After an initial stage, during which small-scale productions were created starting July 2022, the "People Power Partnership (PPP)" project, financed by the Creative Europe program, has moved into a new stage. The 104 dancers (selected from 13 European cities), worked together, divided into three different groups, for several weeks, under the guidance of the artistic team of Theater PAN.OPTIKUM, the project leader. The final result of this collective effort was a large-scale performance that premiered on September 9 and 10 at the Old Synagogue Square, right in the heart of Freiburg, Germany. Together with the representatives of all PPP partners, approximately 10,000 spectators, locals and tourists, acclaimed the protagonists of the two performances. Later on, the performance will tour Europe, to be more precise the cities involved in the project’s implementation.
The eight young Romanian dancers, "ambassadors" of the "Radu Stanca" National Theatre of Sibiu, will arrive in Freiburg on September 18, and will be part of the second group of artists who will learn the final choreography of the new large-scale production, which the city of Sibiu will host in June 2024, at the opening of the 31st edition of the Sibiu International Theatre Festival.
Dance, a means of expression
Dance is the universal language that is the basis of this project and that deeply connects, in different ways, the young people involved, being perceived as a language of movement that reaches beyond the individual styles of the participants.
The choreographies and stage ideas of the choreographers, on the one hand, but also participatory creation, on the other hand, represented a real challenge for the young dancers. Diversity and inclusion, promoted by the entire team that participated in the realization of this premiere, reflected the two basic principles of Theater PAN.OPTIKUM: breaking existing patterns and creating a space for reflection on the current themes of our society. What happens when we humans create a different world for ourselves? Will there be a better one? Or maybe a freer one? But better and freer for whom? Can we still decide for ourselves? Do we choose our own bubble or are we assigned to a particular bubble through cookies and other virtual monitoring methods?
The scenography concept of the PPP has mirrors as its main theme. In the recent production, these objects combine with a real analog mirror, suspended above the stage, achieving a different perspective through reflection. In addition, the video projections come to influence the visual perception of the audience, who can decide on the perspective from which they want to watch the show. The content of the artistic act is related to the mirroring of one's own virtual spaces, desires or visions of a parallel digital world - the metaverse.
Here is how this whole approach is reflected in the words of one of the young dancers: "The fact that I have a moving image under my feet is already something unusual, and the interaction with it and the fact that I am physically influenced by the visual elements around me puts even more pressure on me. Over the course of various scenes, the projection develops, transforms, and creates various worlds. It shapes the laws of gravity and the environment I move in. I feel safe, standing on an island with stable ground beneath my feet. But immediately afterwards, I'm blown up as the island sinks. As I drop into space and float, I can cling to objects that pass me by. But where will they lead me? What will happen next? Even if I am perfectly familiar with the red thread of the performance, this constant dialogue with the images around me gives me a sense of uncertainty. I react to everything that happens to me and everything that tries to shape my intention of moving. It is a natural response to outside influences that I cannot control. There is no escape and I am fully involved."
In parallel with the program of the artistic team, in another space of symbolic value for the project, at the Lockhalle (a former disused hall, where the German company headed by Matthias Rettner, the manager of PPP, has its headquarters), an "Audience Development / Development of the public" workshop took place, with the participation of all the representatives of the partner organizations within the PPP project, under the coordination of two professors from the University of Freiburg, the associated partner of the project. The four hours spent together provided the ideal framework for a more in-depth knowledge of the particularities, objectives, but also of the common interests of the partner institutions, in view of developing other projects in the future.

The project partners are: Aktionstheatre PAN.OPTIKUM, Freiburg (DEU); Teaterforeningen for Helsingor Kommune // PASSAGE Festival (DNK); the "Radu Stanca" National Theatre of Sibiu // FITS (ROU); Varazdin Tourist Board (HRV); Menu Fabrikas in Vilnius & Alytaus miesto teatras in Alytus (LTU); Foundation INITIUM, Riga (LVA); Bito Produccions in Girona // Temporada Alta (ESP); Municipio de Loule (PRT); Camara Municipal de Lisboa, (PRT); Magna Vitae, Lincolnshire (UK); Fondazione Via Maestra in Venaria (ITA); The NorrlandsOperan in Umeå, (SWE); University of Education Freiburg (DEU).