Exploring the three-dimensional body in Anna Huber’s unsichtbarst
What was the inspiration behind unsichtbarst? What were the challenges you faced in conceptualising this show?
unsichtbarst is a solo I premiered in 1998. I was dancing and touring the piece internationally till 2008 and re-worked and re-staged it 2018, 20 years after its premiere. The questions and challenges when I created the piece and how they changed being a mature dancer are explored from different perspectives. When I’ve been creating the solo as a young dancer and choreographer I was questioning every single movement and step.
The work questions and examines the situation of seeing and being seen, performing and spectating, exposing and hiding. The audience is seated on all four sides around a limited square. Who is looking at whom? In this highly exposed performance situation, displayed on a mirrored floor and constantly observed from all sides, the moving body evolves into a living sculpture that transforms, questions itself continually, must redefine itself and loses itself repeatedly.
What and how much do we reveal of ourselves? How unprotected, how vulnerable can we present ourselves? Challenged with different expectations, habits, norms and rules we play roles, hide behind facades. We apparently need this protection and simultaneously there is a desire to break through the facades and drop the masks. What remains behind the image that we present to others and ourselves?
Re-visiting this signature solo is an embodied re-membering, embracing transformation and transition with refined facets of movement, depth of expression and imagination. Dealing and moving within different challenges reflects the potential as a mature dancer opening up new possibilities, freedom and subtle humour. The square restricted mirroring floor entirely exposed to the viewer’s eyes from all sides literally reflects the mirror as an image for the potential of transformation and a constantly changing intimate look at oneself and others.
How would you describe the movement that you exhibit in this show?
The moving body evolves into a three-dimensional living sculpture that transforms, questions itself continually, must redefine itself and loses itself repeatedly. I have been critically scrutinizing FORM itself and its deconstruction. Can form melt, dissolve or burst? How much control do we need to not lose ourselves? Layer by layer the fluent borders between private being, public person, stage personality and art figure are made visible. Like in a kaleidoscope various facets of a person appear and disappear, mirroring transformations between different physical and emotional states and intensities and shifting between control, doubt and loss of control. There’s also music on a rather subtle level.
Which among your overall performances was the most challenging to execute and why?
In every project I’m looking for and dealing with different challenges. I’m creating solos, duets and ensemble works, as well as site-specific and interdisciplinary projects and improvisations. I’m interested in process, research, exchange and genuine collaboration. Constantly questioning, redefining and expanding my artistic language characterized by complexity, precision and presence. This is challenging for any new collaboration or approach as well as a chance to move further.music rather on a subtle sound level.
What is the most fulfilling aspect of what you do? Are there areas/concepts/themes that you wish to explore in the future?
Exchanging and sharing processes of creativity, cultivate perception and awareness. Touching and being touched on multiple sensual layers. I continuously develop and expand my artistic quest through research and further studies. I’m fascinated and motivated by the transforming potential of dance as the most fleeting art form. I redefine the body as instrument and object of research and explore its relation to concrete architectural and social space creating movement in its intensity and fleetingness, embracing the complexity of the human body's fragility, vulnerability and immediate presence. Precarious balances challenge the senses of perception, equilibrium and orientation and oscillate between stability, lability and mobility. Dance creates ephemeral drawings, moments of suspension and leaves fugitive yet persisting traces in space and memory.
What are your thoughts about the March Dance festival? Are you impressed by the line-up this year? Give us your general views on them.
I’m deeply impressed, encouraged and motivated by the engagement of the whole team of March Dance and Basement 21, all dancers and performers themselves. With generous support and hospitality by Goethe Institute/Max Mueller Bhavan and Pro Helvetia they do a great work organizing and facilitating this festival and the workshops, connecting practitioners from different fields and backgrounds, allowing professional exchange and shared processes in a trustful fearless space and atmosphere. The commitment of all facilitators and participants of the workshops is impressive and touching.
Lastly, can you share a word on the audience for performing arts in Chennai? Do you have any memories related to the city that you can share with us?
I think there is an impressive dance community with rich cultural heritage and traditions as well as an interested and involved audience in Chennai. I have precious memories from all my stays here. I’m very grateful to have met Chandralekha in a personal dialogue and visited the Kalakshetra Foundation. Since my first time in India 2001 I’m engaging in an inspiring dialogue with Padmini Chettur. I’m very happy to be back in Chennai with more time and space to connect and deepen the promising exchange with the sophisticated and committed dance practitioners.
Pics by Sharan Devkar Shankar
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter: @karan_pillai