13 women meet. But what does that actually mean: meeting each other? Encounters move us. We move each other. But when do isolated movements become a ‘movement’, also in the political sense, when do randomly meeting people become a group? And what holds them together – above all the trust in commonalities, in what unites us? Or is it precisely what moves us in the experience of differences?
The Turkish-born choreographer Özlem Alkis, who has lived and worked in Germany for 7 years, found her performers through a flyer that she distributed at various locations in Cologne. Her appeal to non-professional dancers from different cultural and national backgrounds was more than an invitation to rehearse an existing piece. Alkis’ choreography “Reverbs” (2017) was only an occasion for her to bring together and hold together a group of people who do not know each other.
The joint work of the women with German, Turkish, Iranian and Greek backgrounds was not limited to rehearsals. They also attended dance performances and talked about their impressions. Özlem Alkis describes what gradually came into being as a space to get involved with each other through dance, to negotiate things with each other, as a “tuning in”: “We have experienced what is one of my questions in “Reverbs”: What holds us together? And how resilient or fleeting are the common ‘rhythms’ that create a group, a community or a society from a collection of individuals? How do we find our place among many in the same space?”
“Reverbs_feiern” is for another reason more than the reenactment of “Reverbs” or an intercultural exchange project. Not only did the choreography enable the dancers to have new ways of experiencing the body – the encounter with them also changed Alkis’ choreography. The sometimes strong and collective, sometimes tender and personal, vibrating and breathy, connecting and disintegrating rhythms of “Reverbs – Celebrate”, which today open themselves to an audience, breathe, stomp, grope, swing differently than before.