Blending dance and parkour
June Johnson Newcomer Prize
The collective InQdrt combines contemporary dance with parkour. Initiated by the dancer and choreographer Isabelle Spescha, who was born in Graubünden in 1990 and has been working in Aargau for around a decade, InQdrt is a novel, joint enterprise in which “traceurs” (practitioners of the trendy sport of parkour) team up creatively with dancers from contemporary dance theatre. Aarau-based Nurf practises parkour – a sport that involves navigating the public space by jumping and climbing over terrain – on a professional basis and works to professionalise it further, both nationally and internationally. The traceurs and dancers introduced each other to their respective forms of movement in a series of joint workshops. Isabelle Spescha worked closely with Rebecca Frey, a dancer and dramaturge from Bern, to develop the concept. In 2020 the Bühne Aarau theatre venue included InQdrt in its young talents programme First Steps.
2019 saw the creation of “Junge bleib am Boden” for the Tanzfest dance festival in Aarau: a work performed in public in which the traceurs made a guest appearance in front of the railway station with a mobile sculpture they had constructed themselves. The piece was presented at the dance festival in Olten and produced as a dance video the same year. In 2020 InQdrt presented “Weltenraum” in the galleries of the Kunsthaus Baselland. “Wannanders”, which premièred in spring 2022 at the Alte Reithalle in Aarau, is the collective’s first major project to bring the art of parkour to the dance stage. The five parkour runners Damian and Nicolas Roth, Flamur Shabanaj, Shemaiah Siegenthaler and Mikail Tasdelen move around a closed space in naturally flowing movements on metal scaffolding they have built themselves. Meanwhile, Giacomo Mattogno mixes the sounds of the traceurs with electronic beats live on stage to create an audio landscape.
Parkour is all about running, jumping, clambering over obstacles, vaulting over walls and balancing on rails. As the choreographer for Aargau-based collective InQdrt, Isabelle Spescha combines this artistic motion sport with contemporary dance. She and her five-strong male team have created a unique, dynamic language of movement. It’s a direct and playful approach to dance, be it in the public realm or on the stage, as with their current piece “Wannanders”. To the accompaniment of hypnotic sound from the live DJ, they conjure up fascinating imaginary spaces of activity and silence. Exhibiting great technical virtuosity and power, but also humour and sensitivity, they overcome obstacles singly, in twos or as a group. It’s captivating.
Beate Engel, Stanley Thomas Johnson Foundation