Christoph WinklerBehind the Lines
2003, 6 Dancers, 60 Min., 12 x 10 Meter
“Hinter den Linien“ is a piece about the relationship of war and culture as one of the most uncanny in human history. Cultural practice and martial action are intertwined and their tracks remain traceable over long periods of time. Dance, or rather the art of dance, is no exception to this rule. War and culture can easily be translated into military and dance, because it is this pair in particular that have occasionally entered into a liaison of an especially eerie nature.
About the Piece
Bodies are considered trainable, malleable and can therefore supposedly be controlled. In dance, this presumption leads to the strict formation of figures in space, as well as the practice of reducing dance sequences into its smallest basic units. This applies to the military as well. It begins with the starting position for dancers and soldiers, which is at times the same, and ranges from the introduction of drill figures for their „fragility“ into dance to emphasizing the first beat with the left foot as is common in marching. These are just some of the very obvious signs of an intertwining of dance and military movements.
If you go one step further and read the battles of this period as choreography, it becomes clear that these battles are about lines, points and bodies that wander about and continuously form new shapes in space. And that can be called dance, as well as warfare.
Credits (copy 1)
Choreography: Christoph Winkler
Dance: Florian Bilbao, Lydia Klement, Miriam Kohler, Anna Luise Recke, Ingo Reulecke, Odile Seitz
Music: Mathis Mootz
In cooperation with CCAM - Scène Nationale de Vandœuvre lès Nancy, CCN Ballet de Lorraine-Accueil Studio and Goethe Institute Inter Nationes Nancy. Supported by the Senatsverwaltung für Wissenschaft, Forschung und Kultur Berlin
Excerpts from Reviews
In his new piece... Christoph Winkler has produced a text, sound and dance collage of historical schools and patterns of movement; an archaeology of the interweavings of dance and the drill...This retrospective look at the connections between military movement and the art of dance is also a look at the tamed body of today. „Hinter den Linien“ is a precise study about the disciplining of the body in the 17th century... Exciting, when the dancers freely go with their bodies in search of movement and history. In such scenes, observation becomes empathy; this is where language can no longer follow dance. Berliner Zeitung
The figure of the dance teacher and the sergeant overlap in the dance piece „Hinter den Linien“. In his new piece, the choreographer Christoph Winkler has attempted to demonstrate a connection between war and culture. He has not only mastered an impressive amount of material, but also questioned the martial implications of his own discipline: dance. The baroque is the historical moment, in which dance and the military intermingle...That war has always also been something staged, and therefore worthy to be called dramatic warfare, is a fact that has already been demonstrated impressively in numerous movies. Winkler aims at the reverse: war begins within one’s own body, at the place where (power) techniques have conquered it. Der Tagesspiegel
”The general and the choreographer are joined in an uncanny relationship with deep historical roots. The hinge connecting dance and war is geometry. It freezes everything into absolute form: point, line, plane. Ch. Winkler leaves no doubt to the weavings, which he drills his dancers with, pirouettes, frontlines – “close the ranks!“ The choreographer reflects the general within and the general the innate choreographer. Both dissect movement into small, precise elements and presuppose a calculability of the body „material“: During the baroque, dance teachers were summoned to military training. A historical account of troop movements during a battle between France and England, serves as basis for the choreography...It pushes the choreography through states of reduced spatial patterning to a tumult, that while still appearing only just so visually composed, is no longer fathomable...That his choreographic fine-tuning loses itself in spectacle every once in a while, seems to him worth the risk...But it demonstrates, what only Christoph Winkler represents within the German dance landscape: the meeting of movement oriented dance and conceptual precision. Berliner Morgenpost
Dancing and drills have much in common: individual bodies are to be formed through discipline into sequences of precise movement patterns – based on the rules of geometry... The choreographer Christoph Winkler has developed a new piece investigating the relationship of dance and warfare. What occasionally appears to us in dance as a miracle of body and mind here reveals its dark side, as a victory of the „tact-ical“ flesh over all forms of spirit. The brilliance of Winkler’s piece lies in his capability of demonstrating this aspect again and again. Neues Deutschland
For the first time in Vienna, the Berliner choreographer Christoph Winkler will present the new version of „Hinter den Linien“, an analytical choreography about the relationship between military ritual and dance drills. Winkler filters out the connection between warfare and dance in battle scenes, performed by Liz King’s excellently trained Tanztheater Vienna... A piece that starts with point, line and plane, angle and circle and which demands a convergence of expression, top technical ability and intense concentration in 70 minutes of classical ballet training. Kronenzeitung, Wien
But in „Hinter den Linien“ everything is about the cruelty of war. „People and movements mass into a morbid audio architecture of minuets, courtly phrases, noise and crackles. Exhausting duels, collapsing lines, exploding groups. Then silence, gasps of exhaustion.“ Salzburger Nachrichten
Winkler brings dance back. Le Monde