tanzmainz ensemble in Moritz Ostruschnjak’s Trailer Park. Photo © Andreas Etter

REVIEW

Moritz Ostruschnjak: Trailer Park

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tanzmainz ensemble in Moritz Ostruschnjak’s Trailer Park. Photo © Andreas Etter
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An energetic and unnervingly zeitgeisty work that both comes from and speaks to our age

Moritz Ostruschnjak’s Trailer Park, for Tanzmainz Ensemble, not only looks like one of the energy drink cans that feature in it – the dancers wear synthetic sports kits, plastered with logos and slogans – but it feels like an energy drink too: a zingy cocktail that you glug down gladly, even as you notice its chemicals and colourants.

It starts with Jaume Luque Parellada sliding, twitching, bouncing and making faces, like he knows he’s being watched (the whole show, which picks and mixes from online videoclips, is choreographed in highly camera-conscious fashion). Parellada mimes ascending to another realm, where he’s joined by an upbeat song (‘in my mind, in my head’ goes the refrain) and by eight more dancers – others of his kind, or versions of himself? – who pose as if for a group selfie.

But nothing lasts for long in Trailer Park, and soon we’re shuffling through a playlist of numbers that encompasses (to quote another song) ‘a little bit of everything, all of the time’. Musically, it includes pop, trance, opera, cabaret, rock, folk, and more; choreographically, there’s street dance, samba, linedance, much from music video, cheerleading, club steps, sports moves, iconic gestures, emoji expressions, more.

It could have been a mess, but it’s tight and targeted, thanks both to the excellent dancers and the classy composition: Ostruschnjak has a knack for choreographing dynamic groups that are coherent yet unpredictable, and fizz with volatility. He also shifts pace, scale and mood, and switches between speed and stillness, breadth and focus. If we never quite know where we’re heading, nor are we ever lost.

Is this just the kind of high that a sweetened, caffeinated, carbonated drink might produce? Yes, but Trailer Park also gives you the lowdown, making you queasily uneasy about the zeitgeist it taps: short-term, hyper-stimulating, commercialised, synthesised, ultra-mediated, and fixated upon appearance.

A contradictory work, then, delivering a dose of pain into its choreographic pleasures and a shot of vitality within its deadpan artifices – nowhere more so than its final number, simultaneously extravagant and restrained, to Queen’s ‘Who Wants to Live For Ever?’ Pow.

The bottom line: A finger-in-the-socket mainline to the queasy pleasures of our dystopian times
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24.03.24, Staatstheater Mainz, Germany
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At Staatstheater Mainz, 12.04.2024 and 14.04.2024, details (and online programme) here.

Choreography: Moritz Ostruschnjak
Choreographic collaborator: Daniela Bendini
Dancers: Shani Licht, Cassandra Martin, Réka Rácz, Meritxell Van Roggen; Paul Elie, Finn Lakeberg, Christian Leveque, Wendel Lima de Alcantara, Jaume Luque Parellada, Jaime Neves (Ensemble tanzmainz)
Lighting design: Tanja Rühl
Music mixing & editing: Jonas Friedlich
Costume design: Daniela Bendini
A production of Staatstheater Mainz

moritzostruschnjak.com

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