Two female dancers and one video artist merge dance, music and video to gain one moving, universal language of images.
„Something Else tries to be like the others, but everything he does shows how different he is.
Then Something turns up and wants to be friends, but Something Else isn’t sure that he’s at all like him… ”
The creative potential which is inherent in diversity has been explored together with 100 primary-school pupils from Cologne. Their fantasy was the basis for this piece full of high spirits and sensuality, sense and nonsense, funny, moving, just something else…
Artistic directionPaula Scherf und André Lehnert
DanceMirka Flögl und Paula Scherf
Video ArtAndré Lehnert
Mask DesignManfred Massler
TailoringKerstin Scherf-Hopp, Christina Pantermehl
AssistantCarmen Marie Zens
Cooperation Pupils of Astrid-Lindgren Elementary School,
Stephan-Lochner Elementary School,
Ernst-Moritz-Arndt Elementary School,
„… A clownade is being developed, filled with many ideas and dance effects and based on a constant communication with the audience. …”
„…They achieve an aesthetic value which can only be seen rarely in the adults’ world of dance: A dialogue between dance and digital images. André Lehnert’s timing and animation has a certain creative professionalism which playfully gives meaning to his dance. ….”
„…The “Else” in “Something Else” also captivates in another way. Here, children are being introduced to dealing with metaphors …”
„… it still captivates its young audience until its last image. …”
„…Paula Scherf, who embodies the role of Something Else on stage, breathes in a unique manner life into her. Her motions and facial expression appear to be clumsy, comic and innocent…”
„…It’s the movements that enable children to understand emotions better than through words. The body language is suitable for children and thus characterizes this inventive, visually appealing dance theatre piece. It humorously deals with an important topic: tolerance for people who are different, acceptance of one’s own peculiarities. …”
„… ‘Something’ (Mirka Flögl), an orange flibbertigibbet with a trunk-like nose, performs a mating dance that involves the whole stage. Both circle around and approach each other, the dance is being emphasized by music and the well placed use of instruments (Lehnert). …”
„… Thus, the emotions resonate and highlight the best moments in which their interplay seems to be as expressive, comic and moving as in the novel. …”
I was surprised and touched to see that dance theatre for children can be so close to the young audience’s character (for people of age 4+) without any huge blowoff or ‘kidding’ the characters. It definitely is a theatre event which cannot be categorized and thus not necessarily fulfills (viewing) expectations.
I was surprised when realizing that a play based on a novel tells every detail of its story without using any words, and still makes the children understand. A successful mixture of dance, music and videos added a strong concentration to the piece. The protagonist’s experiences have already been actively mirrored and lived by the children within the piece and to this date. Its narrative style is incredibly relaxed.
And one more little anecdote while reviewing „Something Else”: After the show, a boy waved goodbye at me with his left hand, then apologized for the ‘wrong’ hand only to realize that he had just learned about it not being very important how exactly to greet / say goodbye. If anything, it is just about doing it and observing how the other one would do it.
The play is set at Something Else’s house – a stage with a projection screen functioning as mirror. The mirror shows Something Else’s world of experiences. His encounters with the Others as well as wishes, dreams and longings are being told by Something Else via interactions with mirror projections on stage. Music from different cultures and genres makes the scenes highly atmospheric.
The play shows that it is worthwhile to look beyond one’s own nose. It encourages to regard diversity as being the origin of inspiration and to encounter otherness differently.
Children live in our multicultural society with all of their different ways of socialization, trying to get along. That is why we consider dealing with one’s own existence as well as with that of strangeness highly important.
The story of „Something Else” relates to our children’s personal struggle with themselves and others, happening in every-day life. It deals with topics like perception, construction of identity, social exclusion, diversity, acceptance and tolerance. These topics collectively depict the guiding ideas of inclusion in all detail.
The story is a fable. Thus it is easy to transfer individual experiences onto a more general context. Eventually, all of the protagonist Something Else’s problems and challenges are a synonym for something we as mankind have to overcome.
With this project we would like to encourage children to actively deal with those topics. In order to do so, the children use different artistic devices from the categories dance, music and fine arts, and thus develop a personal, creative approach. This experience enables a deeper understanding for content and art – as an active, individual way of expression as well as the consumer’s role.
Dance, video, music and fine arts provide a basis for exchange amongst people.
In collaboration with a hundred students between age 6 and 9 coming from four different elementary schools in Cologne, disdance project explores how comic, confusing, poetic and bizarre it can be, when respect and tolerance are the basis for encountering the unknown.
During project weeks they playfully, experimentally approached the story and its topics, literally experienced them on their own. They danced, painted and played. The project weeks were seen as an open field of research – for children and artists. Their impressions, experiences and results were then used to develop the production’s staging.
The classes visited the artists’ open rehearsals in order to participate in the further development of the production.
According to our view, culture and education should not exist separately. We achieve a synergetic effect: stage art and education function as one and thus influence society. Artists learn from children, children learn via working with artistic devices. The production’s staging is – amongst the artists’ (adults) thoughts and approaches – based on the children’s experiences and imagination.
The children develop creative approaches as well as artistic tools for this thematic debate. Moreover they also experience their influence as being part of an artistic process and art as an individual means of expression.