You want it, body and soul, but who do you listen to?
Have you listened to your body lately? Or are you dictated to by your brain? The new dance performance Bodyland explores the relationship between nature and culture in our modern day conception of the body. The performance, created by the renowned Israeli choreography team Yossi Berg and Oded Graf, has its premiere on Thursday night in Dansehallerne and runs until November 16.
The modern media is overflowing with pictures of the ideal body as well as tips and guidance on health and beauty – not least in an extraordinarily health-conscious country like Denmark. In the dance performance Bodyland, the two dancers and choreographers Graf and Berg take the audience on a physical, poetic and humorous journey inside the body and also into the cultural layers that shape our thoughts and actions every day. Their theory is that modern culture is pulling the body and brain further and further apart and that maybe we need to listen less to our brain and more to our body. In other words: let the health and beauty gurus scream and shout and start listening to yourself.
“We are born into a culture where we are expected to look, act and feel a certain way,” Graf told InOut. “And we are especially occupied with the exterior and how to fit into or separate ourselves from different groups. We want to be fit and look younger than the number on our birth certificate. For many people this becomes a never-ending, unhappy pursuit of unattainable ideals and they would probably be better off listening to their own interior. This is what we focus on in Bodyland.”
Graf and Berg began their collaboration in 2005 and have since performed all over the world, winning several international prizes. The choreographers’ unique style incorporates elements from different types of performances. “We have never been afraid of blending genres, and in Bodyland we connect elements from the dance world with visual installations, music and text,” explained Berg.
Five dancers from different European countries will be on the stage in Bodyland and the international diversity of the cast actually plays a role in the performance. “An important element that defines the body and our thoughts about the body is the society in which we live, so sometimes in the performance we use the fact that we have an international cast to show this and at other times we choose not to use it to show that no matter where you are from a body is a body,” continued Berg.
Through its mixture of dance, visual installations, speech and music, Bodyland is a musical dance performance that, according to its press release, “opens the brain up and lets the body out”. According to its creators, the performance aims to bring the audience inside themselves and create awareness of the body’s wisdom and natural resources.
“It might sound naïve and obvious that we are convinced that people would see deeper changes by listening more to the body and by being more at peace with it than by seeking outer changes. Unfortunately, however, we seem to forget this,” contended Graf.
The pair’s experimental performances are known for their physicality, humour and originality, and they often draw in a broad audience. “Our shows are always very approachable and normally attract a very varied audience, which we are happy about. We are at eye level with the audience and it’s always clear what we are talking about,” said Berg.
So forget about those extra kilos and wrinkles for a while and take a trip to Bodyland. Who knows – it might do more for you than a trip to the gym or the latest fad diet.