Freedom is a Raw Dance: Come as you are!

Come as you are # Berlin ∏ Anna Agliardi-7

photo: Anna Agliardi

The story begins like a typical Berlin fairytale: Three dancers from Syria, refugees, unwanted and threatened artist in their homeland, find a new destiny for themselves and their art in Berlin. With an Israeli choreographer that supports their dreams and helps them to find a new artistic way of expressing themselves putting their story on stage here in Berlin.

But the creative process behind Come as you are, the new piece from Nir de Volff, Medhat Aldaabal, Moufak Aldoabl and Amr Karkout, is much more complex than a fairytale. In several public rehearsals, the dancers and the choreographer invited the public to be part of the creation. A creation that was full of confrontations with the current political situation but also with deeply personal stories with little heartfelt banalities and the big big questions: What is the meaning of all this suffering? What is my body made for? And will I ever be free?

No easy answers to all of that, except maybe that dance is humanity’s most universal language and the key to understanding each other. No matter if we are German, Syrian, Jewish, Muslim, gay or straight. The dates and address and more beautiful pics by Anna Agliardi below.

Claudio by Claudio
on December 5th, 2017
in Theater

Dancing in the Neon Forest – Memory of Dislocation

Dancing in the Neon Forest – Memory of Dislocation

Berlin has become the home of many performance artists from around the world that find a space, opportunities, and connections here to create their own work. I often sit in the audience of these performances, and for me it feels like a privilege to be in contact with their creators. Listening and experiencing their stories from a foreign world is a unique way of traveling – more than anything else (of course with a little help of your imagination).

The dancer and choreographer Jair Luna takes you on journey to his homeland Colombia with his new solo piece Memory of Dislocation – Exactly the same in the opposite direction. In an abstract autobiographic narrative the young performer travels with his audience through light, space and time, from a Berlin dance floor to a forest of neon lights that seems like a beautiful yet dangerous cage, just to fall back in movements and stories from his hometown and childhood. You immediately feel like you are part of his storyline. You have to give up the passiveness, walk around the stage and just follow the path of a young man into his future.

Claudio by Claudio
on November 17th, 2017
in Art, Theater

Fleshless Beast: Killing your Demons with Dance

Fleshless Beast: Killing your Demons with Dance

Art is a form of compensation, while life is a source of continuous trauma. But is performative art like dance enough of a release to be therapeutic to the spectator and the performer alike? Either way, visiting Roderick George’s new piece “Fleshless Beast” at Sophiensaele feels like falling into an active group therapy session with an entire squad of hungry demons.

Movements that represents oppression, formations that create agony, gestures that mimic pressure. Some hidden, some full in your face. This piece brings you to a certain point of anxiety with different elements of dance, music, and words combined. Visually stimulating it feels like a rollercoaster ride for your senses where you are not a hundred percent sure what you experience.

“Eatin’ Asian pussy – all I need was sweet and sour sauce” is the only lyric I remember from ferocious Trap set by Lotic accompanying the performance. Both Roderick George and Lotic are from Texas and seem to tell more than just one story of all kinds of aggression and oppression. The result of all this agony creates an intense dance experience and poses the question how traumas can be dealt with by dancing. The piece is especially worth watching for the unusual combination of different dance styles such as ballet, hip hop, breakdance and voguing with a trippy DJ set. A photographic preview and the dates after the jump.

Claudio by Claudio
on October 26th, 2017
in Theater

Highness: The Woman as Queen on the Stage of Sophiensaele

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photo: Anna Agliardi

Being a woman is a constant performance. I know that from my mother, sister, friends and coworkers. Some men enjoy this performance from the distance, others think that this performance is an invitation. Some overstep the boundaries and take advantage of their power. No shock in that, unfortunately.

But what if women would take a position of power all over different pillars of our society? What if women would become the queens they deserve to be? How would our world change then? The new theater dance piece Highness talks about these and some other questions around the role of the woman in our society. The Australian performer Melanie Jame Wolf takes the stage as her kingdom and creates a world of her own. With a powerful solo performance she captures her struggles and intimate feelings all in one intense hour. Her beauty is intimidating and here power seducing. Still, you kind of wish that all these different roles of women, the queen, the whore, the hag – all created by men would stop existing. Check out some beautiful pictures by Anna Agliardi and the dates of the upcoming shows at Sophiensaele after the jump.

Claudio by Claudio
on October 25th, 2017
in Theater

A Dance on the Rubbles of the Abandoned Blub Water Park

Dancing at Abandoned Blub Berlin

One year after the burning down of the Blub, the coolest water park Berlin ever had  that was shut down in 2005, this cute music video, “The Ballad of Shelley and Hamza”, is bound to bring back memories both to those who used to have fun at the water slides in the 80s and 90s, as well as to us who visited it when it was already abandoned. “The Ballad of Shelley and Hamza” tells the story of two people, who, on their way to find themselves, they found each other; It is an entirely imagined, unconventional cross-continental love song about 2 friends from university, performed by James McBreen and recorded on a boat on the River Spree. In the music video, the two performers dance all over the abandoned place and through their moves they bring it back to life. Coincidentally, it was filmed only 2 weeks before Blub was burnt down last July. It’s a collaborative project between Overland Originals and Kopper Kollektiv, both Berlin-based creative production companies. The dancers, Berlin-based Samuel Olatidoye from Italy and Natalie Deryn Johnson from New York, met only 10 minutes before they started filming, James told us, but looks like they managed to find their common rhythm pretty fast.

Stella by Stella
on July 18th, 2017
in Music, Videos

A Dark World of Dance – Kreatur by Sasha Waltz

A Dark World of Dance – Kreatur by Sasha Waltz

What if the ugly side of our society could be born into this world in flesh and bone? Fear, envy, and aggressiveness become living creatures that torture, kill and feed on all of us? This nightmarish vision is what you can expect from the new avant-garde dance piece Kreatur by acclaimed choreographer Sasha Waltz at Radialsystem.

The Berlin-based choreographer hasn’t show any new dance piece in Berlin for 12 years now and her comeback is highly anticipated but also critically observed. The reason: her future role as director of the Staatsballett Berlin which caused quite some controversy in the last year.

With Kreatur she definitely showed her critics what she is capable of. Showing transgression, darkness, pain without being obvious or superficial. Especially with the amazing costumes by iconic Dutch avant-garde designer Iris van Herpen Sasha Waltz evokes a turmoil of demons and sinners lost in a world of sterility and artificial light.

Claudio by Claudio
on June 14th, 2017
in Art, Theater

Dancing the Essence of Berlin

Frenesi 2

Works of art that combine unique, atmospheric movement with Berlin as their setting always catch our eye: it is with pleasure that we introduce to you our recent discovery, the Berlin-made Frantics Dance Company, through their super cool new video, FRENESI.

FRENESI, Spanish for frenzy, ‘a violent exaltation of a feeling or a passion’, was created through the collaboration of the dance group with the director Derek Pedros. Inspired by Berlin’s raw beauty and darkness, FRENESI takes us all around Berlin, shot at different locations like the Gretchen club, Marameo, Theatre Stahl and Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm Center, taking us on a journey through the dancers’ captivating energy.

Stella by Stella
on May 8th, 2017
in Videos

Dancing Against the End of the World

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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.

Claudio by Claudio
on April 19th, 2017
in Theater

A Breakdance Session in a Lost Place of Berlin

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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…

Frank by Frank
on March 21st, 2017
in Videos

Dance\\\Ruption: Breaking the Rules of Classic Dance

Dance Ruption 4

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.

Claudio by Claudio
on March 2nd, 2017
in Art, Photos, Theater