Theater

Dancing Against the End of the World

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photo: Paulio Sovari

Every form of artistic expression is capable of doing good in the world. Even ballet dance that was once created to entertain the kings and queens of this world with the movements that seemed almost superhuman at the time can become a tool of change. A change of society that needs to start through the arts from the stages of theaters, operas, and ballet houses. Because there it starts a conversation that is not motivated by politics but by an emotional perspective on our human life and society.

I’m quite excited that Nacho Duato, the current artistic director of Staatsballett Berlin, is creating another piece that is dedicated to a social topic. In his upcoming premiere called Erde he is creating a vision of our world under the current ecological circumstances of climate change. For this unique premiere he collaborated with locals from the Berlin electronic music scene like Pedro Alcalde, Sergio Caballero and Richie Hawtin just to name a few.

On the same night, there will be another premiere of this double bill evening. The British-Israeli choreographer Hofesh Shechter has now given one of his works to the repertoire of the Staatsballett Berlin called “The Art of Not Looking Back”. Shechter is internationally acclaimed and well known for his controversial pieces.

Claudio by Claudio
on April 19th, 2017
in Theater

A Devil’s Feast at the Opera

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photo: Monika Rittershaus

If the devil came to Berlin he would not be able to scare a single soul. Because Berliners have real problems like rising rents, shitty jobs or not getting into Berghain (depending on priorities) and have no time for religious superstitions. It’s quite a different story in the small village of Sorochinsky in the middle of nowhere in the Ukraine where the devil is the cause for a lot of fear and trauma.
At least what I learned from the opera “The Fair of Sorochinsky” by Russian composer Mussorgsky which I had the chance to enjoy last weekend at Komische Oper Berlin. In between Russian folklore, impossible relationships and a devil’s feast with pigs on fire I had a musical enlightenment I would like to share with you.

Claudio by Claudio
on April 12th, 2017
in Theater

The Opera of the Grotesque: Don Giovanni by Herbert Fritsch

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photo: Monica Rittershaus

Don Giovanni was basically a man-slut. But even back in the times when good sexy parties were not taking place at Berghain but in good old Venice (can you imagine), his seductive behavior with noble women and whores alike put him in a lot of trouble.

If you want to know more about this fascinating slut historical person I recommend you to have a look at the program of Komische Oper. There the master of the grotesque, acclaimed theater director Herbert Fritsch, gave the old opera composed by candylicious Austrian genius Mozart a new touch of craziness. What makes the success formula complete is the collaboration with Victoria Behr who really knows how to bring theater costumes to an oscar-worthy 5th element kind of level.

We are giving away 1×2 Tickets for the March 23rd 2017. Have a look at the dates and more photos after the jump.

Claudio by Claudio
on March 8th, 2017
in Theater

Dance\\\Ruption: Breaking the Rules of Classic Dance

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photos: Jacob Schickler

The old classical stage arts like Opera and Ballet not only have an aura of exclusivity through the high skill set you need to master to be part of one company. It is also a fix set of rules and hierarchies that makes this art forms a closed world, that usually excludes innovation and change.

But in a world of digital disruption, where everybody can be an artist, a poet or a photographer just by creating things for the internet also the old castles of the cultural world feel a little earthquake of change is needed to be still appealing to a younger audience. An audience that is not impressed by discipline and humility but rather by the creativity of breaking old fashioned ways of thinking. A disruption that will cause new qualities and unexpected results to emerge.

Embracing the concept of surprise I can’t really tell you how the 9 new choreographies of the Dance\\\Ruption performances this weekend will end up to be, but I am more than fond of the idea behind it.  In this special choreographers’ lab, selected company members of Staatsballett – Berlin will switch to the role of a choreographer and devise their own pieces together with their colleagues. These choreographies – all of them world premieres – will then be presented to the public in the rough and beautiful setting of the Tischlerei der Deutschen Oper. The idea is to break given roles and traditions to present the future of choreography today.

We had an exclusive sneak peek at the rehearsal starring Paul Busch and Patricia Zhou, dancing the choreography of Olaf Kollmannsperger. Check out the results after the jump.

Claudio by Claudio
on March 2nd, 2017
in Art, Photos, Theater

Berlin en Vogue: The Incrediball

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photo: Homard Payette

In Berlin nobody needs to be a princess or prince to feel special. Because once in a while we can all dress up and go to a ball. A ball where you don’t want to feel pretty or cute, but fierce and powerful instead. Showing your best moves to serious judges and maybe become a legend one day.

You have no idea what fairy tale I am talking about? About Berlin Voguing Out and their Incrediball of course!

Last Friday night we entered the halls of HAU2 for the voguing event of the year. Contestants from all over Germany and also from other parts of the world challenged each other in several voguing categories. If you are not familiar with this particular dance style from New York, which is routed in the queer black and latino subculture you should have a look at the documentary Paris is Burning about the original voguing ballroom scene in New York.

Here in Berlin we are pretty lucky to have the amazing House of Melody lead by Georgina Leo Melody, who made voguing so incredibly popular in Berlin. The House of Melody is not only organizing the Berlin Voguing Out Festival but also many other events and workshops around this dance culture. To give you a little taste Alicia Kassebohm took some pictures for you to enjoy all the beauty and fierceness of the Berlin Voguing scene. More after the jump.

Claudio by Claudio
on November 9th, 2016
in Theater

Berlin Diary – A Theatrical Exploration of Origins

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photo: Berlin Scrapbook / CC

What kind of relationship can you have to this city when your own family had to flee from Berlin?

A really difficult question to answer from my perspective. Even though we all have dealt extensively with the Holocaust and its consequences, having a real encounter with descendents of parents or grandparents who had to leave Germany can become an emotional tour de force.

The author Andrea Stolowitz is such a descendant. Her great-grandfather, Dr. Max Cohnreich, had to escape from Berlin in 1936 and started a new life in New York. For his children and grandchildren, he wrote a diary about his life in Berlin.

In 2015 Andrea visits Berlin to explore the life of her great-grandfather through his diary. An exciting and true story that has now premiered as a theatrical play on the stage of the English Theater Berlin. We talked to all the people participating in the creation of the piece. Each one has given us a piece of their personal Berlin Diary…

Claudio by Claudio
on October 13th, 2016
in People, Stories, Theater

The Funniest & Weirdest U-Bahn Flash Mobs in Berlin

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photo: Berliner Stage Company e.V.

I think one of the most peculiar symptoms of this digital era of self-representation are flash mobs. It does not matter how talented in acting, dancing, and singing the performers are. From the moment on they are willing to sacrifice their last bit of integrity to perform to an involuntary audience we can not stop watching.  It’s like being the spectator of an incredible stunt that could turn every moment into a horrible (and by horrible I mean horribly embarrassing) accident.

A favorite place for those public flash mobs (or flash tortures) is the Berlin subway or train stations. I guess the idea is to turn an everyday boring situation like a subway ride into a magical eye opening experience. Sometimes the results are close to that description. But it can also happen to be a deadly trap for the poor innocent Berlin souls who just wanted to have a chill ride to their workplace.

After the jump I collected some of the funniest and some of the weirdest U-Bahn flash mobs that you can find on Youtube for your amusement.

Claudio by Claudio
on September 27th, 2016
in Theater

Berlin’s Sexy Dance Highlights in the Summer

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photos: Carrie Schneider

Nudity is nothing a Berliner is particularly shocked about. In contrary, I think that Berlin is the city with the most public nakedness in the world if you consider all the nude beaches and public sex parties. It is also a different nakedness than in a tropical or Mediterranean city because the weather is not actually inviting to take off your close. The Berlin nudity is a public statement to the liberation of the human body from all the social, political and gender oppressions. At least that is what I like to read into it, even though I doubt that all of the half naked 19year old kids at the Pornceptual parties would agree.

But I am losing track here. Let’s discuss Berlin’s political intentions on nudity another time… I actually just wanted to recommend a damn sexy contemporary dance festival starting today: Tanz im August. Scrolling through the pics I saw some naked flesh popping up in the press folder and I was wondering if a conservative audience would claim that the dance world needs sex to get more attention from the younger audience. This could not be more wrong. Dance is not automatically sexy when the bodies on stage are naked.

But there is an element of contemporary dance that I find extremely sexy (which is why I also used this alluring headline). It is the intensity and the ability to control, perform and present yourself and your body that intrigues the spectator. A contemporary performer is always in a constant dialogue between his own body and the audience and is within this dialogue able to create tension and persuasion. From my point of view, most of the times the nakedness of a performer is actually not erotic but rather a narration of intimacy and disclosure.

We selected several dance pieces from the festival taking places in some of our favorite theaters including Sophiensaele, Hau and Volksbühne, that we think are promising and worth visiting. Our recommendations after the jump.

Claudio by Claudio
on August 12th, 2016
in Theater

Monypolo – A Theater Game in an Empty Supermarket

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What the fuck is this thing called capitalism? And why it is actually messing up all our lives instead of making them better? As simple as these questions seem at first, as complex are their answers. To take a look at one aspect that is going completely wrong with capitalism let’s reflect one moment about the Berlin start-up bubble.

Our beloved Berlin is a fertile ground for start-ups of all kinds. Low rents and many smart international people as potential employees are great resources to start your company. With the right investors, you can literally create any kind of business in this town. But as genius some start-up concepts can be, as stupid and absolutely useless to humanity the others are.

With their new theater game Monypolo the collective Prinzip Gonzo is reflecting about all the absurd aspects of hyper-capitalism and über-entrepreneurialism. With 60 other players you create a fictional career and play for success inside an abandoned supermarket at Kudamm. Between luxury boutiques and high street brands you enter a desolate mall to find a giant playground for adults waiting for you to be explored. More about our experience, the dates and some photos of the exciting game after the jump.

Claudio by Claudio
on July 20th, 2016
in Theater

Behind the Scenes of Staatsballett Berlin

Behind the Scenes of Staatsballett Berlin

photo: Jule Müller

Every big master piece that goes on stage at one of the three opera houses in Berlin should not only be credited to the director, choreographer or main dancers and singers. Behind the scenes of these huge productions numerous people work day and night to create the temporary and therefore precious magic that only performative art on stage can bring to life. Before falling in love with contemporary dance, I was passionate about classical ballet. So being able to experience the process up close behind the creation of a ballet piece by a big company like Staatsballett is something really special on a personal level. Gladly, I can now share this experience with you readers in form of a little photographic journey inside the costume workshops of the Staatsballett and into the rehearsals of the production Jewels which premiered a couple of weeks ago.

Jewels is a three part choreography by one of the biggest Russian masters of choreography who brought neoclassical ballet to the States and made it famous all over the world. According to legend, it must have been a dark winter day in the late 1960s, on which George Balanchine was swept away by sparkling jewelry that he saw in a shop window on New York’s fancy 5th Avenue. And what did the successful choreographer do? Rather than simply buying the beautiful diamonds, rubies, and emeralds he took inspiration from their splendor and created a new ballet piece which he named “Jewels”.

The costumes I could examine up close definitely reflect this very romantic (and a slightly kitschy) story. If you want to see the jewels sparkle under the bright lights of the spotlights check out our raffle for 2×2 tickets and our photo after the jump.

Claudio by Claudio
on June 7th, 2016
in Theater