Competing for Sunlight is a short dance film series, featuring protagonists of a range of different tree species and dance, telling individual short stories.
Following her Dance on Screen debut ‘Treeo’, a dance for a woman, a man and a tree, which received the DIORAPHTE encouragement award at the international CINEDANS festival in 2014. Dagmar Dachauer / UMFUG, together with a diverse group of collaborators, conceptualises and realises further meetings of cinema, dance and trees in this series of dance films.
Competing for Sunlight: Oak
‘Oak’ is a contemporary take on the ancient human concept of the oak tree as access to other realities. This film won Best International Film Award at Bestias Danzantes Dance Film Festival Santiago (Chile) in 2017.
“Sense of detail, not only regarding the interplay of choreography and cinematography but also sound, and in this way also for the subject, the relationship between man and nature.” – Sarah Moller, artistic director of Pool TanzFilmFestival Berlin, Bestias Danzantes jury credits
Competing for Sunlight: Ash
History repeats itself. Almost a hundred years ago, Dutch elm disease fell across the European continent, all but eliminating the – hitherto very important – elms (Ulmus sp.) from our forest landscape. Today, it is extremely rare to come across one of the few remaining elms in a European forest.
The current victim is another cornerstone of European tree species, the ash (Fraxinus excelsior). From Yggdrasil, the ancestral Tree of Life, to the provider of extremely important wood – usually the handles of our tools and axes were made the strong but malleable ash wood, but coffins were also traditionally made from it – the tree has occupied an important place in European forest ecology for millennia.
Beginning in the early 1990s in Eastern Europe, an Asian fungus gradually conquered the European continent, infecting almost all ash trees. The symptoms are very severe, gradually leading to the exhaustion and, in many cases, death of most trees. As a result, it is believed that the ash tree will soon be almost extinct in Europe.
‘The death of a species, especially one as important as the ash, punches a hole not only in nature, but also in our culture.‘ – George Monbiot
Choreographer and dancer Dagmar Dachauer was inspired by the sad belief of the European ash tree, and linked it to personal loss in her own life.
Finis est cinis: Ash is what remains.
Ash is a eulogy for Ash and for Prasthan Dachauer, who passed away in 2016.