‘She dives into this world of powerful sound in an incredibly sensitive way, powerful even in silence. (…). Fragile and stringent at the same time, her dance, between intuition and construction, is powerful, energetic, tender. Yet always somehow fragile. So clever and so touching.‘ Rando Hannemann
Freely translated into English:
Tanz*Hotel Wien, in persona Choregraf Bert Gstettner, accompanies choreographers and performers through a process of creation during his residency, coaching and mentoring programme AAR (Artists At Resort), which lasts several weeks and ends with an exhibition in the rooms of the Tanz*Hotel. The 17th edition of AAR was opened by Elisabeth Schilling with “Sketches on Ligeti”.
Dance and music are almost inseparable. Good, that is hardly surprising. But when a choreographer and dancer asks “how music moves”, “how dance sounds” and how both “free each other”, it makes me curious. If the musical part of these investigations is also by the Austro-Hungarian composer György Ligeti, one of the most important representatives of New Music, I am wide awake. His 18 “Études pour piano” from 1985 to 2001 are characterised by complex rhythmic structures that “create the illusion of different, simultaneously running layers of speed”.
In years of research, Elisabeth Schilling explored this music, which she first heard in 2011. Ligeti was also inspired by the polyrhythmic music of the peoples south of the Sahara. However, he weaved his etudes into vertical and horizontal, i.e. harmonically and rhythmically extremely complex textures. Elisabeth Schilling selected six of these pieces, each only a few minutes long, to present the first results of her work with this music in a solo.
All in black, she appears on the empty stage. The violence of the first recorded etude carries her (and me) away. Her movements are angular to chaotic piano music. When this music, comparatively softer, her arms also flow more gently. She breathes audibly in the silence before the next piece, whose character she anticipates for a few seconds with her dance. Dance and music seem symbiotically connected, organic and harmonious. In the further pieces she illustrates the music physically, it reminds me briefly of the aesthetics of an Oskar Schlemmer. Or she dives into this world of powerful sound in an incredibly sensitive way, powerful even in silence. From expressionism of the 1920s to free jazz, she quotes. The fact that she is also classically trained lets her sound out very briefly. When the music seems to disintegrate into shards, it dissolves, rears up trembling for a moment. Fragile and stringent at the same time, her dance, between intuition and construction, is powerful, energetic, tender. Yet always somehow fragile. So clever and so touching.
Based on these “Sketches for Ligeti” Elisabeth Schilling is currently choreographing her new piece “Hear Eyes Move. Dances with Ligeti” for five dancers and live piano.
Elisabeth Schilling with “Sketches for Ligety”, 16 to 18 October 2020 at Tanz*Hotel Wien.
Martina Stapf


‘The first performance was of great beauty: “Mosaikgleiche Augenblicklichkeiten, Skizzen zu Ligeti”. This creation by Elisabeth Schilling (choreographer) and Cathy Krier (pianist), requires a lot of body control and powerful piano skills. Cathy Krier, whose international reputation is well known, played the piano studies of the Hungarian composer György Ligeti magnificently. Music and visuel poetry go hand in hand. Elisabeth Schilling is perfect, her body leaves, her body travels, her body is both space and sublimation. The dancer’s movements are jerky, sometimes violent, the two artists join a state of mind similar to trance. Cathy’s fingers crystallize the music, offering her that vertigo that the interpretation needs. Sometimes her fingers are like automatons, then, in the following second, they take on the grace of a swan. Elisabeth is silent, while her whole body unveils mysteries associated with Ligeti’s music.’

Michel Schroeder, Zeitung zum Letzeburger Vollek

**** The Herald: ‘Playful, spectral and stirringly beautiful.’ Mary Brennan

**** The Scotsman: ‘Schilling’s fascinating moving sculpture helps us see fabric in a whole new light.’ Kelly Apter

‘The performance was extraordinary – unlike anything I’ve seen before.(…) I found it beautiful and intriguing and surprising. How could one performer imbue inanimate material with so much life and meaning? I also found FELT disconcerting, awkward, funny, utterly hypnotic and ultimately unreadable – in the best possible way.’ Tom Jeffreys, writer for FriezeThe IndependentThe Telegraph, ArtReview

‚She has developed a unique art that is open to other disciplines, which she willingly shares with a neophyte audience in unusual places. If we also count the choreographic commissions created for the prestigious Tate Modern (London), it is not surprising to see the rapid evolution of this young choreographer who sees dance as an artistic whole.’ Gregory Cimatti, Le Quotidien

‘Birthing on to the stage before writhing around and growing, Felt takes us through the cycle of life within a single performance. This riveting performance by Elisabeth Schilling is enclosed inside the mysterious black felt; yet it feels like the powerful energy contained within could burst forth at any moment from within the amorphous folds.’

Tabish Khan, Art Critic and Visual Arts Editor

‚Elisabeth Schilling keeps surprising (…). Her dance choreographies are unusual,
explosive and abstract. They play with our perception. Some (audience members)
even spoke of a new art form between choreography and performance, between visual art and dance and material that has come to life.’ Anina Valle Thiele, Tageblatt

‚Elisabeth Schilling’s disobedient creatures: This project can be seen as analogies to the research of Joseph Beuys, who was also interested in the artistic potential of felt, or to Sasha Waltz’s latest creation, Kreatur.’
Marie-Laure Rolland, La Glaneuse

’FELT’, only the title of her new solo act is already program.’
Thierry Hick, Luxembourger Wort

“Absolutely remarkable.” Marie-Laure Rolland, Luxemburger Wort

“Extraordinarily intimate […], fascinatingly multi-layered.” Sonja Sünnen, Trierischer Volksfreund

“Elisabeth Schilling is a poetic dancer and choreographer who creates great spaces full of imagination. ” ARD / Saarländischer Rundfunk

“…the intensity of her performance holds great resonance. “ Rachel Elderkin, The Stage UK