Hither and Thither ( ALEXANDRIA/ EGYPT, April 2016)
Alexandria International festival for contemporary theatre
"The music and dance together resulted is a powerful, evocative, mesmerising experience."
Hither and Thither is a contemporary dance piece by German choreographer Julia Koch, with the performance by six Berlin-based dancers.
The piece is comprised of a prelude followed by two acts echoing the structure of romantic ballets, which dedicate the first act to life and the second to fantasy, or the "other side."
After the prelude offers a preview of the acts to come, the first act sees the dancers recount their stories, with each character functioning as part of the group but also holding their own, to express individuality. The second act is more mysterious, with the group functioning as a unit and their individuality dissolving.
Though the skeleton of the dance piece is classical, Hither and Thither reinterprets these elements in a contemporary discourse.
During the first act there also are some movements on tip-toe borrowed from ballet, but as the dance progresses these moves are less and less frequent, giving way to more contemporary dance movements.
We see modernity also in the costumes of the dancers. All clad in black, the three women are dressed in leather capris and sleeveless tops, while the men are dressed in knee-length skirts and sleeveless tops also, resulting in an urban look.
In the first act the individuality of the characters is echoed in customised differences in their outfits, something that is abolished in the second act when they are all dressed similarly in black capris and tops smeared with the same black paint on their arms and faces, resulting in a muddy, organic appearance.
The choice of clothing in the first act is perhaps a suggestion of gender fluidity, although the dance itself upholds classical ballet gender roles (i.e., the male lifting the female).
According to Koch’s website, the piece expresses “timeless themes such as human relationships, power, love, guilt and formative events that affect our life path.”
Fluid and emotionally charged, but not without structure, the piece flows sometimes like a conversation between two partners or more, and other times as a monologue through a solo performance.
There are segments in unison, all six dancers perfectly synced. At other times one splits from the group for an individual dance, and is then judged by the group.
The stories express a spectrum of emotions, including desperation, liberation, frustration and celebration.
Music composed by Hoerdur Mar Bjarnason, often accompanied by a poetic voiceover, was as dynamic and strong as the characters in the piece. His nu-electronic music fused with Arabic influences, Eastern European, as well as tribal beats are what established the ethereal atmosphere.
The music and dance together resulted is a powerful, evocative, mesmerising experience.
Hither and Thither (Photo: Courtesy of BA Arts Centre media office)
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Zenit:Nadir ( Finalist at Solo Dance Contest, 2016, Gdansk, Poland)
" ....consistent and pleasing to the eye"
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Zenit: Nadir ( Theaterforum Kreuzberg, January 14th, 2017)
"Each movement has a specific quality...(...)..the choreography is full of layers "
Hither and Thither. ( Gdansk Festival Tanca, 2017)
"....Eine schöne Show auf dem 9. Danziger Tanzfestival in Choreographie von Julia Maria Koch "Hither and Thither"...(...)..Darsteller sind präzise, impulsiv und ausdrucksstark...(...)...Wichtige Aspekte des Ganzen waren die Bewegungsdichte und das starke Image der Charaktere...."
"...Eine beeindruckende, zusammenhängende und bewegende, sorgfältig komponierte und äußerst ästhetische Darstellung... Die Choreographie von Julia Koch ist beeindruckend..."
Perfect Tragic Place ( triple bill evening HEIMAT / Deutsche Tanzkompanie, Neustrelitz, 2018)
Drei tiefe Einblicke in fremde Welten (von Gunnar Meiselbach/ Nordkurier)
" .. Julia Maria Koch, die in den Niederlanden und Spanien gelebt hat, hat eine vielschichtige Wahrnehmung von Heimat.. (..)
Julia Maria Koch beschreibt Heimat als ein Geflecht von Menschen. Menschen, die das Individuum umgeben, mit denen es in einem kollektiven Organismus Erfahrungen teilt. In einer emotionalen Darstellung schafft Koch es, auch die dunkle Seite von Heimat darzustellen."