World Premiere at Festival d'Avignon, 2018
Emanuel Gat Dance & Ensemble Modern


“For his first participation at the Avignon Festival, this Israeli choreographer based in France did not choose the easy way. But by asserting the strive towards a dance in which performers are at the centre - and sometimes co-authors - Emanuel Gat stands out in the big leagues. And at the Cour d’Honneur.”

Philippe Noisette, Les Echos


Story Water is an intermediary.

It is warm water, it is bread. It is a garden. It is the story of dancing bodies, of music being played, of color and line, and of the light that hides and shows it all.

It is an intermediary put to work in the service of communities, through reflecting the issues and concerns of the places where they land. It stands witness to meaning beyond the known, and is therefore a transcendent commerce, a currency, an economy of experiences. It is a place of fluid metaphors waiting for new contexts to emerge, so as to reveal new meanings.

The program brings together two unique artistic troupes, the Ensemble Modern from Frankfurt and Emanuel Gat Dance. Both shares a distinct vision regarding contemporary artistic creation. It is the fruit of a dialog between artists, makers and performers who despite working in different languages and domains, share an artistic philosophy regarding the development of inclusive, more horizontal creative environments.

Story Water is built around the notion of treating music and choreography as two distinctly separate entities, engaging in a real time, onstage dialog, rather than a mutual illustration.


“Nailed to their chairs, seized by the purity and modesty of Gat’s dance, the spectators have only one desire: to rush on the stage. We come out smiling, remembering why we so often go to the theatre: to experience those rare and short moments when a joyful meeting takes place as we are united by Art. Gat inscribed his name on the pediment of the greatest choreographers who have played in the Cour d’Honneur.”

Thomas Cepitelli, Theatrorama



A story is like water
you heat for your bath.
It takes messages between the fire
and your skin. It lets them meet,
and it cleans you!

Very few can sit down
in the middle of fire itself
like a salamander or Abraham.
We need intermediaries.

A feeling of fullness comes,
but it takes some bread
to bring it.
Beauty surrounds us,
but we need to be walking
in a garden to know it.

The body itself is a screen
to shield and partially reveal
the light that's blazing
inside your presence.

Water, stories, the body,
all the things we do, are mediums
that hide and show what's hidden.

Study them,
and enjoy this being washed
with a secret we sometimes know,
and then not.

Coleman Barks, The Essential Rumi. San Francisco: HarperCollins, 1994.


The Scores

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Dérive 2 by Pierre Boulez

A work for 11 musicians

Based on a single chord (derived from a musical transliteration of the initials of Paul Sacher's name), Derive 2 is an endless revision in constant expansion, functioning within a completely hermetic musical world.
Everything changes on the surface, but nothing underneath, thus addressing the notions of change and difference as a kind of musical kaleidoscope: continually shape-shifting forms are propelled by an incessant energy in order to retain their form, through a centripetal focus on the single guiding harmony, which can only be escaped when the music stops.

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Fury II by Rebecca Saunders

Concerto for double bass and ensemble

Fury, as in a state of wild passionate anger, rage, a fit. Storm-like, Fury II tackles the choleric through an explosive sonic/acoustic landscape. It is built as a single breath, creating one arc beginning to end, and depicts a single state, or condition. Yet it is not concerned with defining an emotional landscape, but rather with exploring the energetic potential of sound, and how the performers engage physically while producing it. The central instrument is the five strings double-bass, with its low pulsing sounds, its extensive percussive possibilities and the pronounced physicality of the soloist, transporting the music with an obvious intensity of posture and gesture.
Fury II is a carefully organized composition of strong exploding sounds being pulled out of a canvas of silence, or rather the continuing presence of the potential of silence. It is a music which opens spaces, the intermediary spaces which are so needed.


FolkDance by Emanuel Gat & Ensemble Modern

A work for an ensemble of 11 musicians

FolkDance is a new musical creation by Emanuel Gat, devised together with the Musicians of Ensemble Modern Frankfurt especially for this program. This new score has come to life through the joyful juxtaposition of different folk musical traditions, processed through choreographic tools and procedures.
It is an experiment in the transposition of choreographic thinking into the field of live music, or rather, an invitation to the musicians of the Ensemble Modern to step into a choreographic space and mindset, where they are an integral part of the composition process, fully participating in the elaboration of the score they’ll be performing.

 © Sketches by Thomas Bradley

Costume Design

Additional costumes will be created by Thomas Bradley, who is also a dancer with Emanuel Gat Dance and will be performing in STORY WATER. Bradley’s visual arts practice is the foundation of his conceptual designs for STORY WATER. The designs draw on the notion of newfound bodies, faces and objects, all the result of a process initiated through sketches made with black ink and watercolors. Each sketch starts off with a series of symbols, resisting the urge to imbue them with meaning or purpose, merely foreshadowing the final image.

Following this, the symbols are overlapped, enlarged, condensed and/or stretched to generate bodies, faces, objects and situations. Utilizing custom made paper, thin wire structures and body braces, the realization of the garments seeks to house, protect, and exaggerate the body and its potential. Under the garments’ imposition, the dance will happen within new parameters of movement, not as an oppressive force, but rather a construction seeking to keep the mind of the dancers focused on rediscovering their dancing body, and how the garment may assist in this endeavor.


The main choreographic drive behind this new piece is the belief that choreographies are about interactions rather than movements, people rather than compositions, concrete situations rather than ideas and concepts. It examines emerging systems and the way in which they come into being through various processes and interactions between individuals.

The question of how we perceive and process the coexistence of what we SEE and what we HEAR, is at the heart of this program. It is a fundamental question, yet not one to necessarily be answered, but rather a phenomenon to observe and study.

This is the water our stories are made of: STORY WATER is a long deep look into the space in which music and choreography meet, serving as intermediaries and creating a space for people to step into.

A freshly watered garden.


Some images from the making of Story Water during Festival d'Avignon on ARTE Metropolis. 
Click here to see the video





A project by Emanuel Gat Dance and Ensemble Modern for 11 dancers and 13 musicians.

Story Water - A work by Emanuel Gat

Music: Pierre Boulez: « Dérive 2 » for 11 instruments (1988-2006/09)
Rebecca Saunders: « Fury II » concerto for solo double bass and ensemble (2009)
Emanuel Gat/Ensemble Modern: « FolkDance » (2018)

Emanuel Gat Dance
Ensemble Modern

Choreography stage and lights: Emanuel Gat
Conductor: Franck Ollu
Costumes: Thomas Bradley
Light direction: Guillaume Février
Sound director: Norbert Ommer
Live electronics: Felix Dreher

Dancers: Thomas Bradley, Péter Juhász, Zoé Lecorgne, Michael Löhr, Emma Mouton, Eddie Oroyan, Karolina Szymura, Milena Twiehaus, Sara Wilhelmsson, Ting-An Ying.

Musicians: Saar Berger (french horn), Jaan Bossier (clarinet), Paul Cannon (double bass, soloist Fury II), Eva Debonne (harp), David Haller (percussion), Christian Hommel (oboe), Stefan Hussong (accordion), Megumi Kasakawa (viola), Michael M. Kasper (cello), Giorgos Panagiotidis (violin), Rainer Römer (percussion), Johannes Schwarz (bassoon), Ueli Wiget (piano).

Production cast:
Project Manager Ensemble Modern: Edda von Gerlach, Kerstin Adineh
Stage Manager Ensemble Modern: Michael Schmidt : Ernst Neisel
Sound technician Ensemble Modern: Volker Bernhart
Press and public relations Ensemble Modern: Marie-Luise Nimsgern
Global management Ensemble Modern: Christian Fausch
Production Emanuel Gat Dance: Noémie Torz
Press and photography manager Emanuel Gat Dance: Julia Gat
Project advisor Emanuel Gat Dance and French Touring: Mélanie Roger
Company management Emanuel Gat Dance and project developer: Florence Chaudière.
Technical Direction: Guillaume Février
Documentation FolkDance: Joseph Planells


A production by Emanuel Gat Dance, Ensemble Modern and Frankfurt LAB e.V.
Funded by Kulturfonds Frankfurt RheinMain, the City of Frankfurt and Ensemble Modern Board of Patrons e.V., with the help of Transfabrik Fund – Franco-German Fund for Performing Arts.
Emanuel Gat Dance is coproduced by Chaillot – Théâtre National pour la Danse, Festival d'Avignon, deSingel international arts campus, Pôle Arts de la Scène – Friche la Belle de Mai. Funded by BNP Paribas Foundation.
Residency at the FabricA of the Festival d'Avignon. Partnership: Kryolan - Professional Make-Up.
Ensemble Modern is coproduced by Beethovenfest Bonn, Künstlerhaus Mousonturm.

The company Emanuel Gat Dance is supported by the city of Istres, the Ministry of Culture - DRAC Provence Alpes Côte d'Azur, the Sud Provence Alpes Côte d'Azur Region and Conseil Départemental des Bouches du Rhône.  It is also supported by the BNP Paribas Foundation for the development of its projects.
Emanuel Gat is associated artist at Chaillot - Théâtre National de la Danse and the Scène Nationale d’Albi.

Ensemble Modern is funded by the German Federal Cultural Foundation, the City of Frankfurt, the German Ensemble Academy, the Hessen State Ministry for Higher Education, Research and the Arts, and the GVL. The Ensemble Modern musicians thank the Aventis Foundation for financing a chair in their ensemble. hr2-kultur is Ensemble Modern’s cultural affairs partner.