Piece of paper

It crackles and rustles, folds, crumples and tears, it is flexible, malleable and can also cut. There are many colours, sizes and thicknesses. Usually they write and print on it, and they also like to paint or do handicrafts: Paper. Cologne based choreographer Barbara Fuchs ventures into the paper jungle with dancer Sonia Mota and composer Jörg Ritzenhoff. With the help of paper, they make changes, external influences and temporal processes visible: paper "remembers" every wrinkle, every tear and every cut. And just as traces and external influences inscribe themselves in paper, experiences and impressions are inscribed in our bodies - through scars, quirks, wrinkles. Hardly anyone can embody this reminiscent body better than Sonia Mota, who turns 70 this year; she is an "archivist" of movements and dance. Together with the musician Jörg Ritzenhoff they roam the paper jungle and tell their experiences and stories with live sound and movements.




Artistic director: Barbara Fuchs
Dance: Sonia Mota
Music: Jörg Ritzenhoff
Stage: Odile Foehl
Light: Wolfgang Pütz
Dramaturgy: Henrike Kollmar
Assistance: Emily Welther
PR: Kerstin Rosemann

PIECE OF PAPER is co-produced by tanzhaus nrw as part of Take-off, the Kulturamt der Stadt Köln, the NRW Landesbüro Freie Darstellende Künste, the Fonds Darstellende Künste, the Kunststiftung NRW and the Ministerium für Wissenschaft und Kultur des Landes NRW. tanzfuchs PRODUKTION is supported by the RheinEnergie Stiftung Kultur.

PIECE OF PAPER is embedded in the project cycle "THE SOCIAL BODY" in which the body, which is already at the centre of a current interest through a reflective attention to its own body and a variety of current body discourses on health, self-optimization or aging processes, once again moves more strongly into focus in its social function: as an omnipresent body (co-)constructing social and relationship networks.



Critic from O-Tone, written by Michael S. Zerban

The few seats available in Studio 6 of tanzhaus nrw are quickly filled even though it's a beautiful, sunny afternoon. The children finding places on the pillows are alert and excited about what awaits them on the stage. The Studio looks redone, even the usually bare cement walls are hung with black  velvet curtains and something like a magical theater space emerges.  Three video cameras emphasize the importance of this forthcoming performance.

 “Piece of Paper” is what Barbara Fuchs calls her newest work and describes it as a “dance-concert for eager spectators from 1-99 years old”. The choreographer includes this as a component within her project-cycle “The Social Body”, her own manifesto to the “human body, in particular its social function as the focal point: the body omnipresent, as co-creator, woven from its social and personal relationships”. She takes pleasure in comparing the human body in “Piece of Paper” with the material that remembers every cut, every fold, every rip. “And just as marks and external influences are inscribed upon paper, so too are our experiences drawn on our bodies – through scars, marks and wrinkles”. A beautiful comparison, over which one can surely have long and extensive discussions.

But the children have not come to discuss, they've come to marvel. And for that there is reason. They are greeted by the lively music of Jörg Ritzenhoff. The composer is not just in charge of the music, but accompanies the dancer Sonia Mota throughout the performance; she has turned 70 this year. This is hardly worth mentioning if there hadn't been the beautiful analogy to crumpled paper. Which has nearly nothing to do with the appearance of the dancer. Her wrinkles must lie mostly within her soul. The performance hardly acknowledges this, and continues with light merriment. And Ritzenhoff can smile really quite sweetly, like when he is stuck inside a paper bag next to Mota and contrives all sorts of funny things. 

This play with paper holds so many surprises and, during the 40 minutes of the piece, most of them are entertaining. Even when Mota's dance seems at times a bit imprecise and random, the piece stays relaxed and pleasing. And then things happen like the paper roll, which is rolled diagonally across the stage and becomes a kind of cat walk. Or the paper bags which become costumes when scissors join the game. This is exquisite and hilarious to the children. Well, there are a few grumblings as Mota and Ritzenhoff go inside the paper bags for a second time. “We saw that already”, murmursa kid skeptically.But he doesn't yet know that the brown paper bags will become jackets and cloaks in whose pockets the scissors will disappear. And the realization that one can make interesting music out of paper and cardboard causes quite of few gasps. Compared to this, the Magic Flute is really old hat. 

And if the composer Ritzenhoffis actually part of the performance, then it's worth it to take a closer look at the instruments that are cause for so much fun. On the left of the back wall is a paper-drum set.  Even more astonishing and effective is the papa-phone. Here are cardboard tubes with plastic lids in different lengths around the instrument table, on which one can hit and create extraordinary rhythms which carry throughout the theater. Together with syllables that Ritzenhoff sings and no one can recognize, emerges a powerful music. And if electronics are used, then rightly so. On a small table standing on the right side of the stage is an electric organ, a mixing table on the I-padand an electronic drum set.  In addition there is – very in fashion – a miniature loop machine which records short sequences and plays them back as many time as one wants. Which seems to be a big attraction for music makers these days.

At the end, after the audience has enthusiastically applauded, even more instruments appear. Paper rolls in various lengths, filled with paper confetti pieces create quite wonderful sounds. And if one had looked forward to this participatory event in which the children would come in closer contact with the dancer, now every child receives his own, for now, paper rhythm drum. And that's when the fun really starts. Even sandwich bags, good old-fashioned sandwich bags become instruments and even the adults can't avoid trying them out. But there is a real musical symphony in the works, which Ritzenhoff wonderfully conducts. All theoretical structures are left aside as the joy of the children crescendos. A well-rounded, wonderful afternoon comes to an end – one wishes that even more children could enjoy such a fantasy-filled, diverse and original performance.