Project by: Ziya Azazi & Serge Adam
Concept/Choreography: Ziya Azazi,
Sound/Trumpet/Electronic music: Serge Adam
Dance: Loreta Juodkaite & Ziya Azazi,
Light design: Lutz Deppe,
Costume design: Ischiko
Dramaturgy/Concept Text: Isin Onol

Premiered in 2007, Grenoble, France, Reproduced in 2009, Fes, Morocco and in 2010, Nice, France, Reproduced in Draguignan, France in 2012

As a collective work, consisting of duets and trios, ICONS veers away slightly from Azazi’s previous projects. The experimental, repetitive and progressive approach that is seen in his previous works ‘Azab and Dervish in Progress as well as in his recent work EMBER is maintained in ICONS, where whirling is still the groundwork of the choreography. However, in this piece not only does he go further in his deconstruction of the image of the whirling dervish, but he also invites a partner into the game. The piece does not only concern the individual experience of whirling, but also the possibilities opened up through peer practice of it. In addition to the physical awareness contained within the constant repetition of whirling, it also provides an arena for encounters, exchanges and conflicts with another human being. The involvement of the second body provides possibilities to indicate the dichotomies between the small and the large, the female and the male, the tough and the fragile, the active and the passive in conventional perceptions. However the impact of the skirt confounds the clichés in a playful exchange between gender, size and strength of the bodies.

The skirt has always been a significant component in Azazi’s work. For him, it is neither simply the costume of the dervish nor is it solely an aesthetically complimentary element. It is rather a medium that allows the individual to meet and often transcend conventional boundaries and expectations. During the entire work the skirt continuously changes its form, allowing the ‘icons’ to be repeatedly constructed and deconstructed. Apart from being seen as the usual costume for the whirling dervish, it appears by itself as a giant whirling figure moved by an invisible dancer; it appears as the veil, both for the male and female figures; it appears as the cape of a toreador; it appears as a body to be carried and as a dance partner. It takes the form of a cover to hide under and as an object of playful joy. It is a frontier of battle and then also a net from which to be freed. It is a skin to protect or contain, or to be shed.

ICONS constitutes a series of fractions. Each fraction is built up to become an icon, ultimately ending with its own destruction. These icons are interconnected with each other and reunified through an intangible link. Within these icons, every movement is carried as close to its perfect form as possible causing the performer to perish within it. The idea emerges from within each icon that ultimately our social systems can only evolve towards their own painful demise. As each fulfils it mission, a new “icon” emerges, which is merely a newer version of the preceding one as it changes its form.

A significant aspect of ICONS is Serge Adam’s contribution. He composes his music in correlation with Azazi’s choreography, building a repetitive and progressive structure through electronic sound and his simultaneous live improvisation with the trumpet. With his subtle movements and physical presence on the stage, as opposed to the usual relationship between the musician and dancer, Serge Adam is very much evident on the stage as a significant element of the choreography.

Another noteworthy element is the participation of the dancer Loreta Juodkaite, who also has a great appreciation of whirling. With the involvement of Juodkaite, Icons has achieved its new form, where two bodies with high level of strength towards whirling encounter and increase the spectacular energy of the piece.

Lutz Deppe’s light design has a strong impact on the work. Through his subtle manipulation of light and shadow, and dramatization of the distinct colours and the abstract forms of the skirts, Deppe reinforces the gradual build up and deconstruction of each icon. Deppe plays with the visibility and invisibility of the figures as well as creating a fluctuation within the depth and physicality of the stage.

Ischiko has renewed her costume design for Icons in accordance to the newer choreography done in 2012

ICONS, represents the human body, that desperately constructs and inevitably deconstructs icons around the notions of ritual, tradition, and religion within the dilemmas of both individual and social aspects of life.