Rehearsal pictures: Alessandro De Matteis - Video stills: Michael Maurissens



Premiere: 30.10.2021

Ringlokschuppen Ruhr Mülheim (D)


Preview 07.-10.10.2021

Théâtre du Crochetan Monthey (CH)


6 Performer, 1 Technician

Stage: 10 m x 12 m

Duration: ca. 1:00 h


In coproduction with: Théâtre du Crochetan Monthey, Theater im Ballsaal Bonn,

Ringlokschuppen Ruhr Mülheim


Funded by Kunststiftung NRW, Ministerium für Kultur und Wissenschaft des Landes Nordrhein-Westfalen, NRW Landesbüro Freie Darstellende Künste, Bundesstadt Bonn, Pro Helvetia, Theatre-ProVS, Le Conseil de la Culture Etat du Valais, La Loterie Romande.

Supported by  NATIONALES PERFORMANCE NETZ Coproduction Fund for Dance,

funded by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media

and Malévoz Quartier Culturel.



Performance: Cristina Commisso, Álvaro Esteban, Clémentine Herveux, Marin Lemić, Colas Lucot, Susanne Schneider/ Margaux Dorsaz - also research: James Batchelor, Fa-Hsuan Chen, Martina De Dominicis, Silvia Ehnis, Mijin Kim, Manuel Kisters, Frédéric Voeffray • Choreography: Rafaële Giovanola • Dramaturgy: Rainald Endraß • Composition: Franco Mento, Jörg Ritzenhoff • Space, light design: Peter Behle, Boris Kahnert • Costumes: Fa-Hsuan Chen • Workshops Ballroom dancing - Standard: Yulia Lorenz, Paul Lorenz, Randolph Han,

- Forró: Charlotte Brohmeyer, Eduardo Lima • Artistic advice: Mélisende Navarre • Presswork, social media: Lena Busse, Maud Richard, Fabiana Uhart • Production management: Lena Peters, Maxime Rappaz • Management: Mechtild Tellmann, Cologne/ Management Switzerland, Austria, France: GROUNDWORKERS, Vienna




In STANDARD the world is turned upside down. And that even though the standard dance understands how to masterly stage the social order and the self-control of its members. For centuries, the waltz, tango, foxtrot, etc. have claimed to be the ultimate expression of the processes of civilization.

Ballroom dances are reflections of their time, through which body techniques are culturally practiced and exercised. In addition, very different subject concepts are again and again negotiated on the dance floor,  which, in a literal sense, opens up new, revolutionary experimental worlds.

The CocoonDance company deals with ballroom dancing as if it was a completely unknown form of movement. Ballroom dancing, in the form of standard dances, is understood as a comprehensive body concept and  deconstructed and transformed with regard to an independent new type of movement and physicality.

In search of the 'unthought body' CocoonDance explores the contradictions inherent in ballroom dancing, of freedom and control, improvisation and notation, desire and decency. The resulting creatures take us into a world of swaying elegance.




Standard of the CocoonDance company is a superb spectacle...  It happened already that contemporary choreographers have taken an interest in the practices of amateur and ballroom dances like, for example, the tango, while respecting as scrupulously as possible the codes. The Swiss Rafaële Giovanola has undertaken a research project aimed at … completely rethinking the technical vocabulary of the duet by deconstructing it and questioning the concept of the couple, thus trying to create a new type of dancing body. ... Standard, brilliantly performed by Marin Lemic, Colas Lucot, Álvaro Esteban, Clémentine Herveux, Cristina Commisso, Susanne Schneider, offers  unparalleled human postures, astonishing ways of passing through space, extraordinary movement sequences that one tries in vain to put into words or connect with common behaviour. (Nicolas Villodre,, accessed: 10.10.2021)


... very, very worth seeing. (Laura,, accessed October 31, 2021)


Definitely a very interesting and also very consistent evening.(Stefan Keim, Scala / WDR 5 Mosaik / WDR 3, 02.11.2021)


... it was serendipity that the CocoonDance Company premiered in Mülheim a brilliant, astonishing piece of dance theatre entitled "Standard". The six dancers walk for almost 60 minutes in a quadruped position, stretch their buttocks and transform themselves into - yes, into what actually? Strange creatures sneak across the reflective dance floor like predators, gliding, hopping, jumping, making contact, driven by the rhythm of the electronic music. ... This is a hypnotic, hypermodern dance with a repertoire of movements that one has never seen before. Fantastic!

(Bettina Jäger, Britta Helmbold, Klaus Stübler, Ruhrnachrichten - Dortmunder Zeitung, 03.11.2021)


CocoonDance company literally turns the standardized body images upside down in their "Standard" production. ... The reflecting dance floor doubles all movements, imaginary physical distorted images grow out of the hands on the floor, all parts seem to dissolve. Through the lighting design by Peter Behle and Boris Kahnert, individual body fragments sometimes light up, while the vibrating sound carpet by Franco Mento and Jörg Ritzenhoff provides the rhythmic foundation for the deconstructive exploration of the disciplined body figures. (Elisabeth Einecke-Klövekorn, General-Anzeiger Bonn, Nov. 13th, 2021)


“Standard” is the title of this fascinating work by CocoonDance. Yet there is hardly any term that, at first glance, could be less fitting for his raptured world. It relates to ballroom dancing. … Conceived as a pure body concept, the choreographer Rafaële Giovanola has deconstructed its individual parts and transformed them into her own dance form in order to overcome the traditional body images, and has thus arrived in the quadruped: She has created a completely new body, indeed a new being that somewhat resembles Xavier Le Roy’s cephalopod of yore. And she gave it its very own, astonishing vocabulary of movement. … CocoonDance has dedicated itself to aesthetic abstraction with its research of the “unthought body.” A downright philosophical approach. Strong productions have been created so far. The quality of the internationally renowned ensemble around Giovanola and the dramaturge Rainald Endrass has, above all, to do with an intellectual superstructure that is also based on research results. … The three female and three male dancers go through a process, driven by a strongly rhythmic sound collage. In surprising variations and constellations they criss-cross and cross the space, then pausing. Looking through the open legs into the audience. Their repertoire, a mix of ballet, ballroom dancing, contemporary dance and yoga, is impressive. ... This is not at all a model for the dance school. But a great utopia. (Bettina Trouwborst,, accessed: Nov. 14, 2021) 


The finale of “Move!” was primarily dedicated to physicality, to the body perhaps in a dehumanized aesthetic, which is nevertheless so human. How does this work? The CocoonDance company had quite a surprise in store with “Standard”. A piece that actually thematizes the “standard dance”, the social dance, something very human, permeated by conventions, vanities and rules, with several layers of meaning, which it accomplished by reducing the human being to its physique. … Heads down, bare backs turned to the audience, their hand-performed 'dance steps’ emanate something terrifying and fascinating at the same time. Physical beings without a face whose muscle movements convey strength to the audience. Almost a little cautious, waiting, ready to attack, the figures portrayed by the performers are more reminiscent of fauna than of humans. One should leave it open. … Fascinating - definitely. (Christian Oscar Gazsi Laki, Westdeutsche Zeitung, Nov. 15, 2021)


CocoonDance inspires with “Standard” – An impressive evening of the Bonn-based company (subline) - The program of “Standard” was developed from the analysis of ballroom dancing with completely opposite forms and positions of the bodies … from the posture …

in a ballroom dance tournament, for example,  ... galaxies apart.  In the process, the six dancers embark on sequences in which all four extremities constantly touch the ground. … In the movements on hands and feet, there are long, but by no means boring passages in which the spectator looks at the naked backs of the six dancers. The muscle play and the clearly recognizable tendons and bones evoke unexpected emotions in the spectator. Because these back sections awaken to beings of their own which seem to tell the audience something. About their independence, about the constant undulating repetition of the life cycle, about the possibility of turning towards and away. Sometimes they come together in pairs, then three and three and finally all six. They follow the rhythm of the sounds and transport the audience into another world. . . . In Krefeld, Cristina Commisso, Álvaro Esteban, Clémentine Herveux, Marin Lemic, Colas Lucot and Margaux Dorsaz danced fabulously and fascinatingly. (Christina Schulte, Rheinische Post - Krefeld, Nov. 15, 2021)


With amazement one realizes after a while as a viewer that the backs and occiputs which are turned towards the viewer for the most part are perceived as the frontal view of the alien beings who are captivating the audience with an inexplicable magic. One is willing to accept these beings as asexual new inhabitants of our world. ... The performers move sometimes in pas-de-deux, sometimes individually, sometimes in larger formations. On the reflective dance floor of the Ringlokschuppen (theater) wonderful pictures emerge that resemble abstract sculptures. ...

The flawless choreography by Rafaële Giovanola transfers us optically and acoustically into a new, alien world. It makes us curious and awakens the joy of discovery of a biologist. These beings have gained freedom from the rules of human existence, but they don’t lack discipline. And nonetheless in dignity. (Dietmar Zimmermann,, accessed: Dec. 10, 2021)


A physical top performance which takes the attendant spectators’ breath away: for almost an hour, the six female and male CocoonDance dancers dance with their heads down, on all fours, or folded at the waist like a jackknife. They look like a strange mixture of insect and alien, their movements have something animal-like, creature-like, as if a new species has landed on earth.

The entire composition of "Standard" is simply perfect: the hypnotic, monotonous beats (by Franco Mento), a cold, bluish lighting ambience (Boris Kahnert, Peter Behle), the futuristic costume design (Fa-Hsuan Chen), which shows a lot of skin without revealing too much - all these components invite the audience to dive into a fascinating parallel universe where the laws of the human nature appear to be dissolved.

It is hard to believe that at the end of this extraordinary dance piece, the six ensemble members manage to stand up straight again and to re-transform themselves into normal human beings. Rightly, the audience gives the creator of this fantastic ‘science-fiction dance journey’ a long-lasting enthusiastic round of applause and standing ovations.

The Swiss choreographer Rafaële Giovanola has once again surpassed herself - and all without any opulent stage design or exaggerated dramaturgy. As in her previous work "Sphinx", which was awarded the "Faust Theater Prize", she invents new techniques of movement together with the ensemble, shapes alien-like artificial beings out of human bodies and thereby turning the dance world upside down in the most literal sense of the wording. (Natacha Olbrich, Allgemeine Zeitung, Mainz)