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.
Today I stumbled across a cool breakdance video that was shot in an abandoned place in the outskirts of Berlin. I’m not 100% sure which place it is, but my guess is Beelitz Asylum. I do recognize the artist though, it’s Plotbot who has such a distinct style. You can actually find his amazing artwork in quite a few of the abandoned places of Berlin.
But coming back to the video, it shows a dreadlocked dancer performing a blend of contemporary and breakdance in the staircase of this old sanatorium accompanied by a pretty cool beat. I like how his style, the dance, the place and the music come together here quite nicely. And it helps that his outfit kinda flies off at some point, hehe. But have a look for yourself and let me know if you recognize the place…
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.
Photo: Michael Mayer/ cc
The infamous Berlin club Berghain that has established itself as the number one mecca for enthusiasts of any kind of techno-infused celebrations is said to be opening a new floor called Säule (the German word for pillar). The feature that will distinguish the new area from the existing venues like Panorama Bar and the main floor will be the focus on darker, more experimental electronic sounds. Find out more about the new techno haven’s exact location and the announcement about its opening night after the jump.
When you visit one of the many abandoned places of Berlin you will most likely find traces of previous visits, or even habitation there. Squatters, ravers, sprayers, vandals, urban explorers. They all left their marks on these forgotten buildings of Berlin and contribute to the decay of what these places once were. If you’re lucky you might even find some traces of creativity there.
When I first stepped into the abandoned railroad yard in Pankow last summer I was amazed by the spectacular light inside the circular building that came in through the panoramic windows in the ceiling. The place itself was completely empty and pretty much devastated by vandalism. But within all the debris and decay I found golden confetti and feathers on the floor like a little glimmer of hope and joy. It looked like someone had a good time there not too long ago. Maybe a small party, or an euphoric photo shoot. Either way it was another trace of life in an otherwise dead place.
When I stumbled about the contemporary dance video titled “Ephemeral Rooms” by Ruben Reniers and Nora Vladiguerov that was shot in this location earlier this year I was reminded of my visit. Just like whoever left the golden confetti the two choreographers and dancers breathed some life into this abandoned place with their beautiful performance.
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.
photo: Denis Koone Kuhnert
Berlin is dynamic, Berlin loves to dance and Berlin loves to Vogue. So it comes as no surprise that the Voguing scene of Berlin is becoming more and more popular.
Originally from New York’s queer scene, Voguing is inspired by fashion runways. Exaggerated movements are being turned into fierce, strong, overacted self-presentations. The participants of the scene divide themselves into different “houses”, which are more of a family substitute than just a dance crew.
photos: Thai Hoang
Over the weekend I stumbled across an awesome photo series by Thai Hoang that I want to share with you today. Some of you might also know the young photographer from his Instagram account loewe7 that was also part of our #berlin exhibition last year. As part of the monthly Instameet #CamerasAndDancers organized by Jacob Jonas The Company Thai had the opportunity to follow a group of five dancers through Berlin and capture them in stunning formations in various iconic Berlin backgrounds. I love the idea of this Instameet, I love the guys from the group and I love the results of this photo shoot!
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.
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.