No one needs you
A punching bag reaps blows and kicks – a relatively gentle introduction to a piece that pushes boundaries. „Wipe away your mother’s vomit.“ „No one needs you, no one wants you, so just shut up!“ Shocking words, moving words from the dance-theatre piece „Hammer Times – Who We Really Are,“ performed at Tanzhaus NRW in Düsseldorf. It’s not a conventional piece performed by trained professional dancers; it’s a piece performed by 25 dance-enthusiastic teenagers, most of whom attend secondary schools in Düsseldorf. The piece is part of the „Take Off“ project, which aims to engage young people in dance. It targets youth centers and schools to give young people without the financial means to attend expensive dance classes the opportunity to ignite and live out their passion.
„Hammer Times“ is a piece about cruel fates, violence, and youth crime. Choreographer Guido Markowitz leads the project, devising the piece’s „storyline“ and working intensively with the students. „At first, I rehearsed a fixed scene from the piece with the students so they could get to know each other, get to know me, and begin to trust,“ says Guido Markowitz. „Then they had the opportunity to talk about their experiences with violence. They didn’t have to report about themselves but could also talk about friends or imagine events,“ Markowitz adds. The students confided in him with terrible and painful experiences, which he then incorporated into the piece.
The young people worked with discipline, and it paid off! The young dancers put on a fantastic piece that thrilled many spectators. A documentary film by Ute Hilgefort about the creation of the piece and the youths‘ process will soon be released. Regarding the piece’s central message, Markowitz says, „It’s a piece about violence and, above all, about violence among young people. A topic that is widely discussed. But violence has always existed. Every generation experiences different forms of violence. And, importantly: Youth crime has decreased in recent years. So, we have good reason to hope for further improvement.“
„Youth crime decreased!“ The headline is projected large on a screen as young people dance exuberantly and happily on stage. Then: thunderous applause, young people with roots from 14 different nations hold hands and bow their radiant faces to the ground to express their gratitude to the audience.
„Hammer Times“ – a piece that not only excites and moves the audience but also gives self-confidence to young people with harrowing stories and poor social conditions while shifting boundaries. A piece where underestimated, insulted, ridiculed, or pitied teenagers show what they’re capable of!
Music: Lauter Leben
Choreography, Artistic Direction: Guido Markowitz
Co-Choreography Assistance: Damian Gmuer
Video Installation: Uli Sigg
Set Design, Costumes: Sarah Büchel
A production of Tanzhaus NRW as part of „Chance Dance,“ supported by the Rotary Clubs Düsseldorf-Pempelfort, Düsseldorf-Schlossturm, Düsseldorf, and Düsseldorf-Süd, as well as „Take-off: Junger Tanz. Tanzplan Düsseldorf,“ funded by Tanzplan Deutschland, an initiative of the Federal Cultural Foundation, and the state capital Düsseldorf, the Prime Minister of the state of NRW, and the Kunststiftung NRW.