(c) Hans Diernberger
"Oranges are noot the only fruit, there are also berries and 'Hold on' has taught me uses of berries that I never thought of in my wildest dreams."
Dr. Mithu Sanyal
Choreography : Céline Bellut
Dancers: Charlotte Virgile, Nejma Larichi and Clara-Marie Müller
Voice performer : Britta Tekotte
Video : Anne Weyler
Costumes : Noemi Baumblatt
Graphic design : Saskia Holte
Production manager : Caroline Skibinski
Co-produced by Tanzhaus NRW Düsseldorf
Project funded by Kunststiftung NRW and Stadt Köln
Guest performance funded by Ministry of Culture and Science of the State of NRW, NRW State Office for the Independent Performing Arts, Special Program Guest Performance Funding 2020 of the NRW State Office for Dance
Parteners : ZAIK, Quartier am Hafen, Tanzfaktur
LAST REVIEW PUBLISHED THE 21ST OF JUNE 2021
Written by Isabel Mankas-Fuest in RP news paper (translated from German)
Female desires are rarely a topic on theater stages. The choreographer Céline Bellut explores them in "Hold on" in impressive images and with humor. The audience hardly catches its breath.
For her first full-length production, choreographer Céline Bellut has chosen a topic that is not visible enough in public: female sexuality from the perspective of women.
"Hold on," the title of the piece, which was the only live performance in the "First and Further Steps" series presented to an audience at Fabrik Heeder, explores sexual fantasies with a great cast of four strong women.
They are all different: tall, short, their hair long and dark or short and curly, yet they all have one thing in common: to show the female body as a creative genesis for feelings, strength, desire and self-acceptance. Bellut and her three dancers and a voice artist have taken this as their starting point and allow no restrictions on form in their impressive performance. There is a lot of moaning, sighing and breathing - sometimes with pleasure, sometimes with pain?
The piece enters at top speed, none of the three dancers stays in one pose for a long time, fast and hectically they run across the white lined dance floor, shake themselves, touch their bodies, put their hands in their mouths and jump staccato across the stage. Each dancer is doing something different, and the audience is intensely engaged in trying to grasp what is happening before their eyes. Nejma Larichi, Clara-Marie Müller and Charlotte Virgile are accompanied by vocal artist Britta Tekotte. With her back to the audience, Tekotte breathes sensual, spherical tones that shrill to the point of ecstasy into the stand microphone, sometimes with echo and rhythmic beat, sometimes pure without electrical amplifier.
The strong opening scene lasts 20 minutes, in which the four performers do not allow themselves a single moment of standstill. After this scene there is a small cut, and here you would probably hear a collective intake of breath in the auditorium now, if it weren't for the masks and the large distances to the next chair.
The second part of the play begins with a lot of repetition from the first part, a reference to the repeated images of female sexuality that Bellut wants to question with her play, then the repetition breaks up ironically: in a row, the women stand in front of the audience, put an upper arm in front of their faces and make loud moaning noises, in a mixture of seriousness and humor. It is exciting and fun to see what the choreographer, who lives in Cologne, counters traditional images of femininity and sexuality: the stage becomes a large field of experimentation and leaves room for each of the three dancers to try themselves out. Clara-Marie Müller bathes quite naturally in a red berry juice, paints her body with the blood-red liquid and seems very liberated. Charlotte Virgile also handles liquids, which she paints artfully on the floor, becoming a work of art herself. Nejma Larichi talks to the audience, she too has a small basin of water in front of her, fills her mouth and creates small works of art out of water in the air. The voice artist is also involved in the action, telling a dark story about lust and desire.
The audience learns personal details, listens to intimate details, sexual fantasies, casual yet reverberating encounters, and gets an impression of how femininity and sexuality can be lived out openly and self-determined. Bellut and the performers draw four impressive pictures of four life-affirming, self-confident women who are not afraid to talk about their sexual desires and live them out, without moralizing.