+ -[PlusMinus] - a play with emotions

Premier: 16.10.2013 Barnes Crossing

In the second part of the three-part cycle GE-FÜHL-LOS different artistic views on emotions and their representation are meeting each other. Five artists and four performers devote themselves to the emotions of shame, humility, boredom, vanity, guilt, envy and lust. + - develops aural, physical and verbal emotional worlds, which are brought together in a deliberately heterogeneous held stage experience. These staged parallel worlds of intimacy are meeting and dissociating from each other. It creates a kind of experimental arrangement for the audience empathy.

performance dates:
17. & 18.10.2013 Barnes Crossing
10.11.2013 Barnes Crossing
19.03.2014 adapted version at TanzFenster in the course of the Schrittmacher Festivals




Artistic direction: Barbara Fuchs // Performance: Odile Foehl, Regina Rossi, Ursula Nill, Pietro Micci // Music/Sound: Jörg Ritzenhoff // Text: Charlotte Fechner // Stage design: Gonzalo Barahona // Light design: Horst Mühlberger // Technic: Wolfgang Pütz // Speaker: Stefan Kraft // Photos: MEYER ORIGINALS  // Management: mechtild tellmann kulturmanagement

A Production of tanzfuchs PRODUKTION/Barbara Fuchs

Supported by: Kulturamt der Stadt Köln, Ministerium für Familie, Kinder, Jugend, Kultur und Sport des Landes Nordrhein-Westfalen, Fonds Darstellende Künste, Kunststiftung NRW

Coproduced by Barnes Crossing – Freiraum für TanzPerformanceKunst


Thomas Linden, Kölnische Rundschau, October 2013

Eroticism and cool distance
Premiere of unusual dance production by Barbara Fuchs

When performers on stage take off their clothes then their nudity arouses an atmosphere of trepidation in the auditorium. Do they get dressed again and repeat this instance time and again, then this intimacy drops and their actions turn into a choreography. In Barbara Fuchs’s new production “+-“ in the dance space of Barnes Crossing Odile Foehl, Regina Rossi, Ursula Nill and Pietro Micci do get undressed in this manner.
The tension between private and public moments continuously drops. The sound of Jörg Ritzenhoff, however, acoustically loads up again into the scenery. Barbara Fuchs conducts the loading game of the emotional poles of plus and minus with a marvellous virtuosity in this second choreography of her tripartite cycle UN-FEEL-ING.
Ursula Nill represents it with a rucked up skirt like a tantalising young Balthus muse. She laughingly ripostes the sizzling eroticism when during a group picture all participants stick out their tongues. Affects are being built up and shifted back into distance at the same time.
This goes even as far as the four kick and slap each other, even into their faces, and still nobody’s fuses blow, the game always remains a calculated display of emotions.
The stage set with its black and white cyclical formations reminds of an abstract representation of the brain, and a dissection is performed indeed, not with a scalpel though, but with verbal turnarounds digging deep into the research fields of neurologists. Barbara Fuchs attentively avoids any touch of sentimentality and yet does not trap into cold formalism.
The bodies devour each other, the attractiveness of the female dancers is consciously displayed and still the Cologne-based choreographer emphasises the distance of glances. Barbara Fuchs finds fitting images for the private and strictly doses her choreography into the function of the subject. Nothing is dissipated and a dense, eventful performance comes into being.
Maybe the best work of this experienced choreographer yet.


Klaus Keil, aKT – Die Theaterzeitung Köln – November 2013

aKT production of the month: with her production ”PlusMinus“ the choreographer Barbara Fuchs takes an exceptional approach to emotions and moods challenging the specators’ capability for empathy

The enthusiastic final applause shows it: the “message“ has been received. It is only a small area of our brain but it is in charge for the big feelings: the amygdala. In “PlusMinus”, the second part of the tripartite dance cycle “UN-FEEL-ING”, the choreographer Barbara Fuchs insistently and consequently challenges the centre of emotions and urges. This time emotions such as shame, guilt, humility, vanity, envy and lust are in the focus of the production. A mammoth task that is successfully tackled in a meaningful and artistically impressing manner by Barbara Fuchs and her team. Here they don’t re-enact feelings or theatrically dance them as in “Affectos Humanos” by Dore Hoyer in 1962. In “PlusMinus” from 2013 all theatrical disciplines are involved, all with their respective autonomous aspects and moments of emotions. This is mostly noticeably with Jörg Ritzenhoff’s electronic music creating ground for the different moods of the production. But then again, a voiceover psychologically comments on the encounters of the performers or pushes them with emotional sentence fragments (…the rest is…turning pale). The experiencing of the emotion itself though comes only into being through the countless facets of the interaction of music, text and speech, stage and lighting and, of course, choreography and dance. A rather outstanding way of staging – but with a phenomenal impact. One is reminded of Stanislavski and Strasberg and their “As if” method of the personal experiencing of the role.  

Two sides of love

In seamlessly blended scenes the production presses forward from the visible facets of the emotion into the emotion itself. The stage is split up into two halves. On it frayed circles in black/white/black so one has to think – not by accident – of yin and yang as if these already connote the ambivalences of feelings. And, indeed, these emotions and affects are turned and twisted in thrilling dance scenes, attraction and rejection are represented as the two sides of one emotion. In the beginning the three dancers Odile Foehl, Ursula Nill and Regina Rossi and the performer Petro Micci gather on a bench as an emotionless still life gazing blankly into space. This bench is quiescent and starting point for the four performers. When their tongues ooze out of their mouths like unuttered emotions, when they grimace with them, motion enters the scenario. During a sound like some vibrating flaps the dancers Ursula Nill and Regina Rossi bare all. They indifferently cross the border of intimacy, stand there in the light bare and stripped, get dressed again just in order to take off their clothes time and again in a stereotype manner. In scenes like this the objective of the staging becomes perceptible: the relinquishing of feelings is always also an act of self-exposure. When hard string sounds enter the electro-spherical music the encounter of the two dancers heat up into a fight. Their embraces turn into a twisted and kinked entanglement of limbs while, in the background of the stage,  Odile Foehl and Petro Micci celebrate soft harmonic nudity and intimacy.  The choreographer employs the simultaneity of diverse facets as consequent stylistic device. And the confusing entanglement of the limbs runs like a thread of irresolvable contradictions through this piece.

Magical box of emotions

With her sophisticated choreography Barbara Fuchs digs deep into the magical box of emotions challenging the spectator’s capability for empathy (being thanked for through vigorous applause).  In every moment, however, this piece subsists on the expression and motion authenticity of the performers. Petro Micci represents himself in a manifold manner when clashing with Ursula Nill, loving with Odile Foehl  or hyperventilating till he screams. And convincingly authentic Ursula Nill during her solo of overacted gestures and physical play ending on the floor like a danced mea culpa.