ZOO in progress


Performative lecture on the work of the company

Developed as a work-in-progress at the invitation of Tanztendenz Munich, as part of their Welcome to my World events, the lecture provides an overview of the development of the various threads that underpin the artistic and technical work that the company has been carrying out for 25 years. Using dance examples, shared scores and video projections, the company traces the evolution of its work and reveals the particularity of this ensemble work resolutely rooted in physicality and collective processes. The role of improvisation on stage – central to the work – is made tangible by simultaneous projections of extracts from two performances of the same show.

« …But then erm, like, maybe I told you that little story already : for ‘How to Proceed’ erm, one of the things that I asked the dancers what was the… one of the things was – because of the [company’s] 20th anniversary – I wanted that everybody as a performer could kind of have a moment or could kind of realise a dream as the performer or something that they really wanted to do as performers, and Mat said : he would like to disappear on stage. And then we, it was kind of maybe 3 weeks before the premiere, we had kind of a week in a theatre in Brussels before we were gonna go to Liege [to do the premiere], for the technical residency, we had already for one week a theatre in Brussels, and on Friday afternoon we, yeah, the piece was far from finished but we had kind of made a ‘filage’ [run through] kind of thing. But yeah lots of things were not there or we had not finished and then really we had kind of the last dance and then normally we would end there. There were only a few people like friends and people from the company watching. And then uh, so it really felt like we’re performing this thing and then yeah the music was over, like there was like one, one last dance that we finished and then I just said “ah, it’s not finished yet ! And now we’re gonna make Mat disappear!”, and then really amazing, we just kind of everybody just did something like, we’re gonna pretend. And then when I watched the video, I did not know how we did it – Mat was gone. And we had never talked about it, like, really. Yeah, we had no plan for that scene and there in public, in the performance we made it work. And that’s like that, that kind of sums it up for me, that was really my birthday present for the 20th, working with people we pull it off on stage that magic trick that really kind of requires some skill and some planning normally and it, erm… Like, we had no decided what’s going on… we were just gonna make Mat disappear, find it out, sort it out and we did. So afterwards we learned from the video, we learned how we did it, so now it’s kind of set. »

(Thomas Hauert, excerpt from a transcript of an oral interview by Marisa Godoy dos Santos Rüegg, in the framework of her PhD dissertation “Generating co-presence: Dancer’s ways of knowing and discoveries in improvisation choreography”)

Concept & direction Thomas Hauert
Created & performed by Thomas Hauert, Sarah Ludi, Federica Porello
Production ZOO/Thomas Hauert
Coproduction Tanztendenz München e. V.
Support Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles – Service de la danse / Pro Helvetia – Fondation suisse pour les arts / Ein Kulturengagement des Lotterie-Fonds des Kantons Solothurn / Wallonie-Bruxelles International

2 June 2022
Tanztendenz Munich (DE)
3 June 2022
Tanztendenz Munich (DE)
25 January 2024
Charleroi danse Bruxelles (BE)