Inspired by conversations with athletes from the world of high-performance sports, we look back at our own realities in life. In a choreographic interplay of dance, percussion and live generated soundscapes, with found footage from sporting events and poetic video images, we try to deal with the ambivalences of the performance system: We never get enough and want out. We are exhausted and can’t stop. We admire the powerful, athletic bodies and lament the price we pay for them.
In dialogue with each other, the performers address this ambivalence: to keep going or to stop? They accompany each other, cheer each other on, and pass the baton to each other. They try to bring together contradictory perspectives. They celebrate energetic flights of fancy and give in to their exit fantasies. On stage, an emotional roller coaster of bodies dreaming of flying, of endless cycles of training and competition, energy and wear and tear – always on the edge. “You shouldn’t ask the system if you want to get out of it in one piece.”
In the work ‘PERFORM!’ by Antje Velsinger, the path of a competitive athlete becomes the overarching theme of the body in capitalism as a metaphor for a meritocracy in which the individual is held responsible for his or her own success. Achievement, so it is preached everywhere, is only a question of serious will. If you don’t make it, you just haven’t worked hard enough on yourself. The choreographer and her two excellent performers make it clearly comprehensible how the curves between training, victory, defeat stagger in a constant up and down. (…) An interesting work in every respect, not only with regard to the well-researched content, the contrasting interplay of the two actors, but also to the precisely selected means of movements, images and music, which altogether opened up spaces of thought beyond what was seen.
Birgit Schmalmack on hamburgtheater.de, Sep 21, 2021
Artistic director & choreography: Antje Velsinger * Dance: Anne-Mareike Hess * Drums: Eva Klesse * Stage & costume: Christin Vahl / Valentina Primavera * Video: Ayla Pierrot Arendt * Sound: Julia Krause * Dramaturgy: Heike Bröckerhoff * Video assistant: Francesca Bertin * Light: Jan Widmer * Production manager: Angela Köneke
A production of Antje Velsinger in co-production with tanzhaus nrw Düsseldorf. Funded by: Freie und Hansestadt Hamburg, Behörde für Kultur und Medien; Ministerium für Kultur und Wissenschaft des Landes NRW; NRW Landesbüro Freie Darstellende Künste; Fonds Darstellende Künste aus Mitteln der Beauftragten der Bundesregierung für Kultur und Medien; Kulturamt der Stadt Köln. With the support of: Lichthof Theater Hamburg, tanzfaktur Köln.