The Green Table by the German choreographer Kurt Jooss dates from 1932 and is generally regarded as one of the most important dance works of the previous century. The choreography consists of eight scenes which together provide a moving, often satirical commentary on the senselessness of war and the horrors that result from it. Following the opening scene, in which ‘bigwigs’ gathered around a green conference table make plans for a war, Jooss presents us with marching soldiers, mourning women, an avaricious war profiteer and the omnipresent Death. But he does this in a language of movement and gesture that is so pure and so reduced to the essentials that the work remains impressive today. “Anti-war dance is still powerful”, was the headline of a review by DE VOLKSKRANT of the Introdans performance in 2006. The death march by Frederick A. Cohen, the music to which Jooss set his magnum opus, is performed live on two grand pianos.
The American Robert Battle, the artistic director of the prestigious Alvin Ailey Dance Company, created the choreography No Longer Silent. He set this to Ogelala, a ‘forgotten piece of music’ by the Czech composer Erwin Schulhoff whose work was suppressed by the Nazi regime in Germany, with performances banned during the Second World War.
While Schulhoff drew his inspiration from an old Mexican legend about an Indio warrior, Battle prefers an abstract translation of this avant-garde music which is full of dynamism and tempo changes. The complete Introdans ensemble is continually on stage, performing a choreography in which chaos and unity, collectivity and individualism, strife and surrender all alternate at overwhelming speed. ‘Pounding machinelike rhythms, imagery of shame or torment and more than one self-immolating dance solo succeeded another in structures that told not one story but suggested many’, wrote THE NEW YORK TIMES.
Premiere 20 September 2013
‘Robert Battle comes up with a sensational ballet. With his striking dance idiom he creates stunningly beautiful theatre. In a word: phenomenal.’ (DE GELDERLANDER on No Longer Silent)
‘Introdans shows daring by putting the entire ensemble on stage. Dynamic and youthful.’(DE VOLKSKRANT on No Longer Silent)
‘A moving war dance … the images are allowed to speak for themselves in this strong performance by the sixteen dancers.’ (DE TELEGRAAF on The Green Table)
‘The dancers of Introdans threw themselves into their roles with an intensity and intelligence that allowed the work to pack its punch to the full.’ (DANCE EUROPE on The Green Table)