Pictures by: Neven Petrović



5 Performers, 1 Technician

Stage: 10 m x 10 m

Duration: ca. 0:50 h


The premiere, planned for the end of March 2020, had to be postponed to 20 November due to the first Corona lockdown.


A collaboration with Zagreb Dance Center (ZPC) and Staatstheater Darmstadt.  


Funded by the Doppelpass Fund of the German Federal Culture Foundation (Kulturstiftung des Bundes), the Ministry of Culture and Science of North Rhine-Westphalia, the Federal City of Bonn, RheinEnergieStiftung.


By and with: Fa-Hsuan Chen, Martina De Dominicis, Álvaro Esteban, Marin Lemić, Eleonora Vrdoljak and also research: Werner Nigg • Choreography: Rafaële Giovanola • Composition: Jörg Ritzenhoff  • Light design: Jasper Diekamp • Space, light concept: Marino Frankola • Costumes:

Petra Dančević • Costume assistant: Božica Tunjić • Video, pictures: Neven Petrović •  Dramaturgy: Rainald Endrass • Production management: Daniela Ebert, Lena Peters • Company management, touring: Mechtild Tellmann and GROUNDWORKERS



They pull the rug from under our feet, cause discomfort, alienation, if not even disgust. Anthropomorphic beings, artifacts, hermaphroditic creatures of ensouled and unsouled, both human organism and machine - intimate and human and, at the same time, as a dead object that seems radically strange. Opposite to her, our own body suddenly appears to us just as alien and constructed.

BODY SHOTS investigates the narrow boundary of perception between these artificial beings and us and designs an almost human-like substitute body. What remains is a vision of human existence and the question what our human being is all about.

With BODY SHOTS, CocoonDance continues its production series of deconstructing bodies such as VIS MOTRIX and the search for the "unthought" body.




The Beauty of the Non-Human [Heading] - The choreographer Rafaële Giovanola and the dramaturg Rainald Endraß have created an aesthetic and at times disturbing performance. Five dancers (Fa-Hsuan Chen, Martina De Dominicis, Álvaro Esteban López, Eleonora Vrdoljak, Marin Lemić), wrapped in white clothes that resemble protective suits (Petra Dančević), move around on a white stage, covered by a canopy of the same size (Marino Frankola) and change  their body postures slowly in measured movements under a dramatic lighting (Marino Frankola).

Apart from the fact that this is an extremely interesting performance (dance, music and lighting), "Body Shots" has a meditative effect and evokes questions (almost philosophical) about the form and nature of being human as well as fundamental questions about humanity and the technical interchangeability of humans (robots).

The effects on the audience caused by “Body Shots” at the Zagreb Dance Center once again underlined the thesis that an online performance cannot replace the pleasure the audience and the performers experience when they are physically together in the same place (closed or open space). (Olga Vujović, Olga's reviews, Accessed: December 14, 2020)


Body Shots is a very impressive production, and although it has been a while since I watched it, it left a somehow touching, calm --in the sense of peaceful and sorrowful impression. The staging is dominated by a kind of slow motion, which, in addition to a staggered movement pattern, gives the dancers a puppet-like character. They form a homogeneous group, a unique species - whether they are still humans (?) or humanoid robots - confused, vulnerable and lost in a sterile white environment, a small, empty universe (confined by a white underground and a white vault), surrendered to their slow, however inexorable extinction.

(...) It seems as if they have been abandoned and completely forgotten in this room. A zone swap, a hinted attempt at moving, an acceleration through pendulum-like movements, and the attempts to touch each other, to get hold of each other and to lean against each other look rather flimsy and clumsy. And that is precisely where this steadily intensifying feeling of sadness derives from. (Maja Đurinović, Access: 14.12.2021:


Even the darkest utopias that we know from the literature are currently being overtaken by reality. In this grotesque context, choreographer Rafaële Giovanola presents the latest work of the CocoonDance company. Body Shots is supposed to be about deconstructing bodies, removing their souls and developing the human as a hybrid between zombie and robot in order to explore their movement patterns. At the theater in the ballroom in Bonn, the stage is set up to present the virtual world premiere. … When the light goes out after about three quarters of an hour, you remain for a moment enthralled in front of the black screen, until a feeling of fatigue occurs. (Michael S. Zerban, O-Ton Magazin, Review of the livestream on 12.03.2021, accessed 12.03.2021)


Bodies in Intermediate Worlds - Bonn’s CocoonDance ensemble presents with "Body Shots” a visionary work at the Theater im Ballsaal [Headline]  - "Body Shots" is not a reflection of the current events, but the variation on a motif that deals with the perception of the human body and a continuation of the prior pieces "Momentum", "Ghost Trio A and B ", "Vis Motrix "and" Hybridity”. So, for good reason one can speak about it as an artistic long-term study. ... The piece demands a lot from the dancers, yet the choreography doesn't intend to overwhelm through virtuosity. In combination with Jörg Ritzenhoff's impressive room-filling music and sound montages, it evokes a melancholic prevailing mood, despite all the coolness of the laboratory atmosphere stage setting. And that renders this visionary work profoundly human again. (Bernhard Hartmann, General-Anzeiger Bonn, March 15, 2021 - physically present at the Theater im Ballsaal during the performance on 12.03.2021)


“Body Shots” lets five humans evolve like strange bodies into the space, under the cold light, they unfold the grace of minimal movements and undertake a tightrope walk between the horror of emptiness and the living breath.

Choreographer Rafaële Giovanola and dramaturge Rainald Endraß vary the black and white contrast of their production as an ambivalent play of shadowless bodies. The eeriness of the scenery transpires out of the whiteness of the space and the bodies’ slightest movements. Fa-Hsuan Chen, Martina De Dominicis,

Álvaro Esteban, Marin Lemic and Eleonora Vrdoljak celebrate a flowing rhythm. As mechanical and machine-like they sometimes appear, the dancers find their fine individual nuances. Apocalypse and utopia may violently collide in this ostensibly clinical body research: Even with the most miserable twitching of muscles and tendons, the bodies reveal their power of expression and their hope for creatureliness. 

The universe may be dark, but the creatures and humans are resisting the emptiness of space through their presence by means of movement and placeless hope of passing through. The bodies draw hidden lines in the elapsing sands of time. We see snapshots of muscle play, flashes of inspiration inside machines, growing and vanishing in outer space. Wherever and whatever that may be. (Christoph Pierschke, Review of the livestream on 12.03..2021, Schnüss, 4/ 2021)


Impressive Dance Performance. Human or Machine? (title)

The spectators experience over 45 minutes (...) an extraordinary performance with a remarkable canon of movement. Extremely measured slow-motion movements and angular android-like movements alternate with unconventional, crawling, rocking, animal and insect-like movements. (...) An excellent body control of Fa-Hsuan Chen, Martina De Dominicis, Álvaro Esteban López, Marin Lemic and Eleonora Vrdoljak, who brilliantly implement the ingenious and fascinating choreography by Rafaële Giovanola. …

CocoonDance always succeeds in questioning what has just been seen. Do you watch and experience a living, soulful human being, a machine or a fusion of human and machine? The featured physicality raises questions about the familiar, the alien, the living, the object / artificial body, about self-perception, self-determination, consciousness, will and programmed functioning. And of the development of incarnation and being human. Exciting and lingering. (Christian Seibt, Neue Presse Hannover, accessed: 15.09.2021)


Fascinating Body Shots (title)  For a starter ... one would have to decide whether the beings who develop in merely 45 minutes a bizarre attraction are actually present-day humans or, so to speak, futuristic extended humans or even aliens? Their gaze, although at times focused on one another or even on the audience, is strangely transfixed and likewise their features. And what they do, after a very short sequence of standing, almost entirely on the floor sitting, lying, and crawling, is so meticulously laid out between natural and highly artificial sequences of movement and a constantly tense body language that the roughly 45 minutes seem like a picture puzzle between human and sort of superhuman or subhuman. ...

As in previous works, such as "Vis Motrix '' or "Momentum" which were guest performances in Darmstadt and Mainz, Cocoon's totally unique dance style was fascinating. This time, the undertow is maybe even a little stronger as well as the admiration for the astonishing technique of the five (dancers) who are in a steady flow and exercising therein minimal, but almost infinitely long balancing acts in the lateral position on only a few support points of the body or with all fours in the air, which gives you abdominal muscle pain by just looking at it. In the changing light under a squared white stage sky, on a squared white dance floor, it goes so far that the bodies seem aligned vertically instead of horizontally, as if they were floating in weightlessness.

You get an idea of what Giovanola and her partner and dramaturge Rainer Endraß mean when they talk about the "unthought body" that invents itself through its dance in front of the audience and, strange as it may seem, affects one very deeply at the same time. (Eva-Maria Magel, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 22.12.2021)


Fascinating borderline crossing - "Body Shots": Bonn’s Cocoon Dance company brings magnificent dance theater to the temple. [Header] - "Body Shots" - which means in German loosely translated “Körpertreffer”, refers to a fatally wounded person whose collapsing nervous system slips from the body. At the same time, the facial expressions fail as an outside reflection of the human inner world: The faces remain expressionless, robotic, machine-like

throughout the whole piece. The discipline of the performers, who keep this up, is admirable.  The feat of strength to keep the body in constant tension, even in small moments of movement - that is one thing. The other thing is a feeling of unease that derives from these human masks. The end, which seems like the burial of a dead by dead persons, is almost unbearable. At this moment, the company crosses the line into despair. This is fascinating, damn

well danced, that's a work of art. The choreographer and her dramaturge Rainer Endraß call it still "unthought bodies". Certain things which can be thought of should only be imagined, so that they will not become a reality.  This wonderful piece of dance theater also teaches us that. (Jens Wehn, Badische Neueste Nachrichten, 14.11.2022)