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.
photo: Ian Douglas
I have heard about the work of Berlin-New York nomadic dancer Jeremy Wade quite a lot in the last years and never made it to any of his shows. The new dance theater piece he is performing at HAU Theater is an aggressive/sexy/disturbing (choose you adjective) monologue about the different aspects of death. In a dark, American-Horror-Story-like queer setting Wade experiments with vehicles for experiencing different deaths – death of theater, value, sense, and attachment. Jeremy Wade uses death as a metaphor to give the audience a wake-up call projecting his research on the death of our Western society into the future. The dates, pictures and a video after the jump.
Tanztage, now in its 24th edition, is showcasing some of the most creative pieces in contemporary theatre, dance and performance art with a marathon spanning 11 days at Sophiensæle. Shining the spotlight on the up-and-coming choreographic talents of Berlin, the festival is putting their thematic focus on the interdisciplinary nature of many young artists who express themselves not only through dance, but various other mediums as well. Through the use of movement and sound, their performances result in a powerful commentary on issues present in contemporary pop culture. I saw two amazing performances today that challenged my perception of the performing arts—Vincent Riebeek’s Flaming Lamborghini and Noha Ramadan’s Los Angeles—both of which caught me completely off-guard. The former was as sexy as it was shocking while the latter was staggering and transformative. Read on to find out more about these performances and see some photos that are sure to allure you into the world of dance.
photo: Vincent Riebeek
For the Berlin contemporary dance world January is one of the most important months of the year due to the festival Tanztage at the Sophiensaele. This year’s edition has a new artistic director, Anna Müller, and the focus is the interdisciplinary nature of many young artists whose playing field is not just restricted to dance. They set out to discover new worlds or genres and address choreographic issues in pop culture such as: striptease and breakdance, club culture, talk shows and pop music. All things we actually like and want to see on stage more often.
(Side note: Of course I just want to see male strippers on stage because of their effect on my social perception. Male stripping is seen as a social deviance and through its performances creates a sort of equality in relation to the predominantly normative female stripping, giving the women in the audience the feeling of empowerment. And of course I have to take in consideration the visual pleasure I receive as a side-effect from such an important cultural step into gender equality. Therefore I see it as my personal duty to go to any show were hot male stripping is promised on the flyer.)
The eleven day long performance marathon with nine premieres and five revivals invites the audience to discover new choreographic talents and to enjoy contemporary dance in this beautiful theater. Of course we should not forget to mention the fabulous party that will take place there tonight. If you have just a quick look into the program of the 24th edition of the festival you get the feeling as if almost any show has some queer topic. Actually not very surprising since the contemporary dance world consists to 80% of gay men and 20% of feminist women (of course just a superficial assumption based on my subjective experience and not on real statistics) Some recommendations after the jump.
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.
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.
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.
Read my BodieSLANGuange is a series of animated GIFs that we created in collaboration with the choreographer duo matanicola (Nicola Mascia & Matan Zamir) and the Sign Language interpreter and performance artist the progressive wave (Gal Naor). To continue iHeartBerlin’s ventures into the world of theater and dance we came up with this series as a digital add-on to the spectacular play bodieSLANGuage referencing elements of the performance and mixing them with slang and gestures of contemporary youth and pop culture presented in the style of the many popular GIF Tumblrs such as When you live in Berlin. We hope you enjoy it!
One of my favorite places in Wedding are the Uferstudios. They have become an amazing creative factory for dance and performance in the last couple of years and I had the chance to see a bunch of interesting experimental pieces there that I would have missed in more conventional theaters. As often with off-theater spaces the choreographers and directors working there are young and unknown so far and most of the productions just play a few times only. That is why even for us it is sometimes hard to decide which pieces might be worth the trip and which are not.
Fortunately, the Tanznacht happening over the next couple of days might be the right thing for you to discover this beautiful creative space. From the 28th to the 31st of August 2014 several shows of all kinds are going to take place in the different studios. From a variety of choreographers and dancers performing during the 4-day program we can already recommend the piece by Jared Gradinger and Angela Schubot which we had the chance to see before. Aside from contemporary dance, this year’s edition has a special focus on video performances screened all over the place. Also the courtyard of the location will get a design intervention by Club Real. Discover the whole program here and also check out their magazine. More photos of the performances after the jump.