Dance of Death (Totentanz, Danse Macabre) is an artistic genre of late-medieval allegory on the universality of death: no matter one’s station in life, the Dance of Death unites all.
Banshee Ragout is a 75 min long dystopia investigating the concepts that find themselves within the semantic field of death-dances. The medieval figure of a dancing Death embodies a paradox. After all, isn’t it the living who dance? Is dance not often seen, in all its dynamic ephemerality, as an expression and celebration of life itself? What are the connections between dance and death? Banshee Ragout attempts to inhabit the paradox, reflecting on the phantasma of reversibility of life, death and art.
This journey to nowhere weaves together a variety of strategies: the physical enactment of medieval representations of Danse Macabre, an analysis of death choreographies of German expressionist dance pioneers Mary Wigman, Kurt Jooss and Harald Kreutzberg, as well as contemporary doom metal and drone music, somatic exploration of the dying experience, and finally, experimentation with body fictions and cognitive imagery.
These ghosts of the past, fragilities of the present and dystopias of the future float and swirl in the loving embrace of a massive swathe of flowing black plastic, itself machined from the oozing bodies of our ancient forebears. The performers busy themselves channelling these ancestors both material and artistic, attempting to embody the paradox of a dancing death.
What are the connections between dance and death?
Who knows, maybe our death is dancing with us already.
Choreography, dance: Joshua Rutter, Irina Demina
Composition& live music: Pelle Buys, Mark Leyrer
Light: Henning Eggers
Dramaturgic assistance: Angela Guerreiro