor from the back, but instead sit in the audience between the onlookers. just people like you and me.
smell stands at the onset of a relationship: man and woman first sniff each other inquisitively, before deciding that they fit together and can dare the beginning of a relationship. but other variants are equally possible: violent variations, in which feelings as well as differing interests clash head on. or relationships, in which gentle violence is practiced. here in form of a lamp seemingly used to hypnotize the other. or possessive forms, in which one refuses to let go of the other and in doing so literally takes his breath away.
ralf r. ollertz delivers thrilling live music that, similar to film music, amplifies the action: “wafting” bandeon sounds pick up the theme of initially still instable relationships, rough beats on the cymbals, accompanied by screams, looped acoustically into almost endless repetition, punctuate the violence. an extremely exciting evening.« (westdeutsche allgemeine zeitung, waz,martina lode-gerke, 2005)
»toula limnaios pulls into the light of truth what is rumbling about in the mind and body. the truth, the choreographer is aiming for, lies just beneath the surface of the skin. thus, toula limnaios proceeds in her dance pieces like an anatomist. in ›short stories‹, which can be seen in the halle, the dancers’ bodies are somewhat outstretched under a low-hanging lamp – until the choreographer makes first incisions. in a dissected language of movement, five people, their entanglements and isolation are analyzed. the will to illuminate all dark sides also leads to a glare. the dancers have to avoid the swinging lamp again and again, by ducking away from the approaching danger in the last second – in highlighted scenes, limnaios tells of threats that appear out of nowhere. ralf ollertz on bandoneon and percussion accentuates these mini-dramas with suggestive sounds. above all, the duets become real ordeals. there one can see two who are drifting further and further apart and yet cannot break away from each other. the relentless repetitions give the movements something obsessive, while the dance exerts a tremendous allure.« (tagesspiegel, feuilleton, sandra luzina, 2005)