photos: Bettina Stöß
While growing up in East Germany but coming from Italy, I had quite the strange childhood experience. I was the first kid with a “migrant” background at my school and everybody treated my like some sort of alien (even if my father is German). I remember one of my teachers touching my hair and looking into my eyes and saying: You are like the “little Muck” from the fairytales from Thousand and one Nights. She had never seen a kid with my skin and hair color before. Personally, I was always a little attracted by the ancient Arabic world, the beautiful illustration and wonderful symetrie of the architecture. Also, I know from several sources that sex was not always a tabu topic in the Arabic culture. I think the famous book One thousand and one Nights is actually the most obvious proof that there where once more playful sexual behaviours then nowadays in the Arabic culture.
The recently premiered ballett The Nights by the Staatsballett Berlin is showcasing several choreographies inspired by One Thousand and One Nights by the same choreographer who chreated the amazing Snowhite Ballet. Read my impressions of this ballet after the jump.
photo: Enrico Nawrath
Sometimes a dance or theater piece is simply so amazing that it seems impossible to write a review that would measure up to the experience of seeing the piece. Still, I will try to make the effort, because I have to recommend to you the Open Square, a piece by Itzik Gallili at the Staatsballett Berlin.
The whole piece is a post-modern celebration of lights and shadows reflecting on the human body. I never saw a choreographic work that would use the postures and movements of ballet and was capable of creating a different context. Open Square is not just a dance piece, but more a ritual. A magic that demands to bend the limits of the human body and leave the constraints of our mind. The world premiere by the Israeli choreographer is a fierce move for the company in a more unconventional direction and it proves to be the right step to take. Everyone who is usually afraid of girls in tutu and boys in leggings should venture into the ballet world by seeing Open Square. It will open your mind like a box of Pandora and make you forget all prejudices and retentions you might have towards this form of art. More impressions and dates after the jump.
photo: Dario Jacopo Lagana
For great contemporary dance you do not only need amazing performers but also a good space. Luckily our favourite independent theater Sophiensaele has probably one of the most central and beautiful dance stages in town. In terms of dancers you can be sure that inhouse curators like Peter Pleyer (whom we already interviewed before) know where to find the craziest and most talented characters the international dance scene has to offer.
These are just some of the reasons I am excited about the current Tanztage Berlin Festival that present a diverse program full of surprises from January 4-14, 2013. The focus of this year’s edition are the “wild children” of dance in town, meaning the dancers and choreographers that don’t have a typical university degree in dance or choreography but are coming from another context which obviously influences their work. I think this already shows how open-minded the Sophiensaele work. The whole festival is suited also for a Non-German speaking audience. Some recommendations after the jump.
photo: Bernhard Musil
Contemporary dance is a lot of things: beautiful, inspiring, energetic, traumatic and sometimes boring. But it is almost never funny. Unless you are watching a piece of Nir de Volff collective Total Brutal. The performances of the Israeli choreographer who started his Berlin career by making crazy pieces in Dock 11 at Kastanienallee never lost their black and outrageous humor. So maybe it is not a cliché after all that Jews have a good sense of humor. Anyway, his new pieces premiering this week at Sophiensaele does not only have some sexy dancers to show off, but also a very intense topic. Two cities – Berlin and Tel Aviv – struggling with financial issues and political troubles have a hard time to work on their future. Its young inhabitants dance their pain away instead of worrying about the problems. Inside a vibrant nightclub 5 dancers meet and talk about their fears of the future. Reminiscent of the Golden 20s the nightclub transforms into a cabaret of anxiety. Photos and dates after the jump.
Dani Brown was one of the performers and (actually also the choreographer) from one of the dance pieces from the Gemisches Doppel festival at Sophiensaele a few weeks ago. She was also one of our lovely ice cream models for our GIF installation we did for the festival. This coming Monday the talented and charismatic lady will host a lapdance workshop together with sound artist Gael Cleinow as part of the Tanzland festival at the Ponderosa, an artist cooperative at a farm in Brandenburg. We think it’s an amazing opportunity to learn how to lapdance from such a great contemporary dancer, especially in the surroundings of an artist-run farm house. It’s certainly going to be a super unique experience. And your boy/girlfriend or your next date will certainly get one hell of a performance by you… Some more infos about it after the jump.
Being a contemporary dance curator sounds like a dream job to me. You travel from one festival to another seeing the best (or at least some good) dance performances all over the world and decide which one to invite to your own theater. Since I don’t own a theater myself and maybe lack a little bit of expertise for being hired from one to do that, I can at leasr speak to a person who is actually living their (and my) dream. Peter Pleyer, dance co-curator of the Sophiensæle is a well known flamboyant personality from the contemporary dance scene in town. For his recent project: Gemischtes Doppel he and Franziska Werner, the artistic director of Sophiensæle, just decided to bring together all their favorite dance pieces they saw in several festivals. Rather than being a proper dance festival with a topic or a general concept Gemischtes Doppel is his personal best-of playlist of 2012 and 2013. After the jump he gives us a personal introduction to his selection.
“To collect photographs is to collect the world,” says Susan Sontag in her essay On Photography. With digital photography and web applications like Instragram this statement seems even more concrete and even more dangerous. The constant creating of images is also an attempt to depict a subjectiv reality. The camera and its voyeuristic function is the theme of the dance piece “Schau mich an und lächle” at the Theater im Aufbauhaus. Based on Susan Sontag essay the Kinetic Dance Company explores the power, beauty and brutality of photography. Find out the dates and the address after the jump.
At the end of last week Halloween sort of came back again unexpectedly with a special haunted house performance titled fernsehensüchtig by Justin Kennedy at the parish hall of the church at Immanuelkirchstrasse. Unlike most of the rather less scary haunted houses that I have seen at and around Halloween, this one was quite different, very elaborate with many different scenes, actors and performers, and truly scary and disturbing. Obviously a large portion of the walk-though performance took place in darkness or with very little lighting, so I was forced to photograph with flash which might take a bit away from the actual atmosphere in the pictures. Nevertheless I would like to give you a small tour of this crazy haunted house with some photos and a couple of GIF animations. Hold your breath and walk into the darkness after the jump.
After my religious Halloween costume I was totally in the mood for a religious fashion film this week. The impressive new film G(o)od + (D)evil by Chris Turner for Twenty6 Magazine is just the right thing. Enjoy diabolic dance moves and holy fashion after jump.
Today in our Cinéma de Mode we have an amazing fashion film directed by Paul Gore for Test Magazine and British Menswear designer Martine Rose. It’s a really impressive dance performance that includes classical ballet dance, breakdance, modern dance, contortion and some kickboxing moves. Even though the video is shot in a way you wouldn’t notice it, the dance performance is actually done by 6 different guys. Very nifty! Enjoy after the jump.