The beloved cozy Christmas atmosphere with all its lights, markets and holiday feels are gone, even the excitement and glitter of New Year’s Eve has faded. The new year leaves us longing for more happy celebrations, but instead, gloomy January has taken their place to spread his dreaded winter blues. I can’t tell you how bad it gets to me, every time. Since I was very quickly over Netflix and couch after the fourth night in the row, I thought about what other activities in Berlin could brighten up this dark January. So this list goes out to everyone suffering from the January blues – let’s get off the couch and have some fun!
When I read that the new theater piece Do the Right Thing by Ariel Efraim Ashbel was heavily inspired by Bauhaus I was already sold! Already I imagined the second coming of Oskar Schlemmer’s iconic Triadic Ballet. And indeed you will find a lot of references in the piece: costumes that are more objects than garments, sharp geometric shapes, bold prime colors, the grid pattern on the floor. Just like Schlemmer Ashbel questions the norms of theater of the time. His piece is so abstract, blurring the lines between performers, objects, lights, and the stage – everything seems to have an equal weight in the whole picture. While watching the piece it is all up to you to either just enjoy the almost ritualistic successions of movements in a space filled with color gradients that keep shifting back and forth, or you try to decipher the embedded details of the abstracted message of the title that you will find scattered all over the piece. Either way, you will be drawn in by powerful visuals and an even more captivating live soundtrack by Hacklander \ Hatam.
photo: Martin Argyroglo
During the month of October, the melodies of the iconic French composer Claude Debussy will blend with the lines of one of the emblematic American writer Edgar Allan Poe at the Staatsoper Berlin.
Usher is an unmissable music piece taken from Poe’s short story “The Fall of the House of Usher”, which greatly fascinated Debussy. However, the composer never managed to complete writing the opera. Treasuring its left behind materials on this project, the Belgian composer Annelies Van Parys, who has established her reputation as one of the most innovative contemporary composers, managed to complete his project and developed a fascinating chamber opera.
The new season of Staatsballett Berlin just started last Friday with the premiere of Celis/Eyal. The last names of the two choreographers contributing to this evening of contemporary dance form the title of a very diverse dance-performance.
The Belgian choreographer Stijn Celis created a piece called Your Passion is Pure Joy to Me about many little love stories. Playful and approachable this piece never loses the emotional connection with the audience. With this start, the work of Sharon Eyal and Gai Behar feels like an antagonism to the previous. It takes the viewer to an abstract world where intensity is marking every gesture and every decision. The two pieces are presented in this particular combination for the first time here in Berlin.
Can you imagine a neighborhood in Berlin with only one ethnic background? This is the case of Chatsworth, a part of Durban in South Africa. During Apartheid all the inhabitants with Indian roots had to move to one common neighborhood. There they got only small houses to live in. Through this measures, the government hoped that the community of Indians would not grow larger.
Enfant terrible of the dance theater scene – Constanza Macras – choose Chatsworth as the title and frame of her newest piece. Her particular style of documentary dance theater takes the audience through fragments of unique stories, local music, romantic songs and her signature group dance scenes.
Berlin wouldn’t be the melting pot brimming with inspiration that we love if it wasn’t for the international influences from expats that never cease to shape the city with their artistic vision. The time has come to highlight the creative masterminds in the Portuguese community in Berlin. Get ready to meet a diverse crew of uninhibited artists – photographers, writers, digital illustrators, musicians – who aren’t afraid to experiment and venture beyond the conventions. By the way, we’ve asked around and got the top recommendations on where to get Portuguese wine and their famous Pastel de Nata – make sure you scroll to the bottom!
Company Wayne McGregor
The Tanz im August Festival is back showcasing the immensely diverse world of contemporary dance on the stages of Berlin! From the August 10 to September 2 you’ll be able to enjoy and experience a wide range of dances throughout the city. From international productions by established creators to newcomers and world premieres. On top of that, the program also includes talks and workshops so the public can engage by participating and learn through action. And now, without further ado, we present you our selection of the 10 most exciting pieces from this edition of Tanz im August. Enjoy!
What is the difference between the meat on our body and the meat on our plates? Is there really one? Why does our brain rather consider a bunch of oversized fake sausages “meat” while the real meat sits naked on top of it?
For the research to his award-winning piece Requiem for a Piece of Meat theater maker Daniel Hellmann went deep into the cruel realities of the meat production industry. What he found there was both shocking and eye-opening, and turned him and part of his team to veganism. The ways how we humans disassociate a piece of meat from what it really is – a sliced-off piece from a living creature that was killed against its will after enduring a life of torture and mistreatment – is one of the topics he dissects in his piece. But it goes far beyond the treatment of animals and blurred lines of what is the meat on our bones, the meat of an animal and the meat product that goes over the butcher’s counter. It also questions how we treat black bodies and female bodies, and how lust and desire play into our associations with meat.
Nothing that you will see in this piece is done for shock value – in fact, the realities of the things depicted in the play are by far more shocking. Yet, for some theaters, the production was too extreme so it got censored and even canceled. Luckily, Berlin theater people are not so thin-skinned so we can enjoy the German premiere tonight at Ballhaus Ost with encore screenings on the following days. Some impressions and details below.
Over the last ten years of doing iHeartBerlin, we’ve already had a couple of occasions where we could meet some of our readers. This experience of encountering somebody in person who is following you online is a really rewarding experience for us.
Yesterday, together with the Staatsoper Berlin, we had the chance to share a very special picnic with 6 of our readers and us for the occasion of Staatsoper für Alle – a free live concert next to the opera at Bebelplatz. It was a great way to enjoy wonderful highlights of classical music and spend time with our readers up close.
In the middle of an ocean of little blankets and foldable chairs, we prepared a cute little picnic with lots of gourmet delicacies. Of course, we could not miss the two most important ingredients if you wanna have a real brunch: Cupcakes and sparkling wine.
Coming from the queer black and latin underground culture of New York over 50 years ago the Ball Culture took a long time to finally arrive in good old Berlin. Thanks to the famous Paris Is Burning documentary and – yes, maybe also because of that one Madonna song – the Ballroom Community and more specifically one of its disciplines – Voguing – have surfaced from the subculture into the mainstream, also spreading the concept into many major cities in the world. Learn more about the history of voguing in this earlier iHeart feature.
In Berlin, one of the major independent theaters has embraced the local Ball Culture inviting it onto its stage. Together with the Berlin Ballroom Community, the Hebbel Am Ufer manages to successfully melt the intimate world of Ballrooms with the extroverted world of performance art. It’s a fantastic spectacle that let’s a wider audience get a peek into an otherwise quite private world, encouraging people who are curious about Voguing to join a House or even form a new one. Berlin already has a couple of “Houses” which is how a group of Voguers is called that form a fabulous little family.
This past Saturday we had the chance to join the Opulence Ball at HAU2 and of course, we wouldn’t miss the opportunity to take a couple of photos and animated GIFs. Enjoy the show!