LATE, Juli Reinartz ©Gerko Egert

The Centre is Everywhere, the Circumference is Nowhere

LATE, premiering on 22 and 23 June at Studio Storkower Straße 115, directed by Juli Reinartz, takes the figure and format of a ball (dance) as a landscape for coexistence and change, exploring crip time as simultaneous multiplicity for bodies sharing space.

Entering the ‘ballroom’ where LATE takes place involves several steps. Approaching the building, I find large, fluorescent lettering in sticky tape stretched on the pavement, spelling “LATE,” with arrows pointing to a door. Two people direct me to more bright signage towards an elevator to the fourth floor, where arrows lead me to another person, who enthusiastically whispers to continue around a corner, to another person who invites me to enter a room and sit along one side for visual access to surtitles on a wall. Each of these people gives me a genuinely kind smile and says, “viel Spaß!” (Have fun!)

I sink into a comfortable sofa. Space is soft: fluffy cushions and beanbags along the sides, mesh fabric falling from the ceiling, soothing pink light washing the space. I relax. The soundscape is a slow, changing pulse like my heart’s. LATE ‘loops’ – that is, the choreographic structure repeats three times, and I’ve entered partway through loop one. Repetition in this work induces a feeling of safety through inherent change, the knowledge that these loops aren’t traps but temporary zones of simultaneity, a format I can freely leave at any moment. 

I sense choice, agency, and commitment to individual action in group relation in the dancers’ performances. They execute flowing, circular trajectories of movement: the crown of Dasniya Sommer’s head dips and rises, Addas Ahmad’s wrist gestures up and around his head and torso, spiraling his body. They are each moving in distinct, different time signatures (Matilda Carlid at glacial speed, Ariane Hassan Pour-Razavi in a chair arrhythmically gesturing her shoulders and hands with a gentle popping quality) on a floor zigzagged with the fluoro tape. While movements are round, locomotion is straight: pathways forming a gridlike spatial system. We are guests at a ball, where dance is brought from page to stage, referencing the Beauchamp-Feuillet notation for Baroque/court dance. The dancers bow to one another, layering their different speeds and rhythms with historical time: I recall folk dances, cotillions, Darcy and Elizabeth dancing in BBC’s Pride and Prejudice, Beckett’s Quad. But unlike these archival references, this choreography makes meeting in different temporalities possible.

The relationship between the performers, through their differently abled bodies, approaches, and actions is strong, ambiguous, and powerful. On one side of the room sits a woman, Silja Korn, whose hands – nails painted the same bright pink as the tape – are tracing braille. From her spectacles fall beautiful strands of jewels, covering her eyes. Is the page she traces the stage the dancers move across? Is she somehow programming the grid?

The ‘start’ of the second loop is the final part of my visit to LATE, where Korn introduces herself as host and the many options we have to access this work. I see her standing before me, touching the braille to speak her text. I hear her speaking it in German, and I read it in English and German on the wall. We pass around and feel the textures of loose bundles of the hanging mesh and the fluffy cushions. Multiple thresholds of experience (there is the option to listen to audio description with headphones) create a meditative and inspiring situation of co-existence, care, and generative abundance. I hear, read, and see Korn touch the sentence “All rooms are rooms of simultaneity” and feel this knowledge in my body. This ballroom holds many times and registers at once, a gift we can give ourselves and others, interpreting material with our bodies differently together.

LATE by Juli Reinartz premiered on 22 and 23 June 2024 at Studio Storkower Straße 115.