We decided to theme our performance around climate change and its consequences, as this is a prevalent issue that is often neglected in modern society; this was similar to the way Pina Bausch focused her work around the war, and the way people ignored the aftermath of the violence and bloodshed. Our opening image was all of our bodies intertwined uncomfortably to form an ‘iceberg’.
In keeping with this and the excess of Bausch’s sets, we covered our stage in white sheets and dressed all in white as “a backdrop to the performance and an emblem of playful innocence” (Cody, 1998) much like in Bausch’s piece Nelken (Carnations) (1982); in our piece this highlights the natural purity of the earth, as well as creating the illusion of ice with our blue lighting. Any movement we made would move and crack the ‘ice’, demonstrating how our actions are causing glacial drift and other consequences due to global warming. In another section, we focused largely on animalistic movements and so we had performers on our backs whilst we struggled with them; this is a motif of the animal kingdom, and the lift we did encompasses how animals are sacrificed for the sake of global warming related issues.
We also utilised bin bags full of rubbish, to litter the stage with as the performance progressed; this was inspired by Pina Bausch’s work in Palermo, Palermo (1989). They then performed a series of movements, spelling out words linking to climate change, such as “litter” and “water”. We also used Pina Bausch’s idea of blindfolds, however we tailored them to our performance by using bin bags, whilst I shook cans attached to me; this is both a symbol of how consumerism is tied to us constantly and a method of using sound to show the violence of climate change.
Overall, the theme of the performance was largely bleak, similarly to Kantor’s work, and yet staged beautifully to demonstrate that even beauty can hide dire issues. We switched constantly throughout the performance between slow, elegant movements and harsh, quick ones; such as when four of us darted around the stage, simultaneously collecting and throwing rubbish about, whilst ignoring the grace of dance, much like we ignore the beauty of nature. I believe our theme was clear, but the moral left open to interpretation, much like in Kantor and Bausch’s pieces; there was no clear instruction of how best to face climate change and that is the ambiguity we wanted to achieve.
Cody, G. (1998). Woman, Man, Dog, Tree: Two Decades of Intimate and Monumental Bodies in Pina Bausch’s Tanztheater. TDR/The Drama Review, 42(2), pp.115-131.
If you’d like to watch the full performance, it can be found here: