hope/less // Abendzeitung
An Audience Experiences Vertigo
Abendzeitung, 30.09.22 // Author: Vesna Mlakar
The premiere of Anna Konjetzky’s dance performance “hope/less” in the Muffathalle
It is impossible to imagine Munich’s independent dance scene without Anna Konjetzky. For several years now, she has had her studio here at the Kreativquartier, called Playground, which the choreographer frequently uses to stage cross-disciplinary performances with foreign artists in residence or to produce collective exhibition and exchange formats. If you have missed one of her pieces, there is often a good chance for a revival.
As one of the very few freelancers, Konjetzky has a veritable repertoire at her disposal which has had numerous guest performances. This is possible because she stores the stage design, which is often mobile and usually closely integrated into the choreographies, herself. For her solo production “On Anger”, which was created during the rigid lockdowns, Sahra Huby – Konjetzky’s longtime creative collaborator and fabulous interpreter in all of her pieces – was just nominated for “best performer dance” for the German theater award “Der Faust”.
In “hope/less”, Konjetzky’s latest piece, Sahra Huby is one of four individually strong links, alongside Daphna Horenczyk, Quindell Orton and Jascha Viehstädt, whose hands, flanks and soles of feet sporadically like to come into mutual contact with one another.
An interesting detail is that the team of dancers, who are eager to climb, perform on a square that is held up on four narrow scaffolding posts. At the top, a few meters above the ground, a net made up of safety belts provides a dangerously wobbly playing area.
The columns underneath are equipped with small wheels. You don’t notice this until one of the dancers takes a run-up, throws themself apelike onto the crossbars and then ambitiously shimmies around on them like a gymnast. A beautiful moment that adds further momentum to the performance, which in parts presents a lot of emotional introversion and perfectly rehearsed slow motion. The pole construction and the performers who are partly entangled in it, starts to move so suddenly that even the audience that until then had assumed the balancing artists to be in safely stable, feels the floor slip out from under their seats, and – for a fleeting, visually confusing moment – is seized by a brief dizziness.
With a wonderfully flexible drive and rarely only in unison, the thoughtfully interacting performers, in spite of all abstractness accomplish the one-hour performance of risk-taking recklessness and moments of emotionally helpless frustration. Thematically, the production goes perfectly well with the multiple, interconnected problem areas that are currently spreading across the globe. The personal assessments on “hope” or the absence thereof stated by the women and men interviewed in advance, whose voices can be heard offstage at the very beginning and from then on at irregular intervals, are of little importance. In the end, we all have fears and desires for the future that sometimes mobilize and sometimes inhibit us.
Anna Konjetzky can be perceived as a provocateur who is concerned with values. It doesn’t matter whether her choreographies are radically explosive like her research on rage, or the means of expression are much more restrained. The latter is the case in “hope/less”. Here she also succeeds in setting processes of reflection in motion, the initial point being obvious physical or emotional phenomena. The method she uses is finely staged physicality. Straightforward and simply effective.