Performance & Short Film, 2013

Nominated for the Kölner Tanz- und Theaterpreis (Cologne Dance and Theatre Prize) 2014

In THE VIRGIN’S VOICE, three hysterical, neurotic, and seductive female performers, or sirens, teeter on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Trapped in a histrionic state, they cycle in a loop of self-hate, spiraling in and out of control. They crash to the ground, faint, stab themselves and each other, in exasperation.

They develop intensive rituals – gasping, hyperventilating, clenching fists, accelerating movements meant to eradicate their vices: self-victimization, unrequited love, self-infliction, and harm. Shemesh’s performers dedicate themselves fully and repeat these actions until finally, they overcome their afflictions.

The structure of the performance is meant to evoke questions related to weakness and power, the condition of the body and how it affects gender perception. The performers writhe and suffer, convincing the viewer, momentarily, that gender correlates with strength. What if we were to step out of the narrative of the ‘weaker sex’?

Do demonstrations of physical strength correspond with attractiveness, vitality, and vigor? Or can they also reveal something deeper about our vulnerabilities? Three female performers test and exert their own physical limits to the maximum, delicately oscillating between weakness, control, and submission. Under Shemesh’s direction, the figures in The Virgin’s Voice address the stereotype of the hysterical woman, dislodging it from the plot as a fallacy.

When was dance ever so naughty. Wonderful” – Klaus Keil

This [piece] is done in a humorous way, (…) which demonstrates what an interesting choreographer NRW has gained with the move of Reut Shemesh from Amsterdam to the Rhineland” – Thomas Linden


Choreography, Scenography: Reut Shemesh
Dance, Creation: Lisa Kirsch, Hannah Platzer, Ieva Navickaite
Music: Simon Bauer
Costume: Anna Kilian 
Management: Judith Mayer 
Layout: Ronni Shendar
Camera: Ronni Shendar, Frank Erler, Simon Salzig
Editing: Reut Shemesh 
Photography: Phillip Böll, Ronni Shendar

Funded by:

Previous & upcoming performances

  • 14th June 2015: Schauspiel Köln im DEPTO, Birlikte Kulturfest (DE)
  • 13th June 2015: Lothringair Street Festival Aachen (DE)
  • 11th June 2015: KunstSalon Köln (DE)
  • 13th December 2014: TanzFaktur Köln (DE)
  • 19th June 2014: tanz.tausch festival LOFFT Leipzig (DE)
  • 21st, 22nd, 23rd February 2014: THREE international festival Alte Feuerwache Köln (DE)
  • 4th December 2013: tanz.tausch festival Alte Feuerwache Köln (DE)