Ballet dancing is one of the finest expressions of European culture. It created the creative base for today’s contemporary dance all over the world, and it’s also an art form with the perfect balance between lightness and power. Watching a ballet dancer perform is one of the most visually compelling experiences, and I am so glad that we have one of the most talented ballet companies here in Berlin: Staatsballett Berlin.
Combining their unique beauty with the rough urbanity of Berlin’s architectural landscape, we had a unique vision: shooting a fashion story showcasing a dance rehearsal on the rooftops of Berlin. Bringing new attention to the city’s rich cultural heritage, fashion photographer Olga Khristolyubova portrayed two of the most skilled dancers from Staatsballet: Sarah Mestrovic and Kevin Pouzou. Sarah is a native Berliner who has been enrolled in the company for ten years. She combines her artistic experience with a creative spark, making her move with lightness and passion over the roof of our shoot. Kevin is a french dancer who has been living and dancing in Berlin for 8 years now. His majestic beauty is nothing compared to his bravery and strength. Neither were afraid to move and bend over the abyss of the streets surrounding them; creating incredible images for us.
Since we shot on the last weekend of November, the air was already cold as ice, though the sun was fortunately shining. On top of their rehearsal gear, they wore Goose Feel down jackets and knits from We are Knitters: the perfect combination of warmth to help the dancers extend over the top of Berlin’s skyline, while also staying super-light and incredibly flexible so as to allow them to bend, leap and soar unimpeded while performing their magic. Enjoy the whole shoot after the jump, and stay tuned for the animated pictures soon to come.
The Hungarian Contemporary Dance Festival, that is happening here in Berlin at Dock11 from December 15th – 21st 2014, is bringing a very special dance company to our city. When I reviewed the program of the festival the Pal Frenak Compagnie really stood out as the highlight among all the participants. The Budapest and Paris-based company that has a long-standing history in both cities since 1998 is bringing something to our stages that we get to see quite rarely in contemporary dance here: sensuality. Whenever I see a dance piece here in Berlin I would describe the style as bizarre, destructive, conceptual and sometimes humorous – but never sensual. This seems to be some kind of taboo. With the performances of Pal Frenak this rule does not apply because he brings out the gracefulness and beauty of the human body and its movements in all of its glory and without coyness. His dancers create images full of sensuality bringing together impeccable choreographies with revealing physicalness. Get a taste of their work with some images of their current productions and don’t miss two opportunities to see them here in Berlin on December 12th at .CHB and on December 15th at Dock11. Check out the program of the Hungarian Contemporary Dance Festival here.
photos: Wolfgang Hilse
Constanza Macras is doing theater in the forrest, Prinzip Gonzo is playing a theatrical Game of Life in an abandoned industrial hall and KiezOper is bringing their piece into the Wilde Renate night club. And these are only a few of the examples where theater in Berlin bends the rules and brings their concepts outside of the actual theater houses into the urban wildlife of the city to create new, interdisciplinary experiences.
With the piece Berlin Bound the Thin Skin Theater and Sisyphos, der Flugelefant have created yet another off-stage theater experience. They collaborated with the night clubs Griesmühle and Brunnen70 to stage what they describe as a party performance. Previously performed at Kater Holzig in 2012 it has already earned some praise and therefore was reactivated for new shows in 2014 in new night clubs. The performance is a colorful and crazy recreation of a plane trip to a place called home and the guests are invited to come along. What does it truly feel like to be home? What’s required for one to feel at home? Is it possible to preserve one’s identity or must one leave it behind? In Berlin, many people share the experience of leaving one’s own cultural system behind in a search for something new, ultimately to establish oneself as a member of a foreign culture and society. The arrival lies in your own hands.
The double premiere of the performance will happen this weekend with additional shows the weekend after. More details and a trailer after the jump.
photo: Anna Agliardi
The year 2014 seems to be the year of remembering the past. On the one hand we have 100 years of industrial war, on the other hand we commemorate positive events like the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. The last century of European history is very complex. Everything seems connected. Remembering things the right way, is more difficult than we ever imagined. No wonder so many theater makers want to bring real live memories on stage to show the different perspectives.
Our beloved Argentinian choreographer Constanza Macras went to the city of Dresden and talked to eyewitnesses who can remember a city that no longer exists in the same form today. The actions in the piece “The Past” which premiered at Schaubühne this week, refer to the ancient techniques of ars memoriae, whereby in order to recall the thing to be remembered, we first have to find and organise our impressions. The piece explores architectonic places as narrative instruments of our history – in the rewriting of history, for overcoming the wounds of the past, and for understanding contemporary events (personal and global) as part of a constant cycle that we experience as the passing of time. This piece will have a second part that will premiere in Spring 2016. Talented Italian theater photographer Anna Agliardi went for us to the general rehearsal to get some exclusive impressions. Photos and dates after the jump.
Berlin is a restless city. Spätis open 24/7, clubnights going on from Thursday afternoon to Monday morning and the high energy of the club kids on speed makes it sometimes hard to find a place to calm down, outside your own four walls. Israeli theater maker Hila Golan, Niva Dloomy and Ariel Nil Levy just released a new magical piece that’s calling attention to the sleep disorders of an entire society. The tale of the Princess and the Pea forms the framework of this theater performance about a world-known phenomenon that affects all parts of society. In this new version the pile of mattresses grows and grows, craving for dreams and relaxation, but a general restlessness keeps us awake.
In continuous self-optimization on the outer and the inner shell, private concerns, constant availability, and last but not least the feeling of helplessness and passive complicity in the face of current world events, the question arises: How can we get sleep? While the actors have to deal with the causes and consequences of ongoing insomnia, their environment becomes more and more unpredictable due to the sophisticated interplay of Christian Maith’s light design and stage design by media artist Mayan Printz. The bright and dark waking hours are captured by Eli Fabrikant’s composed “low-tech music”. You should not miss this performances in English going on now and in December. More pphotos and the dates after the jump.
photo: Silke Bauer
The monster of gentrification is eating Berlin’s free spirits and creative culture. Maybe this way of thinking is rather extreme, but what will happen to the so-called “cool neighbourhoods” when all people who are currently living there will not be able to afford it anymore. And much more important: what will happen to our city when the income will strictly determine where you can live. Not so much of a multi-cultural free society in the end. A horrible faith that happened already in so many cities before and that must be stopped in Berlin.
People have been protesting the rapidly rising rents for years at Kottbusser Tor in Kreuzberg. The theater collective copy &waste created an audio walk that guides right into a conflict zone for living space, money and love. Through the headphones you’ll hear just what it sounds like – the dividing of the loot. The audio walk is called “Nasty Peace” and it is in German, English and Turkish and is created with the participation of the Turkish community living in the neighborhood.
For Nasty Peace, copy&waste returned packing a great deal of research material: conversations with residents, observations of everyday life, sociological, scientific and philosophical texts about property and privatization play as significant a role as Berlin Circle, a piece by Charles Mee inspired by the same source as The Caucasian Chalk Circle and fantasy material such as Game of Thrones and Masters of the Universe. All the dates and the trailer after the jump.
Photos: Arno Declair
I am dancing by myself has become the hymne of our generation without anybody wanting it. We have to use dating apps to meet new people, share our photos of our newborn kid on Facebook to make people notice that we are becoming a parent and hope that one day you will have enough likes, retweets and shares to be happy.
Our sense of approval has no connection with the real world anymore. At least in the new dance piece Never Forever at Schaubühne Berlin. The intense collaboration between German theater director Falk Richter and Israeli choreographer Nir de Volff could not have become more disturbing (in a good sense). Falk Richter’s texts tell stories of people whose humanity is increasingly giving way to a post-human condition of living unnoticed in a giant city. They are scattered city warriors in survival mode, prepared to commit any extreme act in order to feel that they are alive; people who are infinitely replicated, self-styled beyond recognition in online profiles, thoroughly scrutinised and monitored. On the poetic text fragments the bodies of the talented and well conducted cast of Nir’s Company Total Brutal take the stage with even more power, brute strength and craziness than ever before. Don’t miss the chance to see this piece with German text but occasionally English subtitles. More photos, the trailer and the dates after the jump.
I remember being quite surprised when my literature teacher told us in school that the friendship between Robinson Crusoe and Friday had a big “Gay” Factor. It is one of the things that are so painfully obvious that you don`t notice it.
Experiencing the theatre performance Fortschritt Karibik at Vierte Welt you will have a large amount of this painful “of course, how could I don’t see it” moments. Both pieces are about the situation in the Caribbean after the earthquake or furthermore the “European” commercialised fantasy of their situation. Even if the topic is rather serious, it does not mean that the pieces lack in humour. In contrary: inside the small theatre right in the Kreuxberg-Center of Kottbusser Tor a magic box will open in front of you charmingly showing you what kind of self-complacent shitty attitude we have towards the human catastrophe in the Caribbean. I definitely recommend you to watch the piece not only for the stunning performances of sisters in crime Tatiana Saphir and Tamara Saphir but also because of the multitude of experiences and perspectives you will get with just one theatre ticket. Photos, dates and a funny/crazy Trailer after the jump.
Composed and performed for the first time in 1913 in Paris the dance piece: Le Sacre du Printemps (Rite of Spring) by music genius Igor Stravinsky was one of the most shocking performances of this period. The dance narrates how after various primitive rituals celebrating the Advent of Spring, a young girl is chosen as a sacrificial victim and dances herself to death. If you think about this story of the piece you understand even better why the chic Parisian people where so astonished to see this happening on stage of their usually soft and elegant ballets.
Now, 101 years later, one of the most beautiful versions of the ballet will be shown in Berlin this weekend. Maurice Béjart’s own dance company, the Béjart Ballet Lausanne, which became the guardian and executor of his choreographic heritage after his death in 2007, now gives a guest performance at the Staatsballett Berlin with three of his masterpieces. „Ce que l’amour me dit“, which premiered in 1974, „Le Sacre du printemps“ from 1959, and „Boléro“ from 1961 are all key pieces of his oeuvre.
The three works, which the Béjart Ballet Lausanne will present at the Tempodrom Berlin, are unique. Once again, they will demonstrate the immense power and beauty of this legendary choreographer. Try to get tickets if you still can. More photos after the jump.
photos: Olga Khristolyubova
A month ago we already introduced you to the new innovative theater production bodieSLANGuage with a series of animated GIFs inspired by the concept of the play. Today the show goes into its second round of performances that will happen everyday until Sunday at 20h at Ballhaus Ost.
We saw the premiere of the piece last month and to be honest, it is the most amazing thing I have seen on a stage in Berlin in a very long time. If you read the first texts about the play you can already understand that it revolves around body language and incorporates sign language using deaf and hearing performers. But it was really impossible for me to imagine how this is going to be translated onto the stage.
The result of the work of the three choreographers from matanicola and the progressive wave and the 8 performers is hard to put into words. The play has several scenes that are quite different from each other. Some I would discribe as moving organic sculptures, other I would describe as traditional contemporary dance performances, some are solo singing acts and monologues or even comedic interludes. The play has a lot to offer and will never get boring and it never seized to amaze and surprise me.
I loved how the play manages to bring the performers together in one moving creature in the beginning and than showcase their very individualistic styles in the solo acts. All of the performers were amazing, but I was particularily impressed – once again – by Gal Naor who is also one of the choreographers (and was part of the House of Haunted House last year by the way). He functions as the medium between the deaf and hearing performers and in his solo parts he manages to be bizarre, gracious and just fucking cool at the same time.
I don’t want to spoil too much about the piece as it lives from its unexpected turns. I urge you to get some of the few tickets left for the upcoming shows this week as I can assure you that you will be impressed, regardless if you are a regular guest or a newbie to the world of independant theater. To warm your appetite we have some captivating impressions from our talented photographer Olga Khristolyubova after the jump.