State College will have the opportunity to witness a merging of movement, spoken word and music when the TanzTheater performs its latest effort, “For the hills cannot hold back our sorrows forever...,” at The State Theatre. Presented by the troupe’s artistic director, André Koslowski, this lively and provocative production examines the dark undercurrent of emotions that lies beneath the relationships we share with those closest to us.
“I was looking at the darker sides of life, the games we play with each other and the power struggles, and how we deal with all of them,” Koslowski said. “I am interested in how human beings are able to sustain all of this, and I want to discover how and when it all begins to fall apart or become unsustainable. I find it important to let people know that they are not alone in having these experiences, that’s a very important element to this show.”
Featuring the talents of TanzTheater’s renowned roster of performers, which includes Pittsburgh natives Denise Azzari and Ira Cambric, the creative process for Koslowski remains ongoing. It’s this constant approach of tweaking and reworking the material that not only fulfills his own personal artistic forms of expression, but also ensures that audiences are able to be immersed in an art form that is truly like nothing they have ever seen before.
“I’m still trying to figure some things out and have been making a few changes to the ending with additional edits throughout the piece,” Koslowski said. “I’m working with some new and old castmates, and I have been adjusting the show to fit the natural talent of the performers. The piece is pretty challenging and it’s rather complex in terms of the movement as well as for the characters and their emotional journeys. The performers have to make it new and real every time they set foot on stage, which isn’t really something that they are used to doing. This can sometimes be draining, so we approach each dance and performance a little different.”
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This technique gives the dancers the chance to take creative leaps that other art forms rarely allow. Koslowski takes great pride in ensuring that each performance remains unique and fresh not only for his dancers, but for audience members as well.
“There is great freedom in dance because there is no script that we need to stick to like there is in traditional theater and in plays,” Koslowski said. “It’s easier to lie with words, but the body and its movements cannot do that. You read the script to a play over and over again, revisit a beautiful painting, or re-listen to a song many times, but with dance, once the performance is finished, what you are left with are your own reflections and feelings about it. You cannot go back to it, because it’s already been told and shared.
“I want the audience to be able to finish it or even make it their own. It makes them a part of the production, and I think this is very empowering for an audience.”
While Koslowski does acknowledge that current events across the globe have some influence on “For the hills,” he maintains that this production is more personal than anything else. It tackles his own evolution over the past couple years and highlights the peaks and valleys that he has found himself in.
“You always respond to the current moment in time, but that doesn’t mean everything is a political statement, this show is something that is more personal,” Koslowski said. “I just found that this material was the best way for me to express my current emotional state, but that is something that is always ongoing. I’m a different person now than I was six years ago, and I needed to figure out just exactly how different I am and what that means. What kind of changes does this require from me and my work? These questions are also why I’m still changing things in this show even now.”
Having grown up in Germany and received his training as an actor and dancer in Europe, Koslowski is excited to be sharing his cultural cornucopia with central Pennsylvania. “For the hills” offers a show that is rarely seen outside of New York City, and the fact that audience members can pay whatever they like for a ticket, makes seeing Koslowski’s latest show all the more essential.
“With dancers coming everywhere from Pittsburgh, (Washington), D.C., and New York City, this show is much more than just another local production,” he said. “Theater is one of the few places where we can all be present together as a community. The work is being done by the performers and the audience will give us a moment to reflect on something together, and I think there is something hopeful in that — maybe something that is even comforting.”
IF YOU GO
- What: TanzTheater André Koslowski’s “For the hills cannot hold back our sorrow forever...”
- When: 8 p.m. Thursday and Sept. 8
- Where: The State Theatre, 130 W. College Ave., State College
- Info: 272-0606, thestatetheatre.org/tanz-theater-andre-koslowski-presents-for-the-hills-cannot-hold-back-our-sorrow-forever/