"The works of the Bonn’s CocoonDance ensemble attract its audience, sidestep, encapsulate themselves and go along: thus, observation alone already becomes a kind of dance. Steps to the right and left, jumps and turns. However, the ensemble leaves plenty of space for their performance – thinking and feeling. Patterns of narration and perception are then the core topics that choreographer Rafaële Giovanola and dramaturge Rainald Endraß explore in their productions in very different, but always highly elaborate ways, using selected dancers and special stage constructions, language, video, music and sound."
(Melanie Suchy, The DANCE PLATFORM Catalogue 2014)
CocoonDance was founded by choreographer Rafaële Giovanola and dramaturge Rainald Endraß in 2000. Swiss-born Giovanola was a soloist in Turin before being brought to the Frankfurt Ballett by William Forsythe for the duration of eight years. After this, she worked with Pavel Mikuláštik’s Choreographisches Theater, with Bonn as the last station. Since 2000, CocoonDance has been producing and performing in the independent Theater im Ballsaal in Bonn; since the season 2004/05 the company also is curating the dance program and is responsible for organization and financing of the theatre.
CocoonDance has established itself as a dance-arts institution with an extensive network not only within the artistic world, but also in the field of cultural education. It is characterized by the efficient and successful interplay of variable components which are:
- a professional company that operates with visiting freelance artists, national and international networks, co-producers, co-operations across the world
- a performance space which has established itself as a center for curated contemporary dance productions with two renowned international festivals and residence programs
- a young dance ensemble sponsored and has gained recognition with the public and political
- professional associations and innovative partnerships with local schools for the delivery of cultural education.
The engine of CocoonDance’s 15 years of artistic development is improvisation and ensemble work, democratic structures and a tremendously constant teamwork. CocoonDance, who has been for years “consistently experimenting with new narrative techniques, artistic methods for contemporary dance“ (Westdeutsche Zeitung) are touring on five continents by now and have been awarded numerous prizes, as well in the field of art education.
The continuous work with media has led the company repeatedly to new provoking questions, working methods and the development of specific aesthetics of movement and dramaturgy. It’s no longer just about the question of whether narratives are still possible, but how a representation (e.g. of the reality or the real body) is still possible at all. Therefore perception is thus a good starting point for a change in the practice of modern dance. The audience does not only participate in a (new) representation of reality, but in its generation. The work of CocoonDance can best be explained as a reflection about the dance and the body itself, as a shift of the dance space away from the narrative space into a space of distance and thinking.