Schrit_tmacher Festival

Zombies of fear and rage

„All I Need“ by the Beaver Dam Company at Fabrik Stahlbau Strang.

By Nicole Strecker

translated by Karoline Strys

Actually, we were all glad to have gotten rid of this voice: the barking and blustering of former U.S. President Donald Trump. But now he is back – at least on stage. From today on, a conversation about how to make „America safe again“ has begun, it sounds from the speakers. Nine dancers fidget their way through the demagogic troublemaker’s arsenal of gestures, pushing each other aside as Trump did with politicians at the NATO summit in 2017, tearing each other’s clothes – chaos. Everything back to the top. Trump is bragging again. An egomaniac in an endless loop.

„All I Need“ is the name of the piece by French-Swiss choreographer Edouard Hue and his Beaver Dam Company, founded in 2014, which has now made its guest appearance at the Schrittmacher Festival in Fabrik Stahlbau Strang. In 2021 it was created. There, you just came to believe to have been past the unscrupulous narcissist, who had attacked representative democracy like no U.S. president before him. Yet you cannot get rid of him that easily, as Edouard Hue apparently already had predicted two years ago. Thus his piece now takes on new relevance with the justified fear of Trump’s possible re-election. It is rather bizarre, however, that after a few rounds through the „Trump“ loop, Hue has the same choreographed scene repeated to the voice of Vladimir Selensky. How come? Interpreted benevolently, Hue might want to counter the „safe“ in Trump’s speech, following the lines of: ’safe America‘ my foot, now a war is threatening the world. Yet the scenic equation Trump-Selenski remains nevertheless disconcerting. Dramaturgical precision is obviously not Hue’s thing. What a pity.



Yet, he and his wonderful ‚Biberdamm‘ company can be sure of everyone’s sympathy. The ensemble itself is a political statement for lived diversity and body positivity in dance. Whereas in matters of origin and sexual identity dance has long been further than the rest of society, yes the discipline still has a hard time with weight classes – especially when virtuoso performances appear in pieces. The „Beaver Dams“ present now that not only ideally proportioned muscle machines are capable of amazing speed, hardness and strength. The nine dancers are dressed in tight underwear. Powerful electro-beats pulsate through their bodies. Hands clenched into fists, they stomp, twitch and cramp in feverish excitement.

Edouard Hue does not even try to hide his influence by one of the best choreographers of our time: Hofesh Shechter. He has been staging his fantastic dance portents for about 20 years and has created a unique style for his revolutions and apocalypses that deserve to be carried on by future generations. And presumably, once you have worked with Shechter for a while, you cannot get the extremely rhythmic movement language, relying on aggressive contrasts, out of your body anyway – just like Edouard Hue.

So now with him, too, the dancers also gather to form grotesquely angry rebels and transform their bodies into weapons, in order to then also present the fragility, the anxieties behind the rage in slower scenes. There is a female dancer standing at the edge of the stage like a speaker who has forgotten her lines. She catches her breath again and again, unable to find the words, until finally her body loses control and, trembling ecstatically and with twisted limbs, spills out her innermost outward.

The despair about our world, all the violent feelings – they also distort us, turn us into rage-distorted, anxiety-ridden zombies, this is presented by Edouard Hue. In the end, however, his dancers slowly rise from the floor, simply standing there, finding humanity in melancholy. If only we were all a little more moderate, a little more prudent, a little less „Trump“.