The [8:tension] Young Choreographers’ Series 2022 presented the wide spectrum and multiplicity of a young, international and vibrant scene with 9 very different and hardly comparable choreographic proposals, which were selected with great care by [8:tension] artistic director Christine Standfest. As a jury, it was a privilege and a great pleasure to meet these 9 works, which without exception all had their very own and specific qualities. It is consequently all the more difficult to choose a singular work and the decision in favour of one should not be understood as in any way depreciative of the positions not selected. The [8:tension] Young Choreographers’ Award 2022 goes out to the performance Repertório N.2 and is intended to further support the promising work of Davi Pontes and Wallace Ferreira. We would also like to make special mention of the works Figuring Age by Boglárka Börcsök and Andreas Bolm and Odd Meters by Mikko Niemistö.
Davi Pontes and Wallace Ferreira welcome us with their naked bodies into the generous emptiness of a white room, which they energize through rhythmically sophisticated stepping motions. The hard floor under their feet vibrates slightly and reflects the shadows of their resistant bodies, which repeatedly move dangerously close to bodies in the audience. With forceful footwork in a tension between self-defense and choreography, the two dancers whirl up energies lifting into a higher sphere. As they step onto the floor in black trainers and sports socks, their feet become impressively independent and sometimes even seem to dance as detached from the bodies. At other times, it is the individual naked body that draws the eye. Confronted with viewers from all four sides of the room, they vigorously return the gazes in a precisely choreographed manner. In carefully timed poses, they pause again and again, while their stomachs continue to rise and fall, resonating from the intense physical effort of their dance. In these moments of stillness and interruption of rhythmic flow, they open up a utopian space that can be felt very concretely in the here and now. Davi Pontes and Wallace Ferreira stomp their rage into the ground with exposed bodies. The obsessive rhythms generated by their complex choreography conjure self-defense practices and make the audience participate in a liberation struggle through intelligent gazing, skillful dance breaks and ambivalent pauses and poses.
Mikko Niemistö's trip into the outskirts of movement and language is a wonderfully stubborn, risk-friendly and “whacky" adventure. With a keen feeling for irregular rhythms and a precise understanding of intuitive states, the young artist from Finland succeeds in bringing about an impressively controlled loss of control.
Figuring Age invokes the gestures and stories of three influential modern dancers of 20th century’s Hungary. An intensively researched work that provides deep insights into the lives of dancers carrying an often forgotten history of European modern dance.
Samuel Feldhandler, Martina Gimplinger, Haiko Pfost, Vienna, August 2022