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Learn more about dance in Munich! In TTmag dance creators talk about their aesthetics and approach, dance formats and Munich dance topics are put under the microscope!

Conversations about pieces
Micha Purucker: splitter + stream / rhetorics of flesh

Micha, for me you are the master of poetic-erratic titles, your new piece for example is called "splitter + stream / rhetorics of flesh" - how do you come up with your titles?

In October, we performed a piece entitled "threads + knots" in the old heavy rider. I had written the applications for that project and also for the current piece at almost the same time. And at that time I wanted to tackle this formal requirement - two terms within which something develops or relaxes - again in a different way. So I came up with a similar title. As it happens, a year passes between the application and the execution, you are in a different situation and "splitter + stream" is now completely other than what I had imagined at the time.

What was your original idea?

It was supposed to be about contextualising movement in two pieces, one of which works with language and one with images. "splitter" would have been linguistic interjections, because they are very sharp, very precise, very powerful, and "stream" a visual flow of blurred images that find their sharpness at certain moments. However during the preparation, it seemed too didactic to me; I also had the feeling that I had already ticked off the question I wanted to ask myself. And now that we're done, I have to say that "splitter + stream / rhetorics of flesh" - like the last piece with the dancer Michael Heriban - has become a Corona piece again in a certain sense. Although I didn't want to do that at all. But one cannot escape one's time. This time it is an implosion, also one that has to do with media consumption, because during the pandemic I consumed more media than ever before in my life.

Probably everyone has...

Exactly, and that's why - because of this constant visual bombardment that everyone had - I didn't want to have it in the piece anymore. In general, I'm interested in the impact of media images, and I've already done several pieces on this, such as "examing pictures" or "xxl-re.enactment". "splitter + stream / rhetorics of flesh" is somehow also a piece about this, but with a completely different solution, because it tries to elude the images. And also when we had the movement vocabulary in the rehearsal process, which is a very, very concentrated one, I thought: No, I want to be able to watch Michael Heriban in a very focused way, I don't want to bombard him with images and thus take up what I actually wanted to problematise..... It is now a very reduced version, it is spatially reduced, it is reduced in terms of personnel, it is very restrained in terms of the movements.

I'm guessing that minimalist is a word you don't like....

Yes, minimalist is wrong; and with my affinity for the Baroque, minimalism usually doesn't go well with me anyway. Maybe you could say the piece is minimalist in execution, but of course it's not minimalist at all in what it communicates - at least to us - but rather rich, I think, very emotional. But it's not space-consuming and we're not rattling around with tricks and crazy movements. It's actually simple stuff, but it's crazy 'dancy' and that's what Mr. Heriban can do - he does it great. He manages to keep the flow going with so little, you really have to be able to do that. It's a very hidden virtuosity.

That's probably where the second title "rhethorics of flesh" comes into picture?

Of course that's what it's all about - always! What is it that speaks, or what do we see, what is it when we look at dance. Somehow we 'read' movement, that is, we don't 'read' movement for sure - that's a nice metaphor, but misleading, I think. Because we don't have this terminology that we read with, these signs don't exist like that, we haven't agreed on something like leg up means cheer etc. This is much, much more personal - both in reception and in making and finding - but of course there is this eloquence, otherwise a dance piece wouldn't mean anything to you.

"You call "splitter + stream / rhetorics of flesh" a small, intimate format - does that also refer to the audience?

It has something to do with how you look and view. Large actually always means looking in patterns somehow, small requires a special focus, it's a different way of looking, a peeking in close-up. The great thing about Western dance techniques is that they are so spatially dynamic, a legacy of classical ballet. And then there are the other traditions, for example in Asia. I've always found this Asian reduction of dynamics, that it doesn't break in space but on the body, interesting and I've tried it with a few films on my own and now also in this production. But of course there is always the question: how do I meet the expectations of the audience, how do I deal with them responsibly. For small things, I have to give the audience the opportunity to see in a different way. It is also an effort, something unfamiliar, because we all get it blasted into us here; we have a lot of loudness, fast cuts, bulging worlds of images: the more colourful the better, the faster, the bigger...

But I think you are certainly opulent in this piece in the realm of music....

There is always a strong pop cultural background to my work. The effect that especially music from the pop-cultural field has - the power behind it, sometimes the cinematic element - I like that a lot. The composition of "splitter + stream / rhetorics of flesh" is based on song structures, i.e. they are 5-minute packs that are then put together dramaturgically like an album. That was new for me, I've never worked like that before - I've always had choreographic packs, but not musical ones.

What's the difference if you have musical or choreographic packages?

The time factor, the time limit. With choreographic modules, I can let myself be guided by choreographic themes, and when they are finished, I close a package and start a new set of themes. But if you follow musical modules, then you have a fixed time dramaturgy that you follow.

Like a fade in a film, so black and scene change?

Exactly. That's why the piece is also a solo in 8 episodes for me. But we don't do 'blacks' in between ...

„splitter + stream / rhetorics of flesh“ can be seen at the schwere reiter from 14. – 15. January, 8:30 Uhr. Tickets are available here: schwere reiter

More about Micha Purucker – visite his Homepage

The interview with Micha Purucker was conducted by Simone Lutz, January 2022

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