The battle that does not need to be won …

HAU 2, 3.12.2016

A composition of pieces and elements could also be described what Ian Kaler presents as the third part of the o.T. series, this time subtitled (incipient futures). Though in this case, rather than fostering the sensation of a linear development the parts appear interwoven, and brought to life based on a complex complementarity. However it is none, which comes to an easy conclusion here, but exceeds an understanding that just oppositional pieces make a sufficient contribution.

The piece rather works as surround piece where contributions come from various angles and sources. This impression is also owed to the specific setting by Stepanie Rauch, who created a sort of intimate arena which quite literally surrounds Ian Kaler and his energetic guest, the dancer Stéphane Peeps Moun, with the exquisite musicians Jam Rostron aka Planningtorock, as well as the drummer Joy Leah Joseph both located among the three rows of onlookers.

Ian Kaler, o.T. (incipient futures); image: E.Würdinger
The futures begin when two shapes covered under large hoodies first enter the theater and then later hesitantly pass through the opening of the arena into its center. The figures seem timid, shrouded by their hoods and while avoiding any, even their mutual gazes they seek each other’s closeness. This scene of estranged snuggling is soon over, and while they leave as unassertive as they entered, a deep rythmic beat still gouges through the audience’s bowels. It’s the encounter zone we are sitting in and the reappearance of the two dancers, now obviously in playful battle mood, reveals its intimate proportions.

Ian Kaler, o.T. (incipient futures); image: E.Würdinger
Both are now without oversized hoodies, but in plain T-shirts, and start their alternate rounds of dancing in their very own manner. Kaler starts with energetic, and often shaking moves, getting into almost ecstatic challenges that especially in the beginning are rather inwardly countered by Moun. It is like he holds back his multi-faceted talent of movement for a moment, but he certainly will show in throughout. In between sometimes one of them or even both take a seat among the front row of the audience, just as one would step back into the crowd or row of dmovers throughout a dance battle. Then to be tempted, challenged or just called into the circle to join the partner in duo like versions of their battling styles. This rhythm is interfered only by the musician, both brilliant in their way, though Jam Rostron’s by vocoder app distorted singing part was one of the real blowing surprises.

It was a changing web of alliances, a meshing of forces that might challenge each other’s abilities but in the end did not decide on a winner. Or would it then have been Moun because he even introduced stepping in the end? Or would it be Kaler to make such space possible and invite into it? Well, I guess that was not the question here. In coming together and presenting to this close circle of onlookers, as a crowd of passersby interested in streetdance would form around a couple of interchanging performers, a short scene of intimacy and liveliness was created. Transmitting a feeling of temporality as enjoyable and infectious, as such events do due to their lively spirit.

review in German by Frank Schmid for rbb kulturadio

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