Choreographer and dancer Anne-Mareike Hess accepted La Glaneuse’s Carte blanche to take us into the intimacy of her work, focused on the “emotional body”. In this new episode, we discover how the pandemic led her to imagine « Though the wire », a project that allows her to reconnect with the public.
Residency 8-28 March 2021
One year already since the pandemic has started, what a sad anniversary. And it’s still not over…this is not just an episode, but it is reality, and I can feel how the last year has irretrievably changed something, in me and around me.
Body Body Body Body
Anyway, the only direction is forward. After a dark February with many cancelled shows, I need to move on.
Change of scenery
Breath in and out
Now I realize I have wings, big, transparent and very light wings, like a butterfly and I am flying high and higher, looking down on the white marble floor with golden veins running through it. Pulsating and alive….
I spend the last month in residency at Neimënster, working mainly on the creation of the project “Through the wire“. Starting the residency, I was excited and a bit nervous, because this project is of a very different nature than what I used to do in the past. The restrictions of the pandemic have made me painfully aware of how passionate I am about the liveness of a performance and I strongly care about the connection and closeness to the audience. At the moment this in not possible. Theaters are still locked down in many countries and even if they are open (like f.i. in Luxembourg), the experience has completely changed with social distancing only allowing a few people to attend an event…this is frustrating for me…and I don’t want to be frustrated anymore.
Breath in and out
I push myself away from the floor and jump high up in the air. For several long seconds my body is suspended in the air. The sun touches gently my face.
So, 6 months ago I started to fantasize and experiment with other formats that could facilitate a close encounter and exchange with an audience, while still staying true to my artistic visions and needs. This brought me to f.i. imagine the project “Through the wire”, an intimate meeting between me and one participant in a one-on-one phone call, immersing together into the world of imagination, creating dances together, only through the power of our imagination and words.
Thoughts create matter.
A colleague described the project as an analogue version of virtual reality. I like this image.
This is how I ended up here in this residency at Neimënster working towards the premier of “Through the wire”
Would you like to stay up there? Maybe spread your arms to the side and move your legs so that you can stay floating up in the air. A gentle wind touches your body and moves your hair.
This project required me to think very differently about the artistic process and the experience I want to create with each participant. At times it was very confronting to realize how many ideas and expectations I had about the final work. I wanted it to be generous and inviting, while at the same time proposing something specific. Therefor, these conversations had to be carefully handcrafted in order to be able to create a space of trust and openness. I had to learn several new skills to be able to build and facilitate such a journey, therefor I invited Yoav Shavit as a coach, to join the process and teach me how to facilitate a conversation: create a structure, use the right words and images, introduce and induce the participant into the imagination journey, gently lead and create anchors for common experiences.
Little did I know that there are so many different things to take care of and to learn. After the first two sessions I was completely overwhelmed and was unsure if I would manage to apply all these tools. There are so many nuances and proposing the “Through the wire” sessions in 4 languages (LUX, EN, DE, FR) made it even more complex, as I had to carefully select my words.
In addition, I also explored and trained my own imagination. So, I spend a lot of time in the studio, diving into imaginary landscapes and dancing imaginary dances. I did this while lying down or sitting upright and sometimes I would get up and move with closed eyes, using my body to enhance the feeling and keep the concentration.
By training my imagination I could more and more move away from the given restrictions of my reality, overcoming rules of gravity, time and space. It is truly amazing what you can imagine and where our mind can travel and at times I had truly liberating experiences. Flying high!
Birds flying high you know how I feel
Sun in the sky you know how I feel
Breeze driftin’ on by you know how I feel
It’s a new dawn
It’s a new day
It’s a new life For me
And I’m feeling good
Finally, after 3 intense weeks of practice … the “premier”. Neimënster hosted 10 one-on-one sessions and within a week I facilitated a total of 10hours of imagination journeys. My heart if filled with gratitude from these experiences. Every session was very different, people and wishes are different. We were dancing in spaces filled with light, in a forest, in a cave with a tunnel, on a crowded marketplace, in the desert, diving deep into the ocean or flying in the air. Our voices met through the wire and I felt a close connection with every single participant. This experience is unique to this format and I have never felt a similar connection during a stage performance.
Thoughts: Will we in the near or far future more and more leave the blackbox and the theater spaces? This is not a new development, but there seems to be an acceleration happening through the pandemic. Observing and feeling in.
I am now filled with all these dances and voices. I was surprised by the intensity of these encounters and only my daily walks in nature and my daily yoga practice could help me to process…and water…Yoav recommended me to wash my hands after each session.
Breath in and out
Read more :
Episode 1 : February 2020 – Plans never match Reality
Episode 2 : August 2020 – After the lockdown
Episode 3 : @home residency November/December 2020