Florentina Holzinger and Vincent Riebeek have been creating performances together for some years, resulting in two duets, Kein Applaus für Scheisse (2010) and Spirit (2012), and a group performance, Wellness (2013). Their paths separated for a short time (they both created a performance on their own), but now they unite again for a new duet: Schönheitsabend.
In Schönheitsabend, Holzinger and Riebeek appropriate early 20th century orientalism, which permeates this performance about power relations, gender roles, violence and sex with madness, ecstasy and explicit eroticism.
For this performance, one point of departure was the 1910 ballet Shéhérazade and the desire of dance couples from the beginning of the 20th century to re-invent dance (and themselves) through exotic fictions. Also the personal life of the famous dancers from the ballet and modern dance tradition, think of (queer) dancing couples as Vaslav Nijinsky and Ida Rubinstein or Ted Shawn and Ruth St. Dénis triggered their imagination.
Schönheitsabend is a show in three parts, as the classic ballet tradition prescribes. The titles of these parts “Tänze des Lasters”, “Tänze des Grauens' & “Tänze der Ekstase” (dances of vice, horror and ecstasy), are inspired by a collection of writings from the infamous dance couple Anita Berber and Sebastian Droste, who, like Vincent and Florentina, had been working on new concepts of beauty and imbued their performances with senses of madness, ecstasy and explicit eroticism. In the three acts of Holzinger and Riebeek’s performance romance, reality and dream succeed each other, looking for a balance.