To show pop culture in charmingly bizarre ruins – that's all we seek to do. "Now I have an artwork. Ho. Ho. Ho.”
ChoreoCo by Footnote is a short-term company created especially for Fringe. Once a year Footnote selects dancers from the renowned two week intensive Choreolab to develop a new dance work with established choreographers. In 2018, ChoreoCo performs Die Hard Rock Cafe Müller – a brand new work from Berlin-based New Zealander Joshua Rutter and ex-Wellingtonian Kristian Larsen.
Die Hard Rock Cafe Müller combines elements of three well known pop culture/arts icons: the film Die Hard, the diner Hard Rock Cafe, and Pina Bausch's seminal dance work Café Müller. These things will each structure different aspects of the work: Die Hard provides characters and movement language, Hard Rock Cafe provides setting and architecture, and Café Müller provides an overall dramaturgical structure and compositional sensibility.
These works intuitively mesh as exciting candidates for hybridisation. The intention is to gleefully smoosh together three worlds. We want to pull them apart and inflict them on one another in the setting of the Hard Rock Cafe, an appropriately desolate setting with its kitsch cultural memorabilia, trans-national provenance and utter lack of credibility as a culturally-significant entity. In this diffident realm we intend to blend the sinister, bland and beautiful into a reverent choreography. Make a work of derelict nostalgia.
Given that Die Hard and Café Müller both represent turning points in their respective genres: Hollywood action films and modern/contemporary dance, both created moulds that were subsequently followed by many others. Both are, structurally speaking, masterworks, and occurred within a decade of each other albeit in rather different contexts. Die Hard’s major contribution to the field was the casting of a reluctant, schlubby ‘everyman’ (Bruce Willis) in the role of action hero. Café Müller explicitly staged the neurotic, obsessive inner workings of the post-WWII bourgeoisie German psyche, the damaged interactions of a generation blighted by deferred horror.
What if Bruce Willis played Pina Bausch? What if Café Müller was set in a generic Hard Rock Cafe? Would there be glass on the floor instead of chairs? Autographed guitars on walls – lost sad characters ignoring shootouts – bloodied feet and guns as characters repeat endless loops – slow motion villains falling into a Christmas abyss of heroism and despair.
The Creative Team
New Zealand based artist Kristian Larsen is a choreographer and multidisciplinary performance maker. A graduate of three of New Zealand’s key dance institutions (UNITEC-PAS, The New Zealand School of Dance, and the University of Auckland), Larsen holds a Masters Degree in Creative and Performing Arts. Larsen has worked extensively as a performer and collaborator with and for internationally renowned artists including Jerome Bel (France), Ko Nakajima (Japan), Hans Van Den Broeck (Belgium), Min Tanaka (Japan), Magpie Music Dance Company (Netherlands). Paul Pinson (Scotland), and istheatere (Australia), he has also had film collaborations shown in the UK and Iceland. In New Zealand Larsen has worked with many of New Zealand’s choreographic alumni as well as pursued his own projects including interdisciplinary improvisation ensemble, Shameless Crowd Pleaser with composer musician Drew MacMillan and initiated the highly successful Bangers n'Mash improvisation series in Auckland. Larsen works extensively with improvisation as a choreographic ‘major’, is a big fan of obscure martial arts, high fat diets, minimalism, hand held synthesizers and his electric bike. This project is the fourth or possibly fifth collaboration with Joshua Rutter, and third project with Footnote.
Joshua Rutter is a NZ artist living in Berlin, Germany. With experience and training in dance, circus, theatre, electronic music and contemporary art, his work has explored choreographic possibilities found in the internet, objects, subcultures and masculine identities. His current artistic interests are situations and physical systems. He has worked with a number of NZ and international artists over the last 20 years, and in 2016 completed his Masters studies in Solo/Dance/Authorship at the Berlin university of the arts. He has performed his own work in Germany, Sweden, Romania and New Zealand. His work Tomorrow After All was one half of Footnote's 2016 season Transfer. Some recent examples of work can be found at: joshuarutter.com
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