The Coming Silence

The Coming Silence

The Coming Silence

Are we exempt from the diorama? Who will be left to witness our appearance in the museum of the disappeared?

The Coming Silence aims a critical eye at the divisions humans create between themselves and the rest of the biotic world. Through a work that places very still or slow-moving performing bodies on display, The Coming Silence asks us to consider when or how humans might inhabit the display cases of natural history museums currently inhabited by ‘animals of interest’.

The Coming Silence encourages audiences to question humanity’s future in light of climate, ecological, and viral emergencies, thereby highlighting humanity’s ethical dilemmas in the Anthropocene. 

The Coming Silence developed as a work-in-progress in 2020 through Kloetzel’s work with dance majors at the University of Calgary; it is currently in development with the company for an evening-length exhibit.

The Gene Sharp Legacy Project

Gene Sharp Legacy Project

The Gene Sharp Legacy Project

The Gene Sharp Legacy Project is part research project, part training, part temporal collision. Delving into the research by historian Gene Sharp on non-violent protest, this project by Melanie Kloetzel (kloetzel&co.) considers what past bodies can teach present and future bodies who move beyond despair or feigned ignorance and take to the streets in protest.

Premiere presented by ReLoCate, The Experiment #4 series. The work has toured to Vancouver’s Left of Main as part of Left of PuSh (co-produced by plastic orchid factory), to Edmonton’s Spazio Performativo (with co-production by Mile Zero Dance), and to Calgary’s Doolittle Studio Theatre, all with support from the Canada Council for the Arts.

The Fairy Queen

The Fairy Queen

The Fairy Queen

Henry Purcell’s semi-opera, The Fairy Queen, was written for a caste system, where the landed gentry wanted, nay demanded, entertainment to fill their hours. So, how can such blithe baroque fare be relevant at this juncture? 

In 2020, three co-directors, Melanie Kloetzel, Peter Balkwill and Laura Hynes came together to engage in a research project to restructure The Fairy Queen for the contemporary period. Performed by students at the University of Calgary, this new version of The Fairy Queen also offered a vision of utopia (dystopia), but one predicated on the ideals of both consumption and the creation of waste that is ingrained in capitalist society today. Through a rewritten libretto, restructured musical arrangements and tongue-in-cheek choreography, The Fairy Queen examined the behaviours that support our inequitable system.

February 2020 at the University Theatre.

It began with watching

It began with watching

It began with watching

It began with watching, a dance theatre work by kloetzel&co., explores the transformation of democracy as ‘alternative facts’ and outlandish acts populate the political landscape. A droplet of intelligence here, a hint of a shadowy figure, and we are all marionettes, putty in the puppet master’s hands.

Commissioned by CrossCurrents 2016, a showcase version of It began with watchingpremiered at Pumphouse Theatres in February 2016. After residencies at the University of Calgary and the DJD Dance Centre funded by the Canada Council for the Arts and the Alberta Foundation for the Arts, the work grew into an evening-length site-based work and a 35-minute theatre work. The theatre version premiered at the 2017 Fluid Movement Arts Festival. It then toured to the Brian Webb Dance Company series in Edmonton in September 2018 and to New Horizons Dance in Regina in May 2019. The work is currently being used as a basis for a documentary film, MEN, due for release in 2020.

It began with watching also exists as a site-adaptive work for boardrooms and government spaces.

Fluid Festival and Pumphouse Theatres, Calgary, AB

2016-2019

Faust, The Anatomy of a Disease

Faust, The Anatomy of a Disease

Faust, The Anatomy of a Disease

In 2019, kloetzel&co. began examining the character of Faust as a cautionary icon for present times. The work unsettles a classic tale via contemporary performance modalities by employing a heavily adapted/devised text based on Johann von Goethe’s Faust (Parts I and II).  Building on the metaphor of waste as an inevitable byproduct of our current economic, cultural, and political systems, Faust, The Anatomy of a Disease pointedly highlights incessant production as a malady that may have devastating and irreversible consequences for human existence.

Part I of Faust, The Anatomy of a Disease premiered as part of the Professional Series at the University of Calgary with performers Jocelyn H. Leiver and Melanie Kloetzel. 

Wa(i)ste(d)

Wa(i)ste(d) - photo by Citrus Photo

Wa(i)ste(d)

Wa(i)ste(d) offers an examination of the human obsession with production as well as the consequences of such an obsession. Employing the tale of Faust, as developed by Johann von Goethe, Wa(i)ste(d) scrutinizes our incessant drive toward growth through a layered and extravagant approach, littering the stage with exaggerated characters, a highly athletic Greek chorus, historic film projections, excessive consumption, and, naturally, waste products.

The work was developed as part of the Mainstage Dance series at the University of Calgary by guest artist Melanie Kloetzel in collaboration with students at the School of Creative and Performing Arts.

Staging Rooms

Staging Rooms

Staging Rooms

Staging Rooms is a performance that addresses human adaptation in the face of environmental transformation. Through a dance theatre performance that takes place inside constructed ‘rooms’, the work exposes the limits and possibilities in our efforts to adapt to a rapidly changing world.

Diving into a sited practice and bringing it to the stage space, Staging Rooms developed during a workshop process where participants created solos for themselves that engaged with one individual’s viewpoint on the issue of climate change. They also built portable ‘rooms’, based on a template developed by Scottish visual artist Fergus Dunnet, in which they perform their individual solos. In creating the solos, participants discovered methods to merge issues of art and sustainability, developing a knowledge base and a sense of empowerment in the face of the seemingly overwhelming challenges of climate change.

The work premiered in 2016 at the Professional Series at the University of Calgary.

Big Head, Small Neck

Big Head, Small Neck

Through a residency at The Work Room in Glasgow, kloetzel&co. in collaboration with UK writer/visual artist Rose Ruane began work in 2015 on Big Head/Small Neck, a work that explores the medical and social manipulations of gendered and transgendered bodies in the past two centuries. Based on portrayals of the ‘hysteric’ female body at the infamous 19th century Salpetrière Psychiatric Hospital as well as images of transgendered bodies from Magnus Hirschfeld’s Institute of Sexuality, Big Head, Small Neck was commissioned as a stage work for MainStage Dance 2016 at the University of Calgary and as a site-based work for the 2016 Trans Trans exhibit at the Nickle Galleries. The exhibit and performance were a component of the Gender and Sexual Security Symposium that was part of the 2016 Canadian Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences held at the University of Calgary.

 

TESTament

TESTament - photo by Kristian Jones Photography

TESTament

TESTament is a collaboration between Melanie Kloetzel and Deanne Walsh commissioned for ReLoCate’s The Experiment series. TESTament mashes together irreverent kitsch and physical prowess in a hilarious reading of Pussy Riot, nursery rhymes, and the Hail Mary. The work premiered at Festival Hall in Calgary and was restaged for Split Screen an evening of work by kloetzel&co. and Michele Moss for the Professional Series 2014.

Pilgrimage

Pilgrimage

Pilgrimage

Drawing from Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales as well as from the contentious strains of Bela Bartók’s Sonata for Piano, Sz. 80 (88), Pilgrimage offers a world of bizarre characterization and contentious relationships. CrossCurrents dance productions commissioned Melanie Kloetzel as a guest artist to create the group work for performances at the Pumphouse Theatres in Calgary. After the Pumphouse premiere, Pilgrimage was also presented by the Professional Series at the University of Calgary as part of Split Screen, an evening of works by kloetzel&co. and Michele Moss.