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.
A couple of weeks ago we showed you a fun music video with a guy dancing through the streets of Berlin. What was so special about it, was that the guy was not a young crazy party kid, but a slightly famous older gentleman: Günter Krabbenhöft. Certainly an unexpected sight, but a really enjoyable one as the success of the video shows. It was this feature that prompted yet another video submission that we received that has a related theme: it’s about an adorable couple of elderly dancers in their 70s.
Cities like Berlin are so obsessed with youth culture. It’s always about what’s young, what’s hip, what’s sexy. There seems to be some kind of ageism going on, because when it comes to the older generation things automatically become uncool. Why is that? Why can’t old people be cool, too? And why are we so afraid of aging? I think the answer is that there are not enough role models that prove wrong all the stereotypes of older people that we dread so much. We associate being old with being out of touch, being slow and sick, being opposed to any kind of change, being yesterday’s news. In a fast-paced world that is all about individualism and self-fulfillment, this really sounds like the most horrible thing that could happen to us.
Berlin in the 1950s: A time where dancing schools were omnipresent, skirts were long and women’s empowerment was still in the early stages. Often romanticized as the time with red lipstick, proper hairdo’s and gentlemen, it really was a time of change. The phase right after the war and into the economic miracle was a time of imposition. A time where the fight between prudery and emancipation often culminated in dancing schools that were pretty popular these days. And then Rock ‘n’ Roll came into town. And with it a sort of liberation in dance, that no one could stop.
This is exactly where the three-part series Ku’damm 56 takes place. The TV series from the German public service television ZDF revolves around young Monika Schöllack who, after improper behavior, has been expelled of home economics school (yep, that was a thing back then) back to her family in Berlin. Worried about Monika ever finding a husband her mother Caterina manages the dancing school ‘Galant’ on her own and is shocked when she finds out that Monika discovered Rock’n Roll. From then on, nothing stays the same.
The three-part series is well researched and tackles the subjects of female identity, the uprising wish for equality and the universality of human emotions. You can see the last part of the German series at ZDF this Wednesday at 20.15h or watch the whole series online here.
See a trailer right after the jump.
photos: Anna Rafeeva
Dance, when you’re broken open. Dance, if you’ve torn the bandage off. Dance in the middle of the fighting. Dance in your blood. Dance when you’re perfectly free. - Rumi
Sometimes, no matter how hard the surroundings – all you can do is dance. There are enough reasons no matter what the situation. Seems odd? But you can move forward lightly even on the hardest grounds. All you need is the right inner rhythm.
The photographs of Anna Rafeeva are dreamy, soft and powerful – what better location to place them then good old, rugged Berlin? In the midst of Friedrichshain and Kreuzberg, the photographer captured a Ballerina flying through Berlin and dancing away in front of colorful walls. See the beautiful shots right after the jump.
photos: Yan Revazov
Can contemporary ballet express a clear political message? How to express clear opinions of the status quo with such an abstract art form as dance? It might be a crazy challenge, but I am very glad that the new director of the Staatsballet Berlin Nacho Duato is once again going on a creative journey with the dance company to create impact on society and culture with his new piece “Herrumbre”. With it, he tries to elaborate on his own experience of the 2004 terrorist attacks in Madrid. Nacho Duato lived only a few hundred meters away from one of the four bombing locations. 2004 was also the year in which photos of tortured prisoners from the US prison camp Guantanamo went around the world.
Under these impressions, Duato decided to create a new work based on his experience with terror. In his choreography he wants to show the pain caused by terrorism and the brutality of war. With disturbing images of brutal humiliation, he wants to make us explore the darkness of our times. At the same time, he also wants his production to be a call for the respect of human dignity. After the jump we show you intimate images of the rehearsals. We are also giving away tickets for the upcoming shows.
photo: Francesca Camilla
In Berlin, you’re never too old or too young to rave. This is pretty much the message of this joyful new video starring Berlin’s hippest senior Günther Krabbenhöft, who you can see dancing and partying around town, with young and old. I love how this video shows the diverse side of the city: people with different backgrounds, even kids, just having a laugh and a good time together. It can be so simple and so sweet: that moment when you realize that we can all coexist peacefully together, with no racism, ageism, sexism and other bad “isms” and phobias. Berlin is a place where we can all be together and be who we really are without other people judging us. Let this feeling become even stronger in Berlin, because we have a few more things to overcome. But for now, let’s dance through the streets a bit like Günther here…
photo: Anna Agliardi
Last weekend the stage of HAU2 became an arena of incredible dance talents. Named after the groundbreaking movie from the 80s Paris is Burning, portraying the ballroom scene of New York’s black transgender communities, this weekend’s dance competition Berlin is Burning combined the voguing with hip hop dance community. Germany’s two urban dance festivals, Funkin’ Stylez and Berlin Voguing Out joined forces for a weekend of workshops, panel discussions and a phenomenal dance battle. Theater photographer Anna Agliardi went for us to HAU2 to take some photos. Check out her impressions after the jump.
photo: Marc Coudrais
Do you remember the good old days when the whole family went to the ballet to see the Nutcracker or Swan Lake for the holidays? At least in Germany it is a tradition on Christmas to go to the theater or to the ballet. Usually the Christmas program is very charming and family-friendly. If you have your parents coming to visit and want to experience this kind of theater I recommend you check out the program of Staatsballett and Komische Oper (but if you really want to go remember to book your tickets in advance)
The good thing in Berlin is that there is always the extreme opposite to all the typical German traditions. We found an unusual and intriguing selection of hot contemporary dance pieces and events coming up in the next few weeks, that we would like to present you here. The pieces after the jump might not be family friendly, but will definitely crack some nuts (in one way or another). Our list with photos and trailers after the jump.
When we think of our love to Berlin, we realize it has many different phases, faces and places. One of our favorite places is definitely “Kreuzkölln” – the areas of Kreuzberg and Neukölln surrounding the Landwehrkanal. What we love to do in Kreuzkölln ? Conquer it, by walking, biking, skating or dancing. We love the fast pace, the unfinished, the dirty, the truth, its charm, the clash of old and new and of course all the multicultural visitors that add the special something to this little melting pot. Kreuzkölln just doesn’t get boring and Clement Gino has put all our feelings for it and the fast beat of Kreuzkölln into a beautiful video that does not only embrace this particular area but all of Berlin. See for yourself after the jump…
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.