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


No one can walk into fire without an intermediary:
- except for the salamander that hides in it -
you need the water from the bath to enjoy the goodness of fire.

In the Masnavi, by Molana Djalaluddin Balkhi (Rumi), own translation.


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.



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.


Go hit your drum:
the soul has gone on a journey
and the body is standing, to celebrate its return.

In the Masnavi, by Molana Djalaluddin Balkhi (Rumi), own translation.


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

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.


Body Painting

Amid this striking white field of action, the only pronounced colors will be the ones used by a visual artist who will create original body paintings for each dancer and each performance.

Body painting has been used in rituals and ceremonies since the dawn of humanity. Drawing directly on the performative body holds a natural existential quality, which heightens both the individual and the community of performers, while allowing to blend the immediate presence of the dancers with the transcendent qualities which emanate from their dance.

Emanuel Gat Dance began working with body painting during its collaboration with artist Yifat Gat at Montpellier Dance Festival in 2017, where they presented a series of five site specific DUOS. This initial work will be further elaborated and developed with a new artist as part of STORY WATER, adding a layer of visual content derived from the abstract painting and drawing and injected into the choreographic and musical environments of STORY WATER.

  © Sketches by Thomas Bradley

© 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 serie 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.


Grace descends, but the human body is a screen against its light

if not for the screen of the body,

you, like Moses, would welcome light within yourself

Water, that is bursting with grace, is the art that carries it into you.

In the Masnavi, by Molana Djalaluddin Balkhi (Rumi), own translation


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.



A work by Emanuel Gat

Music: Derive 2 by Pierre Boulez, Fury II by Rebecca Saunders, under the direction of Franck Ollu, FolkDance by Emanuel Gat (created in collaboration with, and performed by the musicians of the Ensemble Modern).

Choreography, stage and lights: Emanuel Gat
Costumes: Thomas Bradley

Choreography created in collaboration with and performed by: Arnaud Bacharach, Thomas Bradley, Robert Bridger, Peter Juhasz, Zoé Lecorgne, Michael Löhr, Emma Mouton, Eddie Oroyan, Karolina Szymura, Milena Twiehaus, Sara Wilhelmsson, TingAn Ying.

Production: Emanuel Gat Dance, Ensemble Modern.
Coproduction Emanuel Gat Dance : Théâtre National de Chaillot (Paris), deSingel - International Arts Campus (Antwerp), Festival d’Avignon, Pôle Arts de la Scène (Marseille), (others TBC)
With the help of BNP Paribas Foundation.
Coproduction Ensemble Modern: Beethoven Fest, Künstlerhaus Mousonturm (credits TBC)