Les Indes galantes
This month, local Swiss fans can look forward to a special collaboration between the Joshua Monten Dance Company and the Bernese historical music ensemble Die Freitagsakademie. They’ll be presenting a radically reduced and reworked staging of Jean Philippe Rameau’s opera-ballet “Les Indes galantes” — one of the undisputed highlights of the French baroque.
Performances are planned from 26-28 October at the Tojo Theater in Bern. (Yes, an unusual location for baroque music, but also strangely fitting for the new staging.) A final performance is planned on 29 October at the TOBS Laboratoire Zwingli in Biel.
"Faking It" premiere
In a secluded clearing a group of four dancers engage in that most fundamental of all dance activities: dancing to the beat. Our newest creation, the site-specific forest dance production “Faking It,” mixes back-to-basics earthiness with an elaborate sense of artificiality and playfulness. Athletic, sensual, virtuosic and shamelessly muddy, “Faking It” is a surprising vision of the world-altering power of dance.
Five performances were held in the Dählhölzli forest in Bern. Check out our trailer below. And keep an eye out for the indoor version of the piece, which will premiere in Hameln (D) and Berlin in November.
Everything everywhere, all at once (almost)
August was no vacation time for us, but the rather the culmination of months of preparation. One team was putting the finishing touches on our new forest dance “Faking It” in Bern. Another team was performing “Romeo, Romeo, Romeo” at outdoor festivals in Belgium and France. A third team was on tour in Thailand, presenting “Kill Your Darlings” at street festivals and schools in three different cities. And a fourth was in South Africa, presenting “Game Theory” and “How to Do Things with Words” at the Cradle of Creativity Festival in Johannesburg and the JOMBA! Festival in Durban.
More translations ahead. As one of the very first European dance companies to travel to China since the end of the three-year “Zero Covid” policy, we’re honored to be invited to perform “The Pursuit of Happiness” at the Shanghai International Dance Center.
To make our work more accessible to local audiences, we’ve decided to including a local actor in the production, who will translate all of the spoken text into Mandarin. The title of the work has also been translated into 幸福的降落伞 (happy parachute).
Too far for you? You can also come and see us in Biel on May 23rd. Or take a look at our trailer.
Lately we’ve been dealing with the endless task of imposing straightness on an irregular world. More specifically, we’ve been working on our newest dance production, “Linearity.” Outfitted with safety helmets and bright adhesive tape, two dancing construction workers engage in an extended dialogue between straight lines and luxurious curves.
The premiere of “Linearity” took place at the Tanzfest Bern on 12 May in front of a thousand school children — see links below.
Hé, tu viens souvent ici?
Our Romeos are going to be spending a lot of time in France this year. During the course of the next few months we have eleven tours to France planned, starting with “Romeo, Romeo, Romeo” at “Le Printemps des rues” in Paris in May and at “Tous dehors (enfin !)” in Gap at the beginning of June.
To mark the occasion we have a new French dancer joining our Romeo team, Bryan Doisy.
We’ll also be giving the French premiere of “Game Theory” at the “Viva Cité” festival in Sotteville-lès-Rouen.
School programs throughout Switzerland
In the past two years our company has launched an initiative to bring more dance into Swiss schools. The company typically spends a half day at each school, first giving an on-site performance and then offering dance workshops for individual school classes. The workshops are a great way to introduce children to contemporary dance, to get them moving and to develop their own innate physical creativity.
In the cantons Bern, Zürich and Fribourg, these offers are fully funded through “culture gift certificates,” offered by the cantonal boards of education.
Currently three productions are available in Bern, two in Zürich, and one in Fribourg. Take a look!
300th performance of "Kill Your Darlings"
When will the destruction finally end?
This month we celebrated the 300th performance “Kill Your Darlings.” This classic all-terrain dance performance was created back in 2015 for the Buskers Bern Festival.
Since then we’ve used up more than 1,500 sticks of chalk and thrown 200 kg of powder in each other’s faces. We’ve also worn out a dozen pair of shoes, shredded five pairs of shorts, and ripped our meniscus once or twice. We’re hoping we might be able to kill a couple of more hundred darlings before we run out.
Our 300th performance took place indoors at the Schulhaus Wankdorf in Bern, after which we gave two dance workshops and staged a dance battle for two third-grade classes.
Tenth anniversary video
This fall the Joshua Monten Dance Company celebrates its tenth anniversary with a retrospective video.
Back in 2012 the title of our very first production was “About Strange Lands and People.” The title proved prescient for the work that followed. Exploring such wide-ranging topics as technologies of mood, interspecies relationships, fight clubs, game studies, sign language, gender performance and mating rituals, each production brought viewers glimpses of strange new artistic landscapes, and insight into the strangeness existing inside of each of us.
In the last ten years we’ve created eleven dance productions for upwards of 90,000 spectators. We’ve also had the honor to perform around the world in theaters, castles, alpine villages, refugee camps, beaches, factories, museums and schools.
Joshua Monten Dance Company is looking for dancers for two new outdoor dance productions which will take place between January and August 2023 in Bern, Switzerland.
Application deadline: 30 October 2023.
Selected candidates will be invited to a two-day audition in Bern on 19 and 20 November 2023.
Such sweet sorrow
Two teams of dancers have just finished a heroic string of shows, with 21 performances in Bern, St. Gallen and La Chaux-de-Fonds. More than 7000 spectators came to see 21 performances of “How to Do Things with Words” and “Romeo, Romeo, Romeo” over the course of a week and a half.
The highlight of this month was the English-language premiere of the outdoor version of “How to Do Things with Words” at Buskers Bern Festival, and the French-language premiere of the same production at La Plage des Six Pompes.
A review in the Geneva weekly newspaper “Gauchebdo” had high praise for the production, calling it “both virtuosic and fluid, poetic and absurd…. There’s no doubt, one finds here the same mixture of offbeat humor and demanding classical vocabulary as in certain work (like “Nelken”) signed by that high priestess of Tanztheater, Pina Bausch…. A marvel of singular strangeness.“
Nous sommes tous les Roméo et Juliette
After a years of planning and scheming, we’ve finally made a big splash in France. Our string of performances of “Romeo, Romeo, Romeo” at France’s biggest street theater festival “Chalon dans la Rue” was a tremendous success, drawing more than 3000 spectators.
The local newspaper “Journal de Saône et Loire” selected our production from more than 150 different companies as one of the highlights of the festival, declaring that “we are all Romeos and Juliets” and praising the “crescendo to a moment of festivity, even pleasure, a veritable anthem of liberation in which bodies rejoice.”
This is the beginning of a new chapter for our company. We’re currently negotiating dozens of “Romeo, Romeo, Romeo” performances in France and Belgium in the coming year, from Paris and Brussels to Toulon and Auvergne. We’ll find our Juliette yet.
As the weather gets warm, our Team Pink will be bringing “Game Theory” to festivals all around Europe and the Middle East. Twenty-four performances are planned in Vilnius, Aachen, Rastatt, Ramallah, Jerusalem and all around Switzerland.
We’re particularly looking forward to the Swiss national Tanzfest / Fête de la Danse on May 13/14/15, where we’ll be performing “Game Theory” in Thun, St. Gallen, Winterthur, Moutier, Rolle and Geneva.
We’re also looking forward to returning to Tête-à-Tête, Germany’s biggest street theater festival, for a week of “Game Theory” in Rastatt at the end of May.
How to do things with... video
Our team of videographers has just finished putting online some new videos from our most recent production. “How to Do Things with Words” is a pas de deux between bodies and graphic text, between language and movement. The production is a playful reinvention of the field of “conceptual dance,” which — let’s be honest — has in the past often prioritized verbalized concepts over the pleasures of movement.
Below you’ll find a trailer and some highlights from our stage production, which premiered at the Dampfzentrale Bern in February. You’ll also find a trailer for a separate video dance project, which addresses similar themes in a somewhat different form.
A street theater version is forthcoming… more details soon.
How to Do Things with Words
We’re off to a running start in 2022, as rehearsals for our new production have gone into high gear.
“How to Do Things with Words” is a pas de deux between bodies and graphic text, between language and movement. How does one dance with text? What new meanings arise when dancers manipulate objects printed with words and phrases?
The results range from the literal to the poetic, from the meaningful to the absurd. Printed signs may be flat, but they add a surprising depth to a dance performance.
Summer time is touring time
We’ve packed our newly-issued health passports, pink sneakers, safari hats, badminton rackets, hula hoops, chocolate bars and autotune processor, and we’re heading out on tour.
This summer the Joshua Monten Dance Company plans on making up for lost time. Many performances that were cancelled last year are finally going to happen. Plus some new opportunities have popped up. We’ll be showing four of our recent productions indoors and outdoors, in six different countries, including some of Europe’s leading summer arts festivals, like the Plage des Six Pompes in Switzerland, the Festival de Chassepierre in Belgium, the Theaterfestival Boulevard in the Netherlands, and the Sibiu International Theatre Festival in Romania.
The pursuit begins
The frost has finally melted: theaters in Switzerland have reopened and dance has returned. We are relieved… grateful… thrilled to hold the red-hot premiere of our newest dance production “The Pursuit of Happiness.” Six performances at the Dampfzentrale Bern are planned on 24, 25 and 26 June. Additional outdoor performances are planned in La Chaux-de-Fonds (CH) and Diepenheim (NL).
The U.S. Declaration of Independence famously insists on the rights to “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” But how is it really possible to hunt for happiness? Where does this strange beast reside? And how does our quest depend on the people around us? We believe that dance is a powerful tool for mood alteration, and an excellent way to look for answers.
The hunt isn’t over yet.
Corona regulations in Switzerland have forced us to postpone the long-awaited premiere of our new production “The Pursuit of Happiness,” which was originally planned for April.
New performances are planned to take place in the Dampfzentrale Bern from 24-26 June 2021.
In the meanwhile, take a look at the following video for a sneak peak into where our hunt for happiness has been heading.
Choreographing in the corona era
The Swiss newspaper “Der Bund” recently printed a portrait of Joshua Monten.
He describes the challenges of adapting his upcoming project “The Pursuit of Happiness” to new safety guidelines. Theaters in Switzerland and Germany limit audience size and require face masks for audience members. Monten discusses the sharply reduced possibilities for touring in the months ahead and the challenges of adapting to ever- shifting travel regulations. He addresses the financial support provided by the Swiss government during the months of lockdown, and the financial difficulties which his colleagues in the dance world still face.
Return to the streets
We are honored to able to conduct some of the first street theater performances since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. As part of the Six Pompes Summer Tour, we’ve been invited to perform on 17 July in Lausanne at the Théâtre de Verdure de l’Esplanade de Montbenon. We’ll be presenting (for the very first time) the French-language version of “Romeo, Romeo, Romeo.”
On 18 July we’ll be giving two performances of “Kill Your Darlings” in La Chaux-de-Fonds as part of the “Y s’passe un truc” programming series.
And on 7 August we’ll be performing “Little Joy” at three locations in the historic center of Thun.
Return to the stage
We are honored to be able to conduct one of the very first regular dance performances since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. The four young dancers of the Cie. MARCHEPIED(CH) will be performing Joshua Monten’s new creation “La parade nuptiale” at the Théâtre Sévelin 36 in Lausanne on 27 and 28 June.
The progress made in Switzerland to contain the spread of the coronavirus means that theaters have been allowed to reopen. With a safety measures in place — including spacing the spectators 1.5m apart, a system to collect contact information, and a choreographed entrance into the theater — we’ve been given the go-ahead from local authorities.
Update: the effects of coronavirus on our work
The spread of the coronavirus has drastically effected the work of our dance company and our lives, as it has so many others.
75 performances have already been cancelled, including tours to Norway, Belgium and Germany. More changes arrive each day.
In the safety of our own homes, we continue to dance on our own, to plan and to dream.
We were lucky to finish the creation of our newest dance production “Game Theory” before the coronavirus struck and theaters everywhere closed. It won’t be possible to see the work again live anytime soon, but we just posted a snazzy new trailer online and we invite you to take to take a look.
The preparations for our new dance production “Game Theory” have gone into high gear.
Before dance tried to express anything, before it became art or ceremony, it was a game…
Come join us for the premiere on 21 February at the Dampfzentrale Bern — or another show at the renowned Krokusfestival Hasselt in Belgium — or at Dock 11 in Berlin.
The show is suitable for adult audiences and young viewers.
Even though we’ve been spending most of our time recently working in the studio (and manically shopping for pink clothes), we’ve also been planning some exciting trips for later in the spring.
“Little Joy” will have two weeks of shows in Norway in March, organized by Den Kulturelle Skolesekken in Tønsberg.
In April “Kill Your Darlings” will visit a half-dozen cities in the remote Faroe Islands in April as part of the children’s dance festival Barnafestivalurin.
In April and May “Romeo, Romeo, Romeo” heads to five cities in Mexico on a tour organized by the Red Noroeste de Festivales de Danza en México.
National tour in Switzerland for the Fête de la Danse
Since 2013 Joshua Monten has been regularly participating in the Swiss national dance festival (Fête de la danse / Das Tanzfest), staging flash mobs, site-specific dance performances, school projects and giving dozens of performances of his outdoor works.
This year, he’s been invited to present the outdoor version of “Romeo, Romeo, Romeo” in seven different cities in May. The Romeos will be performing in parks, plazas, train stations and cultural centers all the way from Geneva to St. Gallen.
To make things a bit more friendly, they’ll be preparing both French- and German-language versions of the piece. “Tu ne t’appelerais pas Juliette, par hazard?”
Junior dance company in Lausanne
Joshua Monten has been invited to create a new work for the dancers of the junior company MARCHEPIED(CH) in Lausanne, directed by Corinne Rochet and Nicolas Pettit.
“La parade nuptiale” will be premiered at the Théâtre Sévelin 36 in Lausanne on 25 April 2020, followed by touring in the French-speaking part of Switzerland and in France.