4 Performer, 1 Technician

Space: 10m x 10m

Duration: ca. 0:45 h


Premiere: 02.03.2018 / Bonn


In collaboration with: Théâtre du Crochetan Monthey, Malévoz Quartier Culturel,  Ringlokschuppen Ruhr Mülheim, Theater im Ballsaal Bonn


Funded by: Ministerium für Kultur und Wissenschaft des Landes Nordrhein-Westfalen, Bundesstadt Bonn

and within the frame of the residency programme: Théâtre-ProVS, Le Conseil de la Culture Etat du Valais, La Loterie Romande


With (current line-up): Fa-Hsuan Chen/ Martina De Dominicis/ Tanja Marín Friðjónsdóttir/ Anna Kempin/ Susanne Schneider/ Marie Viennot

By (original line-up): Fa-Hsuan Chen, Martina De Dominicis, Tanja Marín Friðjónsdóttir, Susanne Schneider

Choreography: Rafaële Giovanola

Composition, Sound:  Franco Mento

Light, Space: Gregor Glogowski

Costumes: CocoonDance 

Costume advice: Mathilde Grebot

Pictures: Klaus Fröhlich

Video trailer: Michael Maurissens

Dramaturgy, Concept: Rainald Endraß

Management: Mechtild Tellmann



VIS MOTRIX creates some strange as well as fascinating beings. The dancers seem to come from another world, they move through space and merge into an organism, a mixture of human being and machine, creating a hypnotic power that one can not escape.

What is the driving force, the soul (Vis Motrix) behind the movements of these hybrid beings? CocoonDance continues with this production its research of the “unthought” body: transhumanism as a traumatic round dance that does not leave our unconsciousness untouched.


VIS MOTRIX was invited  to the Tanzplattform Germany in 2020

in Munich and nominated for "Performance of the Year" in the critics’ survey of the professional magazine “tanz 2019 “by  Bettina Trouwborst (Westdeutsche Zeitung): "'Vis motrix' by CocoonDance, Bonn: a work of hypnotic motion intelligence." (Jahrbuch Tanz 2019)




... these bodies here seem like aliens. Alien in the form, alien in the movement, alien in the outfit. They seem to come from another world. Not human, not animal, not machine - and yet something of everything: hybrid beings as they display  through their movements. (...) The dancers, Fa-Hsuan Chen, Martina De Dominicis, Tanja Marin Friđjónsdóttir and Susanne Schneider, are above all the ones who are strengthening the hybrid choreography by Rafaële Giovanola - oscillating between human and animal - through their strong presence. (Klaus Keil, tanzweb.org, 04.03.2018)


For Fa-Hsuan Chen, Martina De Dominicis, Tanja Marin Fridjonsdottir and Susanne Schneider, it must be a tremendous challenge to endure for 45 minutes such an extreme body tension. They master it with bravery. Like insects they are gliding across the floor, turning 180 degrees in a flash, moving their limbs with a sudden jerk, and thereby creating for the spectator something that strangely oscillates between a biological organism and a mechanism. And that is very fascinating. (Bernhard Hartmann, General-Anzeiger Bonn, 05.03.2018)


Fa-Hsuan Chen, Martina De Dominicis, Tanja Marin Friðjónsdóttir and Susanne Schneider are doing this kind of dance very intensively, to sheer perfection, fluently and with an admirable sense of timing! (Jürgen Bieler, Bonner Rundschau, 09.03.2018)


Pure movement can not be visualized, but we can sense its magic as well as its mechanical effect inside every living being. … Rafaële Giovanola offers her audience a view of the female body never seen before. Just for this visual stroke of genius the production deserves attention. … Cocoondance shows how entertaining a production can be which is developed with strict formalism and playing out, with mathematical precision, multiple combinations of four bodies in space. (Thomas Linden, Kölnische Rundschau,  20.03.2018)


They appear like hybrid beings between human, animal and machine. Through the light design of Gregor Glogowski a filigree calligraphy emerges from their bodies and shadows, but signs of it remain indecipherable. The extreme body tension goes to the limits of what is physically possible. The dancers master the challenge brilliantly." (Elisabeth Eincke-Klövekorn, culture No. 145 / March 2018) 


In VIS MOTRIX CocoonDance choreographer Rafaële Giovanola challenges her dancers to a maximum physical performance. Vis means power in Latin. Motrix is the grammatically feminine form of engine. ... Mysterious hybrid beings who move strangely; alien, but by no means threatening. … Fa-Hsuan Chen, Martina De Dominicis, Tanja Marin Fridjonsdottir and Susanne Schneider are accomplishing in VIS MOTRIX an outstanding artistic and physical feat. (Sandra Prüfer, bonnections.de, 13.04.2018)


They never rise on their two legs - except for a short exception, but then they fail on the solid verticalness, crashing and falling like waves. As previously in "Momentum", VIS MOTRIX also pursues the depersonalization, without miming old-fashioned robots. It excavates an unfamiliar, soulless human component from the female dancers and their togetherness, which is meant to be futuristic and has something strangely magical about it: an ageless power." (Melanie Suchy, Stadtrevue Kölnmagazin, 4/2018)


Anyone who has watched the guest performance of the Bonn dance ensemble CocoonDance at the Move Dance Festival at Fabrik Heeder leaves the hall both fascinated and enraptured. Fascinated because you rarely see such movements on the dance stage. Enraptured because the recent production VIS MOTRIX by choreographer Rafaële Giovanola unfolds a hypnotic maelstrom .... . (Bettina Trouwborst, Westdeutsche Zeitung, 12.11.2018)


"Vis motrix" is about the origin of all life, about the "moving force". … With the grace of black spiders, they scurry unpredictably through the space, but still noticeably follow a mysterious inner logic, seem to develop a kind of swarm intelligence or to behave according to the rules mathematical combinatorics of cellular automatons, as used to create artificial intelligence. … The female dancers are fantastic sci-fi superorganisms on the track of the secret of life.” (Nicole Strecker, tanz, 12/2018)


Festival ANTIGEL 2020 in Geneva (CH) 


"Vis Motrix", by Rafaële Giovanola, is a hypnotic specimen. A cybernetic atmosphere makes the show all the more exciting – the gestures and movements of each woman are choreographed, who maintain a certain freedom of movement within a given structure that is constantly being renewed. … It's one thing to worry about the future, but it's another to establish its dystopian fragility. Without a doubt, "Vis Motrix” manages to do both.  (Victor Inisan, I/O Gazette, Paris, n°108 02.02.2020)


The technique, the listening, the beauty, and the power are breathtaking. Everything in this hopeless construction is perfect; the light oscillates and the sound, an electro loop, completes the process of giving shape to the space.

With a depth reminiscent of Myriam Gourfink's research and with a rage dear to Nach, Rafaële Giovanola has embarked on a radical and yet generous quest. The obsession with repetition of gesture and the purity of the choreography, combined with a dose of improvisation and of the dancers’ listening, make Vis Motrix a generous work that injects retinal images into our brains. This movement on four legs is a work of genius. 

(Amelie Blaustein, toutelaculture.com, Paris, 14.02.2020)


Rafaële Giovanola's very mechanical choreography captivates because, far from being indulgent, it tells a story – that of another world on the brink of transhumanism. Obsessed as much by the iteration of the gestures as by the purity of the grammar, she choreographs only what is essential in order to leave plenty of room for improvisation, for the dancers to listen to one another. This is what gives the ensemble a kind of harmony reminiscent of insects living in a colony. (Olivier Frégaville-Gratian d'Amore, L'OEIL D'OLIVIER, Paris, 15.02.2020)




The "Dance Platform Germany" in Munich started impressively. … One was exposed to totally strange optics - increasingly fascinated - in "Vis Motrix" by choreographer Rafaële Giovanola. Her four dancers (CocoonDance/Bonn) are lying on their backs on the floor. Then energetic rib cages arch, knees are bent, elbows are propped up. How these bodies then - comparable to electronic particles - slide across the white surface at different speeds, dynamics and dance-technical complexity is sensational.

(Vesna Mlakar, Münchner Abendzeitung, 07.03.2020)


The absolute highlights of the dance platform are ultimately the pieces that are actually very dance-like and non-linguistic, pieces that are limited to an aesthetic concept and follow this consistently, delicately and with a well-worked dramaturgy. (,..) "Vis Motrix", the work of the CocoonDance company, which was already at the 2028 Dance Platform in Essen with "Momentum", presents a finely crafted and exciting piece. In spider-like movements, the four dancers fight against gravity, always with their backs on the ground. An unreal atmosphere that is gaining constantly increasing more and more intensity. (Peter Sampel, retrieved 09.03.2020, www.tanznetz.de/blog)


In VIS MOTRIX, "the moving power" in Latin, the Cocoon Dance ensemble manages to bring to the stage a piece that merges the boundaries between man and machine with the aid of staccato, mechanically precise movements and mesmerizing music. Driven by the "moving power", the dancers gradually teach themselves to dance. This leads to a consistent tension build-up which manages to capture the audience’s imagination, even without a grand finale. (Tobias Faget, M94.5, THAT WAS THE 2020 DANCE PLATFORM! Retrieved 09.03.2020, from  https://www.m945.de/das-war-die-tanzplattform-2020/)…


At the 2020 Dance Platform Germany, which celebrated its 25th anniversary in Munich, the audience could explore how the art form now deals with the political sphere in which above all the body speaks. The best or most interesting of contemporary dance promulgated loudly and quietly, bluntly and indirectly the world we live in. This year's dance platform has lived up to its reputation as a discovery platform. While established ensembles, such as Gintersdorfer / Klaassen, are self-congratulatory tongue-in-cheek ploughing through the field of cultural appropriation -… - there are many successful new productions that are stingy with distinct proclamations. Even so their topic is decidedly political. ... And what about strictly formal works like "Vis motrix"? In the piece by Bonn's CocoonDance ensemble, four dancers slide in a sustine position on a white squared stage. Their minimalistic, only gradually increasing, alien to ant-like movements offer a glimpse into a frighteningly fascinating post- or transhuman future. For this glimpse, the stupendous dance technique disappears, whose full mastery in turn led to the disappearance of the concrete bodies of the dancers. Gender, skin color and corresponding attributions no longer play a role at this level of abstraction. (Sabine Leucht, taz, die tageszeitung 09.03.2020)