"return to sender -
Letters from Tentland"
Only three percent of the world's population are migrants. But the world of the rich has a problem with this minority. Their escape from a settled existence at home towards an uncertain future does not exactly elicit increased hospitality. Inbetween the law and police practice, they flutter like tents in the wind.
Due to their great necessity, Helena Waldmann's pieces are amongst the most important current political works in dance. Following the International Fadjr Theatre Festival in Tehran in 2004, she was the first western choreographer to run a workshop for women from the Islamic Republic. The work 'Letters from Tentland' was born from this fruitful get-together, with the support of the Dramatic Arts Center Tehran and the Goethe-Institut. It premiered a year later, at the Fadjr Festival
2005. The triumphal march of the tents went around the world for one year, and after 43 performances in 17 countries, Helena Waldmann changed the perspective of the piece for the Montpellier Danse Festival 06. The Iranian 'Letters from Tentland' were now overwritten, answered and sent 'Return to Sender' by exiled Iranian women. So statements were transformed into answers by return mail.
The bodies of the female performers disappear in the tents, but you can feel their inner tension. In 'Letters from Tentland', six Iranian actresses capture the audience with their anger, their wishes and dreams, but also their call for tolerance and cultural difference. In 'Return to Sender', six exiled Iranian women succeed in formulating a passionate plea for freedom. In this piece as response, the dance is about the supposed liberties of exile. The women perform in tents which their colleagues form Tehran have left behind, and which both groups use to veil their desires. For the exiled, the tent is a symbol of their unstable lives and also a piece of home which they cannot rid themselves of. They move on the dividing line between the two cultures, and heavily bump into both sides. So the tents whirl around like wind blowing from two directions, they fold and unfold, ripping up like envelopes with letters from exile tumbling out. Locked-up moving messages that speak of home as a puzzle of memories, of imminent deportation, of being inbetween, being different. And between the lines we can read how they fight against fear, how they try not to be controlled by fear.