The End Is Not An Option
A Nomadic Performance
What happens to artistic practice when its premise is to be informed by complete openness to the outside, interrupted by encounters with new people and places, by misunderstandings, by porosity? The End Is Not An Option is a nomadic process questioning endings and continuations. As collectors or as a wandering circus do, B A G, a group of six dancers, has been traveling through four locations, spending two weeks in each “station”.
Beginning July 2021 in Marzhan (Station #1) B A G was hosted by the outdoors community center Stadtwerk MRZN. We started each day with voice and movement class open to anyone in the neighbourhood willing to join - we hosted children, women and people working for the organisation.
When no one came we practiced by ourselves.
As our residency unfolded, we exchanged stories about doctor’s appointments, bureaucracy, art and memories from back home. We cooked for each other and for many more, we spoke many different languages and communicated mostly through eyes and smiles.
In August 2021 B A G relocated its research to Wahrenberg (Station #2), a small village in the German country side, just past the Elbe river.
We asked ourselves how to continue. How to open again.
At the end of the first week we performed our dance for the people who came to celebrate 25 years of Wahrenberg being an alternative community.
We danced with filters over our eyes. Our score was to be with ourselves and with the others, to be inside and outside at the same time.
In October 2021 B A G has arrived at FELD, (Station #3) in Berlin Schöneberg.
We received two visits by a group of teenagers. Quite soon we realised that, even when we all tried to speak German, we just did not understand each other so we developed systems for translation. Together we imagined future homes, melted very slowly all the way to the floor and sang songs about what there will be in the future (no money, unicorns, clean water and a phone with which you can call the past and the future!).
At the same time B A G worked on a stage piece for young audience, another event in this chain of encounters.
In November 2021 B A G has spent 2 more weeks at Vierte Welt, (Station #4) in Kottbusser Tor. We took 3 days to reflect and recalibrate how we work together and in the rest of the time we worked on a performance through which we will be able to share our journey thus fur.
As we go from one place to the next we come up with ways of storytelling, carry and (re)collect anecdotes, recycle and repurpose dances and songs. Throughout this journey, wherever we arrive at, we ask ourselves what is it that we have to offer - What are our tools as dancers and choreographers and how can they serve encounters with communities? what new fictions can we make to live by? How do we cultivate creative and sustainable ways of being, dancing and building together?
"...The End is Not an Option navigates is part gathering, part collection of activities, part teenage sleepover, and part pop-punk-band concert; it is playful and sincere in its dealing with the “future anxiety” so amplified by climate crisis and global pandemic. Fragments of story ripple out horizontally. Activities that might otherwise be on the periphery of the “work” get discussed as the work itself: cooking, making songs, sharing beds, working conditions. So too does the undramatic failure of these activities, like when nobody turned up, when a common language was not found, when we did not agree. However, the rhythm of these moments is not the undifferentiated sonic mulch of the bog (paradoxically the breeding ground for differentiated emergence). I still witness six discreet bodies, dressed each in a different block color, forming the promise of cohesion with difference. And when the group disperses and breaks into song, the frame of the “band” in which you literally have to be “in time” with one another continues this promise of collective rhythm..."
"...Just as individual skills blur in the BAG collective’s division of labor, so too do the boundaries between stage performance, workshop and rehearsal. Individual narratives intermingle and inform one another and the collected material gives rise to a many-rooted web of knowledge, in which central importance is no longer accorded to beginnings and endings, but rather to ongoing connections, temporary truths and recurrent meandering loops. An end is truly not an option."
By and with B A G:
Maya Weinberg, Manon Parent, Lisa Densem, Annegret Schalke, Roni Katz, Xenia Taniko
Production: Patricia Oldenhave, Annett Hardegen
Trailer: Dalia Castel
Interview: Beatrix Joyce
Image: Gretchen Blegen
A production by Roni Katz supported by Hauptstadtkulturfonds