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It’s not easy being straight.

Sitting upright at the table, acting with integrity, staying within the lines on the road, performing a traditional gender role with conviction, not bending under life’s burdens — all of these are endlessly demanding tasks. The new dance production “Linearity” shows two men doing their best to bring straightness into the world. Ambitious, energetic, and carrying rolls of bright adhesive tape, they restructure their environment by creating straight lines in the unlikeliest of places. Or at least that’s the plan.

It’s as if the audience were watching a construction site. The dancers make measurements and sketches, they build and lift and bulldoze and raise a lot of dust. In the middle of it all, recognizable forms start to emerge. Even the dancers’ own bodies are drawn into the scheme, trying to straighten out their natural wobbles and width and curviness into the ideal rectilinearity of a Euclidean line. They perform miraculous feats of organization, stunning lifts and thrillingly synchronous steps. But linearity is not as easy as it seems. The best-laid plans always seem to be undermined by shaky ground, faulty planning, and interpersonal differences. Who knows when this construction will ever be finished?

The movement language of “Linearity” is based on an extended dialogue between straight lines (think of Euclidean geometry, Cunningham technique, Olympic gymnastics) and luxurious curves and wiggles (think of jellyfish, oriental dance, and those giant fan-powered inflatable figures called “sky dancers”). How straight do we really want to be? How many curves can we handle? The choreography looks for answers to questions that end up being surprisingly personal.

Like watching Sisyphus roll his rock up the mountain, “Linearity” shows the fascinatingly endless task of imposing straightness on an irregular world. The effortfulness of the work, the dancers’ struggles to conform, the environmentally problematic residue of sticky tape — such factors leave the spectators wondering about just how desirable “straightness” actually is.

CHOREOGRAPHY

Joshua Monten

DANCE

Yiorgos Pelagias
Dario Rigaglia
Jack Wignall [alternate]

COSTUME DESIGN

Verena Leo

APPRENTICE

Alina Lugovskaya

PRODUCED BY

Verein Tough Love

COPRODUCTION

Centre de Création Hélvetique des Arts de Rue (CCHAR)

WE GRATEFULLY ACKNOWLEDGE FINANCIAL SUPORT FROM THE FOLLOWING ORGANIZATIONS

Kultur Stadt Bern
Gesellschaft zu Ober-Gerwern

PERFORMANCE HISTORY

25-26 February 2023 (2x) — CCHAR, La Chaux-de-Fonds (CH) — try-out
3-4 May 2023 (2x) — Mosaikschule Munzinger, Bern (CH) — try-out
5 May 2023 (2x) — First Friday, Biel (CH) — try-out
12 May 2023 (2x) — Tanzfest Bern (CH) — premiere

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