The Rite Thing

Collaboration Les Ballets de Montecarlo & Liquid Loft
together with Impulstanz Vienna International Festival

“The most profound happiness of a human being comes from being sacrificed.” E.Jünger

For almost a century there is a ritual that has been performed on all international dance stages, inevitably ending up in death, but, nevertheless, it is a part every soloist is eager to dance. The stakes are high, because The Chosen One is sacrificed, or is sacrificing him- or herself, in order to bring on a fertile spring.

In The Rite Thing this ritual is disenchanted in a Warhol-esque fashion by mimetically repeating the casting of the spell in various ways. Based on a reproduction of original choreographic material of Le Sacre du Printemps and the personal story of Nijinsky, Liquid Loft, together with dancers of Les Ballets de Monte Carlo, stage impressive Ready Mades, by rediscovering them as containers of bygone choreographic intentions in a changed context, weaving them into contemporary structures. Dance as an imitation of change; the sacrifice as an instrument of equalization through retaliation against the innocent. These are the archaic means of mimetic practice in this performance.

Photos: Chris Haring

The current positions in contemporary dance are, considering its language of motion and modus operandi, further away from the ballet than ever before. While modern aesthetic concepts evolved in opposition to and distinction from given traditions, contemporary dance simply lost the ballet as its welcome adversary in the strive to gain a distinct position. Seen as historical material, however, the form-language of the ballet becomes all the more interesting. Liquid Loft attempts to re-read and analyze this, by now, foreign language, with today’s knowledge, the experience of movement, as well as the repertoire of forms of contemporary dance.

One hundred years after Sergei Pavlovich Diaghilev (1872-1929) founded Les Ballets Russes, Liquid Loft cooperates with Les Ballets de Monte Carlo: A place that was a temporary home to Diaghilev’s company, and where major choreographers, coming from Les Ballets Russes themselves, continued its tradition throughout the 20th century and beyond. Liquid Loft take particular interest in the strong affinity of the Ballets Russes to current positions in the visual arts, which led to dance becoming a central force in the development of modern art, even a motor of modernity at large. Diaghilev’s cooperation with important visual artists made dance and dancers appear in varying, constantly new and unusual visual contexts.

This historic appeal nourishes the interest in Les Ballets Russes and proves to be affine to Liquid Loft’s established method. In this collaboration, the focus on applied forms of contemporary ballet will be modified by means of acoustic dislocation. Within this altered context, elements of Nijinsky's original choreographic sequences are experienced in new and unique ways.


Text: Chris Haring, Uwe Mattheiss 
Translation: Oliver Stummer