Ballein: throwing dance. Residency at Pact Zollverein.

Residency at Pact Zollverein together with Julia Plawgo and Negroma, September 2016. What is the problem that you are dancing to? Which problem makes you dance? These are two main questions driving our research on what is the affinity between dance and danger and how dance can be triggered by violence and aggression. The statement here is: there is no dance if we are not forced to dance;  dance cannot be a matter of good will and this way dance is born out of unexpected and accidental circumstances. 

This research is based on the text of the book Dangerous Dances. The book poses the question: what do ballistics, problems, the devil and dance have in common? There is common denominator between having a problem, bumping into the devil, accepting a dance invitation and being hit by a bullet. Etymologically speaking, they all share the same root, from Greek, ballein, which means, “to throw so as to hit“. Something has been thrown, something falls in the middle, something appears unexpectedly in front of you, all of a sudden something hits you, and unexpectedly you are invited to dance.

To wake up the body from its boredom/comfort zone/stagnation = activation of the body = from the somnolence (sleepiness) of occupying the privilege position = de-privileging the body = only a harmful affection will force the body to wake up from the paralysis.  To wake up the privileged body from its comfort. Ballein is devilish: to affect harmfully, dance replaces war and fight: it channels the devilish impulses into a non violent form of being together: Dancing together replaces fighting to each other.

Anger or frustration is transformed into an affirmative force. To avoid to move from anger and find an affirmative joyful force (child at play, mischievous). What is your anger? How does anger moves you? To activate the fundamental annoyance (rage?) of the body, its effervescence = EMBODIED WAY OF LIFE: different attitudes (predispositions) in life when it is time to “affirm from negativity”.

Make your rage/anger turn into a dance: angry dancer VS joyful cheerful dancer (vitality) To dance NOT because of your free will (voluntarily) but to be forced to dance = dance as a physical reaction of getting hit = the dance has to be born out of unpleasant conditions. It is an imperative . A refusal to continue having fun and being entertained. It has nothing to do with the psychology of the performers hitting each other, it is not about fighting against each other or conflict between us. Rather the opposite: we are sending to each other invitations to dance in the only way dance can move away from comfortable habits.

Ritual/ceremony/symbol: cathartic discharge : channeling the aggressive urge: purifying, sublimation of aggressive or sexual drives. Non hostile ritualized combat. PATHOS (passion / empathy) between performers and audience



For every format: possibility that the audience throws the balls (moral issues + puting them in the situation of exercising power). Or every format is a “dance” (study) and we show them one by one with a title or short introductory speech

1.- Blind folded + sound detector (clock ticking): 2 – 4 performers throwing balls: durational installation, audience are exposed to danger of getting hit. We need many balls! Otherwise we spend too much time searching for balls.

2.- Durational performance: 2 performers doing the 30 minutes score in loop. Space: 200 black balls, and white floor‏.

3.- Durational installation: performers blind folded only receiving (never throwing) balls from audience throwing. It could be instructions on the wall written for audience to understand that they must throw: or a trafic light with green and red light, so there are moments of not throwing. Variation: sometimes the audience can join and try themselves

4.- Stage work. Dance piece: trio or quartet: audience throws balls or self stimulation: only performers throw balls

5.- Video installation

6.- Essays or studies: a dance in 5 pieces or 5 pieces of dance (Ballein)



1.- Being blindfolded receiving the hit of the projectile. It is a movement research or somatic exploration, to process the experience of getting hit and to dance it, there are no more restrictions, only listening to what the throw and the hit produce on your body. The people who throw are in power but the dancer turns the attack into an invitation to dance, the dancer instrumentalizes the situation and turns the negativity of the attack into affirmation.

We can work/dance with the input of the hit in our body or we can work/dance with the situation of getting exposed to the hit = anticipation (moving faster) , protection, hiding…

2.- Game of throwing and receiving: the difference here is that we are not blindfolded, we can throw and also we can try to avoid getting hit (sometimes it becomes the purpose of the game: not to get hit, while in the other one the purpose is to get hit.

To throw implies an intentionality =  we don´t throw because of revenge/anger but rather because the game needs it? The fact that we  throw brings in the “anger” = I can throw back at the person who threw at me.

There is not so much exploration because you must throw.

The important aspect here is that the game brings the playfulness (child at play / mischievous/malicious movement that traverses the space = Throwing the body: the dance becomes the throw) The energy, dynamics and joy of playing a game (excitement, adrenaline) = it is a self stimulated game that at some point you don´t need to throw or get hit any longer because you have internalized the throw.

Moments of dancing without the throwing (the abstraction of the game) = what do they mean? Are they necessary?



SOMATIC WARM UP / PREPARATION = necessary body to approach the exercises

Body work (Gong) corresponds with a ethics / attitude in life = to embody a way of living.

CHI GONG: Life Energy Cultivation: increases Vitality. qigong allows access to higher realms of awareness, awakens one’s “true nature”, and helps develop human potential. state of consciousness that brings serenity, clarity, and bliss. energy work/skill. Energy: including heat, light, and electromagnetic energy; and definitions often involve breath, air, gas, or relationship between matter, energy, and spirit. The Chi Body (bioelectrical body that cannot be seen/only felt)‏. To bring the chi energy to the skin (aura/glow). Yin yang es simultáneo (no uno después del otro-tiempo lineal) RELAXATION is the main goal: to relax the physical body because it opens the channels of conducting electricity

NEI GONG: Nei (internal) Gong: internal skill (meditation, breathing, what you cannot see)

KUNGFU: work/skill (Gong) developed over time (Fu)

3 DAN TIANs: 1.- Brain + 2.- Diaphragm (middle dantian) + 3.- Abdomen, intestins (center of gravity)

To open and close it generates CHI. bio electrical battery to storage CHI: to using the mind to distribute the CHI through the body.

Two different approaches: either from external (technique-action) to internal (mind) or from internal into external.

THE GLOW: from inside to outside = electrified = the pre-disposition becomes body = embodiment of your attitude in life. Investigar las diferentes maneras cada persona se enfrenta al ejercicio: diferentes actitudes vitales se corporeizan : way of life embodied.