Dance is a very important cultural element in the creative landscape of Berlin. Even though I have a stronger intellectual response to contemporary dance and more abstract body performances than to classical ballet, I do appreciate the precision, body control and beauty of ballet dancers in a well-done choreography. For myself going to see a piece of Staatsballett Berlin is somehow a guilty pleasure of visual entertainment, I recommend to everybody in need of some artistic and emotional satisfaction.
Fear, vulnerability, passion – the dark extremes of human emotions are the source of inspiration for a new program from Staatsballett Berlin. In Duato | Kylian | Naharin three international choreography stars created a dancing work of incredible power. While “Castrati” by Nacho Duato revolves around the fear of an aspiring singer before castration, Jiří Kylián’s “Petite Mort” deals with the aggressive as well as the vulnerable sides of sexuality. “Secus” is an abstract work by Ohad Naharin, based on power, extremes and raw meat.
Photographer Yan Revazov had the chance to visit the rehearsals of this intense program and took some beautiful pictures. Take a look over these powerful impressions, check out the making of video and find out how to win tickets for the upcoming shows, after the jump.
Tribal tattoos are kind of an atrocious relict of the 90s that we can’t really get rid of in Berlin. Even if you spared yourself of those tasteless artifacts you will still encounter them on random bodies of friends, lovers and gym-buddies. But if you think about it the most damage has not been done to us Westerners, who have no real connection to those symbols and signs, but to the indigenous tribes who got their sacred tattoos “stolen” and westernized in the context of a body trend.
But that is actually not really what my article should be about, but rather this: Did you know that Samoa (near New Zealand) was once a German colony? And did you know that Germany used to have “Völkerschauen” where they presented indigenous people like Samoans in zoos just to entertain and “educate” the public about the wild people? A century after they were lucratively exhibited in German Zoos, three of them return to Germany in a folk-colonial spectacle by the Berlin choreographer Jochen Roller and the Samoan performance artist Yuki Kihara at the Sophiensaele. The piece Them and us is a mixture of hybrid choreography and film, in an extremely pleasurable way, the protagonists develop a re-writing of the German anthropological viewpoint of their former colony of German Samoa. Check out the dates and some photographic impressions after the jump.
“We make things that break easy. We people don’t!” – That is the outspoken subtitle of the new documentary/theater/dance piece The Ghosts by Costanza Macras at Schaubühne. Featuring underaged but incredibly talented acrobats from China telling the story of their lives in between acts of artistic braveness this piece has a quite unusual but nevertheless engaging and interesting topic. For Macras the Chinese acrobatic artists, who once were celebrated for their bravery now live in materially precarious, ghostly conditions. This manifests a metaphor for life in contemporary China, with its contradictions, social injustice and power structures. Those who once brought the country glory and honor are discarded as soon as they are no longer top achievers.
Instead of taking the audience by storm with a strong and unstoppable ensemble as in Macras’ previous pieces, The Ghosts comes to life through the three Chinese girls who were the heart of the piece. Also, the dynamic with the audience (and maybe also an unplanned manipulation) was quite special in my opinion. The young girls presented the circus acts they usually show to the visitors of an old amusement park on a little Chinese island. The audience bamboozled and often even clapped between the acts as if they where in a circus instead of a theater. I think most of the (intellectual) audience in this kind of theater would rather disapprove to watch underaged children perform dangerous acts for their amusement. But out of the context and hidden as “documentary theater” I guess that some people actually quite liked the adrenaline pumping acrobatic talent of the performers. This showed to me how easy it is to make people like something, they would normally disapprove of. And this little mind-trick was for me actually the best thing of the whole piece. Tonight you have still the chance to see the amazing piece at Schaubühne. Check out photographic impressions of The Ghosts after the jump.
The good old days of Berlin everybody is constantly mentioning were somewhere in the 90s. There was a period where Berlin was still a Nimbus of freedom. Freedom of thinking loud, acting out and repurposing unused spaces. But between all this freedom some people got lost in drugs, fun, parties and maybe to much carelessness.
In the theater piece “Der Fuchs” premiering tonight at Ballhaus Ost a single character is on stage telling the true story of a typical Berlin 90s biography. Between all the cliches of drugs and techno the piece elaborates on the topic quite intimately and authentic thanks to the talents of actor Daniel Wagner. The stage by Thea Axthelm Hoffmann representing a mixture of artist workspace and hippie loft is in ever changing progression during the play. In front of the eyes of the spectators psychological controversies and abnormal thought chains unfold in a creative space that fails to become a real home. Anna Agliardi collected some photographic impressions for us. More pictures and the dates of the play after the rave.
photo: Mirella & Augusto De Bernardi
When we think about “Italy” we instantly have a pre-made set of clichés and stereotypes in our head. We think of pizza, pasta and icecream. We think of a hot-blooded and passionate people. We think of La Dolce Vita. And of Dolce & Gabbana. We think of a country with a glorious past, but also of one with a very fragile and weakened present. The proud Italians are deeply hurt in their pride about what has become of their once so great nation. The Italian youth is utterly lost and disoriented about the meaning of their own identity and worried about their uncertain future.
The performance piece To This Purpose Only is reflecting on the contradiction that Italy is facing right now. Old cherrished rituals and traditions overlap and merge with the new uncertain and alienating conditions of the nowadays unstable country. The directorial duo Matanicola who also brought us the amazing piece bodySLANGuage at Ballhaus Ost last year are responsible for this new production together with the performers of Fattoria Vittadini who already celebrated great success with it on their Italian tour and are now finally premiering in Germany at Radialsysteme this weekend. More impressions and a trailer after the jump.
photos: Skylar Kang
Experimental theater nowadays can hardly shock anybody. I have seen everything happening on stage: Blowjobs, Kiss-Orgys, dancers penetrated by giant dildos and even a whole audience who started to take of their clothes. Sometimes these pieces get scandalized in the press, but similarly to the art world the theater world mostly applauds when a tabu gets broken.
The theater piece Monster Truck: Welcome to Germany is premiering tonight in Sophiensaele and has already a scandal going on. The piece was supposed to premiere in Leipzig a couple of weeks ago but didn’t because the managing director of the theater cancelled the show. The reason: a dead pig gets dissected on stage and turned into sausages. After seeing the show, I really wonder, why something which is actually happening all around Germany every day (pigs turned into sausages) should not be shown on a theater stage. Nowadays, nearly everybody has seen so many disgusting things in the food documentaries, that hardly anybody gets shocked by that.
Apart from the pig the piece is a quite original perfomance. Its inspired by a Bavarian enclave called “Villa Baviera” in Chile. If you would go there you would think that it was a beautiful fake Germany with girls in dirndls and boys in leather shorts. The truth behind the folklore-kitsch is that it was the residence of a horrible sect and a torture camp for children for over 40 years. After it was closed in 2005 and the sect leader who molested several children got finally convicted the place was turned into a vacation resort. This absurd story is the starting point for an evening with shocking pictures and impressive stage design. Check out the photos and the dates after the jump.
Berlin is the city of the unique (and by unique I mean things that happen just once) events, performances, exhibitions and parties. That is why every halfway culturally interested person has a constant feeling of regret because they just missed something. But fortunately to every rule there is an exception. The big interactive performance event Game of Life by Prinzip Gonzo is returning to Berlin with even more complex characters and situation. In this play you have the chance to reboot your life from the beginning. Which career will you choose, what kinds of friends will you make, what about children and marriage? All these questions are ready to be relived again (and with much more time pressure). If you want to support the project, feel free to do so here or order some of the few tickets left here. The dates and some photographic impressions from last year’s edition after the jump.
How can I describe something like GIANT? After dropping by Studio 44 today, an endless list of adjectives came to mind; though they all sounded so equivocal the self-proclaimed “performative installation” began to lose meaning. It’s a piece spanning 33 hours between March 26-29th, featuring 5 main artists (including the always-radiant, outspoken and hilarious Tatiana Saphir aka The Fruit Salad) and many guests. The work explores spatiotemporal ideas, immersing the audience in such a formless way the line between performer and spectator quickly disappear. In many ways, the artists don’t seem to be performing at all but rather using theatrical situations to speculate discourse, which they process through engagement with each other, as well as material objects. Over the course of 33 hours, there are scheduled guest appearances, which turned out to be the only way I had any concept of time in there. I walked in expecting to take some photos and stay an hour or two to chat about the concept behind their work, but instead walked out 5 hours later, extremely content with what I had just experienced, and time was the last thing on my mind. You can find out more about GIANT and see the photos from yesterday’s run after the jump.
photos: Magdalena Bichler
What means friendship and – furthermore – relationship in times of Tinder, Grindr and any other sort of app and hook-up service. Can you expect to have a summer romance just by chance? Meeting somebody unexpected in a strange abandoned place in Germany? We are not sure what kind of story the theater play “Société des Amis. Tindermatch im Oderbruch” at Ballhaus Ost is going to tell us. But I am pretty sure that it will be one of a kind since the director Jan Koslowsky always has his way in creating unique theater experiences with a strong storytelling and intriguing text work. Check out the dates of the play after the jump.
“We want to talk about your dick” raps gorgeous Tatiana Saphir backed up by a chorus of Opera singers.
Would you expect this kind of lyrics in any opera? Probably not. But the opera Switch On about the discovery of the synthesizer has more to offer than just pornographic lyrics. The Argentinian director Santiago Blaum created one of the most unconventional music theater pieces I saw in my life (and I saw quite a lot of it). It deals with the controversy between what is “classic+natural” and what is “eletronic+synthetic” in music (but actually somehow in all of our life). Finally the piece will come back to Berlin. So don’t miss to visit the piece this weekend at Uferstudios and watch the funny trailer featuring the dick song and many more highlights of the piece after the switch.