Austrian choreographer, director and dancer Florentia Holzinger performs in the European contemporary genre and presents A Divine Comedy at Volksbühne at Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz. Her eye opening performance left the field school students inspired, queasy, hysterical, emotional and overall speechless. The performance grapples with an interpretation of Italian poet Dante Alighieri’s work concerning the journey of the soul after death and where heaven and hell’s discourses are visualized in the present and performed through the basis of theatrics and movement. The student described her work as representing what cannot be often imagined.
One of her main focuses of inquiry includes: is spirituality possible in the 21st century? Through her performance, she questions the physical, strenuous lengths in which female dancer's can go through to train and exhaust the body. Thus, her exploration of the female body and female representation takes on a whole new meaning concerning the often conventional ideas of the female dancer. Holzinger incorporates all aspects of being a woman in the world– provocative, humorous, sensual, sensitive, raw and more. The students discussed after that they appreciated the full female cast of unique bodies, identities, ethnicities and abilities.
Much of the emotional reactions throughout went in waves, often driven with anticipation; it was a feeling of awaiting for chaos yet constantly encountering it. The dancers utilized stunt and acrobatic work in the performance as well as a mix of live and pre-mixed music. Beatrice, the main female character who narrates the abstract story becomes an entity of the living and the dying, the transformation of life after death. This idea of the body ultimately “dancing herself to death” is an important takeaway from Holzinger’s performance and the ways in which we approach life and visualize it as a whole to our inevitable death. Checkout Holzinger’s Instagram for more insight into her practice and works: @floholzinger.
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