Now it’s finally here: the new creative leadership of Berlin choreographer Sasha Waltz at the Staatsballett – anticipated by some and criticized by others. And the season premiere of Plateau Effect by Jefta van Dinther could not have been a more daring choice for the first piece of this new era.
The Swedish choreographer van Dinther is well known in the contemporary dance scene and has been often invited to Tanz im August and to HAU theater. His pieces are known for an emotional radicalness and for not caring about the needs and expectations of the audience. Even if his work is acclaimed by critics and the dance and art world, it is not something you would take your granny or even your parents to watch. Many of his pieces are raw, sexual, rough and often accompanied by a soundtrack you would rather hear at Berghain than in an opera house.
photo: Mathieu Doyon.
August is the month of dance in Berlin. We would love to show you our selection of highlights for the upcoming festival Tanz im August celebrating contemporary dance from all over the world.
Heat becomes movement and movement becomes a dance. While spoken word theaters are traditionally closed during summer for almost 6 to 8 weeks, the dance scene celebrates this period with all kinds of intense programs. While most dance schools, like Tanzfabrik or Marameo, offer intense workshops, for the people who rather watch than dance themselves there is a big festival celebrating the variety of contemporary dance: Tanz im August.
This year’s program has several highlights to offer. Most of the pieces will have their German or even worldwide premiere. This means that the following highlights are more of an intuitive choice than an exclusive selection since we had no chance to see any of these in person. Feel free to check out the whole program yourself and see if something else might spark your interest.
photos: Dieter Hartwig.
When does a dance start and when does it end? What movement is beautiful and what would you describe as disturbing? How can the body language translate into a narrative and what will the audience read in it
These are some of the questions posed by the dance piece Glory by Jeremy Wade. This piece had its premiere 12 years ago at the Tanztage festival and is coming back to Sophiensaele this weekend. The powerful duett by Jeremy Wade himself and Sindri Runudde will show you some aspects of dance you might never have seen before.
Classical Music is a special treat in your everyday life. If it would be a dish it would be like a delicacy you need days to prepare and as soon as you taste it you know that all the effort was worth it.
Berlin has many places to enjoy classical music. Some are prestigious and elegant, some are more unconventional. One unique setting we have enjoyed in the past two years is the open-air classic concert series Staatsoper für Alle. Organized by Staatsoper Berlin in collaboration with BMW there will be an Opera screening on the 15th and a live concert from the Staatskapelle on the 16th of June at Bebelplatz. And the best thing is: the concerts are completely free and accessible to everyone.
Last year we started the idea to offer a little special for our iHeartBerlin readers that are as into classical music as we are. Before the concert on the 16th at 13.00, we will provide a picnic starting at 11.30h with drinks and snacks for 3×2 readers that we will pick in a raffle. So you can listen to the concert on Sunday 16th and enjoy a delightful brunch with lots of sparkling wine and us as your hosts.
photos: Vismante Ruzgaite.
As you know, we love interdisciplinary work blending different genres together, especially when this happens in unique places in Berlin. One new occasion to experience such a creative immersion is happening this weekend for 3 nights at the beautiful Delphi. The place has a unique history as it used to be a silent movie theater that opened in the 1920s and it was actually the last one of its kind that was ever built.
With Hecate House, a new independent genre-bending theater production written by Christopher Adams-Cohen and directed by James Darrah, the old silent movie theater will be transformed into an experimental experience that will stimulate all your senses. Led by an overarching narrative of a brother and sister who get caught in a storm in the Black Forrest and take shelter in an abandoned hunting lodge that is inhabited by a mysterious pair of twin sisters the audience gets invited to step into a responsive audio-visual landscape breaking the fourth wall of the performer/spectator experience. During the piece, you can enjoy live electronic music improvisations by Farah Hazim and Wissam Sader, as well as dance performances choreographed by Andrea Galad.
To be able to give you a bit of a preview we joined the first dress rehearsal and took some photos for you. The Hecate House premieres tonight, at Delphi with encore performances on Saturday and Sunday.
photos: Vismante Ruzgaite, GIFs: Frank R. Schröder.
Finding a nice apartment in Berlin has become a serious hustle. You have to compete with lots of other people for a little one-bedroom apartment for 800 Euros in Wedding – if you are lucky. All these other people have better jobs, more savings and a much more stable personality than you in stress situations. But imagine that instead of having to prove your financial security you would need to partake in a dance competition in front of your landlord to get your dream apartment in Berlin?
In the newest piece by Costanza Macras “Der Palast” that premiered earlier this month at Volksbühne this absurd scenario becomes a reality. Several couples compete in a reality show competition that reminded me of Dancing with the Stars. Of course, the whole show is not linear but more like a mosaic of all kind of little stories, dance episodes, and funny group scenes.
The contemporary dance piece “Half Life” by Sharon Eyal and Gai Behar that is performed by the Staatsballett Berlin takes the viewer to an abstract world where intensity is marking every gesture and every decision.
A driving electronic beat makes the half-naked bodies of the dancers pulsate almost trance-like. The whole ensemble moves in unison as if it was one organism totally in synch with the music. The sweat on their skin makes every muscle glisten in the minimal light in front of the black background. Even though the choreography heavily relies on repetition there is a lot of suspense building up and the relief that the viewers experience when one movement breaks out of the formation feels a lot like that delicious “beat drop” moment during an excessive techno club night.
What is remarkable about this piece is the ecstatic reaction of the audience at the end of the performance which is often greeted with standing ovations and screams and shouts. This is not exactly a typical reaction of the Berlin opera and ballet audience.
photos: Olga Khristolyubova.
How might the world be like if machines were kings and humans were slaves? If powers were shifted and the automatization would prevail over emotion? In her newest piece Rauschen which premiered last week, Sasha Waltz managed to create a kaleidoscopic dystopian nightmare. The main topic: the struggle of man against machine and the toxic way our society revolves around our egos.
For Sasha Waltz Rauschen is her first piece produced for the big stage of Volksbühne. A stage that has a lot of problematic theater history to carry. But her piece is time and spaceless. It does not need references to be emblematic on its own.
Collage: house of killing
When I met Frank, the founder of iHeartBerlin, 14 years ago he told me he had already written his own little series of books. I was super enthusiastic and asked him to borrow it to me. When he took one out of his bookshelf I was really surprised by what he gave me. It turned out to be a little self-printed booklet telling one self-written episode of The X Files. I knew the series from TV but didn’t understand what he was showing to me. Nowadays I know: He was writing fan fiction.
The idea of being such a fan of something that you dedicate your time and energy to write your own story happening in a certain fictional universe blew my mind. But also I have to admit that my surprise was followed by arrogance. This is not “real” literature I thought to myself. But why wasn’t it real? Because it was self-published? Because it wasn’t meant to be sold to anybody? Or because I did not appreciate the originality of it since the characters and the narrative-universe already existed?
Nowadays, I have a different perspective on fan fiction. I know that it is an authentic art form that is anti-capitalistic since it does not need to be financially successful. Also, it is often queer and feminist because many of the fans from the LGBTQ community create their own version of popular stories. A gay Harry Potter? A black Hermion Granger? Why not! The main purpose is the pleasure the fan community experiences in sharing their material. Did I get you intrigued with my story by now? I hope so!
How does the Apocalypse taste? What would you like to drink on the last night before the world ended? Maybe your choice would be Champagne? Or would it be a refined cocktail with a wildflower swimming in it?
The newest production Violetter Schnee by Staatsoper Unter den Linden is all about the end of the world. Five people are trapped inside a bunker and when they leave it to see if the world is alright they discover they are doomed forever.
The opera is inspired by the cult movie Solaris from Andrei Tarkowski where 3 men float in space around an enigmatic planet called Solaris. Since this movie from the 70s is rarely shown in public, together with Staatsoper we decided to create a unique night to present this nostalgic piece of cinematic art.