Below Zero

An acoustic and snowed in performance-trail through pathos, pack ice and provisions.

In the expedition “BELOW ZERO”, the audience will be taken through an iced up world full of space, sound and images. The team in charge of this research journey plays around the third state of water with associative microcostumes and macrocostumes. How will the medially pressed components of a polar expedition be closely listened to and looked at under a dissecting glass? They will be “zoomed in”, cut, dismantled, distorted, mirrored and isolated from their contexts.

“gaunt and exhausted faces with ice-encrusted beards peered from snow covered clothes. (...) to what our eyes can see, nothing apart snowfields (...) the entire surface of the ocean was covered by a sizzling mass of ice and foam (...) ice moving around (...) the still was overpowering, we were in a dead, iced up world.” (from South with Endurance by Frank Hurley)

BELOW ZERO is an ensemble production from tanzfuchs PRODUKTION




The research team:

Barbara Fuchs – direction, stage 
Jörg Ritzenhoff – Sound
Kazue Ikeda - Performer
Odile Foehl – Performer
Wolfgang Pütz – Light
Gisela Nohl – Voice
mechtild tellmann kulturmanagement – PR / Management  

Sponsored by: Kulturamt der Stadt Köln, Ministerium für Familie, Kinder, Jugend, Kultur und Sport des Landes NRW und dem Förderprogramm der Sparkasse KölnBonn, betreut durch die SK Stiftung Kultur. 

Co-produced through Barnes Crossing.


StadtRevue | Tipp

” In research on the project concerning snow and ice, the choreograph Barbara Fuchs began to get interested in Ernest Shackleton who travelled to the South Pole in 1914 together with the bark "Endurance". Her new piece is called "Below Zero". Out of historical documented knobs it folds moments and subjects. Narrow and wide: The groups were camping in tents, little houses, below boats and were travelling through endless landscapes. The slipping and sliding. Storms. Frostbiting. Corporeal. "The vicious and the incredible beauty", so says Fuchs. Odile Foehl and Kazue Ikeda are dancing. Thereto the clanking sound world of composer Jörg Ritzenhoff. “

Klaus Keil, aKT 12 + Choices, Kultur in NRW

Cold shock
The ensemble production “Below Zero” at Barnes Crossing at Wachsfabrik – Dance in NRW 11/11

Once the first two rooms are “survived” it is nearly done: the South Pole is reached! The audience has left behind some freezing cold moments and now has the chance to watch the brash ice at the video-projection in the swaying sun from the perspective of the audience’s place. Two extreme rooms were to be suffered from. In the first room the almost 40 visitors had to urge in claustrophobic density. A voiceover announces logbook entries of a trapped ship crew which still believes in salvation. Just a few minutes later the room is steaming. When the door opens to the next room it is completely different. Frosty cold is waiting. Not even the blazing headlights can pervade the cold fog and so the audience toddles clumsy through nothing. Gasped, broken scratched voices pervade the fog and then two thickly hooded shapes appear. It is not more than a slowly rise of their arms. The choreograph Barbara Fuchs and her team confront the audience with a realistic entry of their dance- and sound-performance “Below Zero”...
In the corner of the great hall it is as the two dancers Odile Foehl and Kazue Ikeda would stick in a crevasse on confined space. The movement-actions are designed for mediating moments of reality but also catching the atmosphere of those moments. In a solo Odile Foehl bends her extremities as if she would want to invade in her own body to defy the cold. Then the dancers trudge through flour and leave behind white footsteps on the stage: Footsteps in the snow. Marine ropes and sailor’s kitbags fly on the stage from the off. Frozen garments are crackling and cracking spreaded and cold and stiff attracted. Thousands of polystyrene chips simulate a snowscape. Text fragments by Frank Hurley’s “Fateful journey of the Endurance” are played: “It has been a miserable morning …”. Even the sounds and noise compositions by Ritzenhoff are structured to give a musical frame that is as realistic as possible. Metallic hum renders the cold audible. Foghorns show the way. Muffled beats symbolise extreme moments. Just in time Ritzenhoff places his acoustic counterpoints...
But the staging... always returns to a serious background. After the two dancers ... were dancing against the fate of the cold death in a wild rebel the snow desert overwhelms them. In a pathetic apotheosis icy wind floats snow on the lying bodies.

Thomas Linden, Kölnische Rundschau, 30.11.11

A small room filled with far too many people. Shouts and shots resound from the outside. Then a door opens and the only thing to see is a flawless opaque whiteness. Fog which nearly takes the whole visibility. Two shapes break away from the smoky cotton wool, obviously freezing with chattering teeth … 

A sensational beginning: shivering, eerie and with a little bit ironically the staging begins... Solitude and silence, two states which may touch us humans very deeply, are just there when these extreme circumstances of the ice desert are put into pictures or words... Thereto Jörg Ritzenhoff produces an atmospheric sound carpet...