Anna Konjetzky & Co

THE VERY MOMENT // Der Standard

THE VERY MOMENT // Der Standard

Anna Konjetzky shows expert loss of control at the edge of dance

Der Standard, 23.06.2019 // Author: Helmut Ploebst
The dancers push the envelope of their physical potential; here the Sommerszene Salzburg presented an absolute showpiece.

YouTube is a purgatory in which many an unlucky duck is barbequed in public. You can spend hours looking at spectacular accidents and delightful embarrassments, grand clumsiness or heartbreaking derailments. The German choreographer Anna Konjetzky did this and let it sink in. The result is a piece that has been bathed in dark irony: The Very Moment. It belongs to the highlights of this year’s Sommerszene festival, here in a cooperation with the Arge Kultur Salzburg. In a perfect collaboration, Konjetzky’s five quite individual dancers show the true connection between the eternal antipodes dance and accident: the former is often a triumph of physical coordination and the latter is usually the result of a loss of control. But the dynamics of choreography have an influence on both. Dancers repeatedly exhaust the possibilities of their virtuoso bodies – up to the edge of catastrophe. This is what they get the most applause for. However, the movement patterns of a stumbling drunk can be similarly impressive. And the choreographic spirit is more likely to be provided by Jim Beam, Gösser or Jägermeister.

Human Nature

Enthusiastic people like to film this kind of thing and then upload it to YouTube. Especially when staggering turns into a fall without getting up again. Each of these contributions gives us some insight into the personality of the respective uploader. And the feelings elicited by watching them tells us something about human nature. It isn’t the simple craving for disaster, as Konjetzky emphasizes. Instead, the authentic appeal of the decisive point of no return – The Very Moment – is what produces plenty of neurotransmitters in the observer’s body. YouTube material that has been reworked for the piece demonstrates the construction of this special kind of suspense. These are motifs that we know from slapstick or comedic films. Their fictional disasters have become so perfectly anchored in our cultural memory that the consumers of realistic video clips may be aware of the difference, but their (brains’) backrooms close themselves off from this knowledge. And this is why the majority can bathe in the build-up of suspense without reserve and enjoy the release of this suspense in the moment of the event: possibly all the more, the greater the discrepancy is.

Contradiction of fiction and reality

YouTube thus contributes to the process of turning reality into fiction, just like, in contrast, dance – just like all performance arts – can present fiction as a reality. Anna Konjetzky’s dancers play with these contradictions in an almost glorious unaffected way. Without shame, but quite sovereign, they imitate the loss of control from the depths of daily life as an inspiration to dance. But more – they laugh at the fetish of virtuosity that is often and too quickly paid homage to. Not just in dance, but also in our performance-oriented society.



The negative utopia becomes positive

Tanznetz, 23.12.2018 // Author: Karl-Peter Fürst

„If endurance is the only thing that we can win, then we are losers”: this optical and verbally progressive analysis raises questions about the loss of autonomy and motivation, about the why, about the what for, and about one’s own feelings in the process. But the dancers continue to move intensely, and the suggestion of a negative utopia becomes positive. Even though Sahru Huby shakes her head like a plastic dog in the back of a car and demonstrates how she transforms into things or a toy… But as the others take up the movement, something like a modern dance sequence is created that, projected like a kaleidoscope, overlaps at a high tempo. Music and movement are often an astonishing match, and developing dance forms from uncontrolled moments of failure is impressive. We know where the movement comes from. The authenticity is spectacularly emphasized when all dancers hold their unstable positions while a sports reporter produces his play-by-play and innumerous projections from the exterior world change in a matter of seconds. (…) In total: a strong appeal by Anna Konjetzky and her very alert and then exhausted dancers (in addition to Sahra Huby: Sooyeon Kim, Maxwell McCarthy, Quindell Orton and Robin Rohrmann) not to hold on to predetermined directives, but to be present in order to use a moment of decision autonomously.



Are you balancing, or are you falling already?

KULTUR-EXTRA online, 22.12.2018 // Author Petra Hermann

(…) One could be excited about her newest piece – and is fascinated from the very beginning: On the barren, dark stage with minimalist music, three female dancers and two dancers, a microphone and an iPhone. The five stand on the balls of their feet, one points to the other, for minutes. Even watching it is exhausting. A slight swaying. When will the first stop standing upright? When will he or she lose balance, stagger? When will one feel ill? Questions that the moderator also poses and with which he opens the dance/game. In its course, everyone experiments, dances for themselves and against each other, goes to their limits, films each other – and thus reflects on basic human needs. “Standing tall”, for example. One of the dancers holds her position endlessly. But her hold, precisely her upright position, also conceals her fear. Fear of getting a cramp, of a tendon tearing, farting, even that she might swallow the microphone – which would end her career. She would then be condemned to watch Netflix series for the rest of her life. This is not without its own humor and deep meaning.

(…) The measure of all things: the vertical. It also means standstill, a painful stance on the balls of your feet, the point of departure for this remarkable installation. In the process: no broad perspective, no horizon – no horizontal! Is falling truly the same as failing, falling the same as weakness? Isn’t there strength in fragility as well? Is there life without movement, but in perfection? Questions of humanity, cleverly posed to us with humor – and to the physical abilities of five magnificent dancers. Thank you, Anna Konjetzky!

THE VERY MOMENT // Abendzeitung München

THE VERY MOMENT // Abendzeitung München

“The Very Moment” in Kammer 3 of the Münchner Kammerspiele

Abendzeitung München, 21.12.2018 // Author Vesna Mlakar

Shortly before Christmas, let’s sharpen our focus on people’s weak sides. The content-driven Munich choreographer Anna Konjetzky is successful and convincing with her world premiere “The Very Moment” in Kammer 3 of the Münchner Kammerspiele. (…)

The efficacy and fragility of physical functions are questioned in a clever, vivid and remarkably complex way. And this makes the evening – in which dance is not the point, but rather research for perception – worthwhile. It’s logical that Konjetzky abandons all form at the end. Her crew loses concentration and stance, and finally flounders about on mats, self-immersed. It is a calculated collapse of exterior structure and externally determined expectations. Good.

THE VERY MOMENT // Bayerische Rundfunk Kulturwelt

THE VERY MOMENT // Bayerische Rundfunk Kulturwelt

This piece allows the view of the world through the body

Bayerische Rundfunk Kulturwelt, 21.12.2018 // Author Katharina Huebel-Gohr

(…) One of the best moments is: when the five dancers don’t dance. The stand-still – in the true sense of the word – becomes an extreme physical experience: the dancers freeze on the balls of their feet, one of the human body’s smallest possible surfaces to stand on. The goal: not to move. Quindell Orton is the “pro endurance dancer” – her immobile solo, a speaking tableau, takes around five minutes. She reports of burning joints and a sweat-drenched back, and she knows how to describe worst-case scenarios in an amusing way. (…)

An anatomically magnificent and varied Sahra Huby, who manages to create true dance from the physical experiment while bringing together scientific interest into movement and body flow. (…) Instead of schadenfreude: the joy of movement. Anna Konjetzky contrasts sensual staggering and stumbling with the battle against one’s own body: “The very Moment” is rich in discoveries and stimulating. It is a piece of intelligent, precise dance theater.

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