Versus uses dance to explore never-ending conflicts, and yet its creation aligned the two women that imagined it: British filmmaker Fiona Jane Burgess and German choreographer Franka Marlene Foth. The film documents two female dancers moving through the external corridors and open courtyards of the Hofgarten estate in Berlin, a modernist concrete masterpiece. Burgess writes, ‘myself and Marlene wanted to create a world whereby the performers connect and react to the architecture surrounding it, what was important was how the two dancers engaged with (and interrupted) the space.’ The choreography is concerned with the process of everyday life as a woman, a dancer, and a creative. It is at times very impulsive and powerful, and at times very sloppy and slow. Sexy and ugly. Heavy and light. Strong and soft. It’s about trying to find balance and synchronicity.
Electronic composer Frank Bretschneider provides a futuristic soundtrack that exploits these same pushes and pulls through reverses, glitches and ambient sounds. And through the bare concrete environment New York based cinematographer Htat Lin Htut moves to capture the dancers bodies as they divide and collide, obscure and reveal, clad in a muted palette styled by Elizabeth Fraser-Bell, senior fashion editor at Dazed.
‘As we [Burgess and Marlene] talked, I could identify with her internal conflicts and felt very connected and invested in the choreography. I am a mother, a singer, a sister, a filmmaker, a daughter, a wife, a daughter-in-law, a performer. I’m lots of things. And sometimes I’m more one thing than another. And sometimes I wish I was more one than the other.’ Burgess
‘The choreography came from my constant attempts to find balance in my daily life. Motivation vs. laziness, being creative vs. feeling uninspired, time for myself vs. time for my relationship, being satisfied by my own way of doing things vs. expectations of others, sex/sexuality vs. lack of energy and feeling physically exhausted. I think trying to find balance is a very interesting process that never really ends. The choreography also doesn’t have an end. The movement doesn’t stop. It’s left open.’ Marlene