For our first Bonnections podcast interview, we met with Rafaële Giovanola, co-founder and artistic director of CocoonDance.
Giovanola is a Swiss dancer and choreographer, who was born in Baltimore and worked with William Forythe’s Frankfurt Ballet and other international dance companies. Rafaële spoke to Bonnections on March 22 about her Bonn-based modern dance ensemble, her philosophy and her own professional journey. We also talked about her work with youth and non-professional dancers, including refugees in Germany and young dancers in Mali, and what she learned from this experience.
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CocoonDance was founded by Giovanola and her husband Rainald Endraß in 2000. The company directs and curates the dance division of the Theater im Ballsaal in Bonn-Endenich and has established itself as an internationally acclaimed contemporary dance institution that offers a vibrant and stimulating environment for creative self-expression and team work. Over the last decade, CooconDance has developed innovative arts education projects which led to the founding of the Junior Company Bonn – THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS, a youth ensemble with about thirty members between 7 and 17 years of age.
In the audio podcast, Giovanola also speaks about the recent 2016 Into-the-Fields Festival in Bonn and the company’s newest production, MOMENTUM, that will premiere on April 7.
MOMENTUM aims to create a connection between the dancers and their audience through the palpable feeling of movement in a shared space. The dancers and the audience alike absorb the evolving kinetic energy, which becomes the driving element of the Performance.
Like their earlier performances “Pieces of Me” and “What About Orfeo?”, CocoonDance’s newest production, MOMENTUM, strives to create a shared sense of space and movement between the dancers and the audience.
There is a nightclub-like atmosphere: A feverish, live-produced and pulsating beat surrounded by an austere, dark setting. Three chimerical figures appear from the vague darkness. Their movements are first hesitant and searching. A slight twist of the torso here, a sudden nod there, then slowly accelerating to a swaying, a twitch or a gyration of the entire body. None of these external proceedings reveal anything about the inner feelings. Only the rhythm and speed unite the movements in a structural dimension. The pure physical, sweat-inducing choreography and the fusion of light and sound are generating a hypnotic energy.
In cooperation with DJ Franco Mento, the light designer Marc Brodeur, choreographer Rafaële Giovanola and her dancers Alvaro Esteban, Werner Nigg und Andi Xhuma are exploring the connections, similarities and emerging spaces of movement and being moved.