dark landscapes is a ballet for sixteen dancers commissioned by the Ballet of Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb for the 2016/2017 season and the 2017/2018 repertoire. It premiered on November 11, 2016. The score was composed originally for this work by a multimedia artist Thomas Köner.
dark landscapes is a choreographic poem about traces, intuitive structures, and imagined spaces. The choreography is organized as a collective field of thinking, moving, and sensing through ballet vocabulary. Thematically, it projects itself toward fragments of the future, toward something which is hardly graspable, utopian and dystopian, where amplitudes of form are able to replenish themselves by passing through time and sound. What eventually emerges is confidence in the upcoming undefined: interpretively open undefined, still under construction. In other words, there is a possibility to trust through movement, formulate through its edges, and create a collective place of thinking, being, and imagining. Choreographically, the body shifts, and recognizes as well as creates a multitude of landscapes: objects of various volumes, spaces as objects or structures, time as a facilitator or an absence, but also: thoughts as objects or absences, emotions as volumes, forms as objects-in-time or as knowledge-in-time, traces of kinesthetic thoughts, and much more. This ballet, therefore, wants to structure such possibilities while articulating, in several frames or reliefs, a landscape of some kind of somber, formal, and transformative reach. It aims to imagine ballet as a vast landscape of traces, as a place of possibility with many yet-to-be-invented relations.
“I approached the development of music for dark landscapes in a multilayered way, to enhance responses and choices that are supported by the polyphonic sound. This approach is reflected in the structural process of the music, envisioned as a dense and energetic flow, that enhances the multidimensional expression of the choreographic work. Marjana and I shared a somewhat futuristic and sharp vision of the score, where everything is in a state of becoming. The music for this piece has an inside and an outside. On the outside, there is a sonic narration, a pulsating musical experience that is enjoyable to listen to. On the inside, it’s composed of a variety of sonic objects that move, appear, spin, and transform, that appear and disappear on stage. Each sonic object illuminates the range of its sound-colors: precise shapes that liquefy, sonorous bass lines that become dusty scrub, the whoosh of gases that freeze and shine.” Thomas Köner, Kyoto, November 2016.
“Dancers are a moving plasticity, a sign, a pulse, an imprint, and a footprint while constantly spatially transforming. During carefully organized improvisation they are moving or standing, in a code of classical ballet and clear abstract language of body positions, lines, and figures; they are sliding, changing positions with the flow of time, or are being moved through space like figurines. Marjana Krajač distilled from dancers concentrated and intense listening of their own place in the image and in the polyphonic resonance of a shift, that is quietly and continuously emerging from within the universe of a scene” (Maja Đurinović, Plesnascena.hr).
“Marjana Krajač has created a contemporary dance work that could equally be read as a possible dystopian romantic ballet. The refined technique of maximum clarity in the performances of dancers like Asuka Maruo, Iva Vitić-Gameiro, Cristiana Rotolo, or Duilio Ingraffia, for example, adds to the indisputable legibility of movement, unhidden touches of corporeality, soft gazes, hand gestures stretching out to something, to someone. All this creates a subtle narrative of melancholy flâneurs, meditative wanderers, silhouettes of passengers surrounded by tense haze in romantic paintings. The dancers are given a chance to freely delve into an infinite archive of codified steps, turns, jumps, supports, or poses” (Katja Šimunić, Journal for Dance Kretanja/Movements).