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.
Our new guest contributor and talented photographer Ole Ukena has a very unique way of exploring and viewing the world surrounding us. For iHeartBerlin.de he discovered a totally different side of Fusion Festival, far away from the big dance floors and main stages. Enjoy his captivating pictures and his thoughts.
It’s been 4 years since my last Fusion. It’s been quiet a journey with this festival which started in 1997. Like most festivals it started really small and it’s goal is to create a “parallel society” without borders, vacation communism (Ferienkommunismus) as they call it. You can dive in on many different levels, watch acrobatics, learn finnish tango, dance to techno, discover amazing bands from all parts of the world, watch art installations or just get as fucked up as possible and stumble around. The choice is yours. More pictures and thoughts after the jump.
photo: Gabriel Zucca
After the Boris Charmatz perfomance last weekend another incredible dance highlight is waiting for you to be discovered this week. From the courtly idyll that sets the scene to the clean, spare vision of a perfect world, the Israeli choreographer Hofesh Shechter creates a frenetic abandon combined with the unbend power of moving chaos. With its powerful, virtuoso choreography, the production touches the dark sides not only of bygone colonial times, but also of our own. An expanded company of 14 dancers is accompanied by an eclectic soundtrack that includes original music by Shechter himself. The Foreign Affairs Festival brings us this master piece of modern dance, which should not be missed by dance enthusiast and theater lovers. After the jump you find the trailer, the dates and more pictures.
On a cloudy Saturday afternoon I took my new bike to the Sowjet Monument of Honor at Treptower Park. This time not for a normal bike trip though. The Foreign Affairs Festival is in town and celebrates the arts of music dance and theater bringing rare pearls of contemporary culture from all over the world to Berlin.
One chapter of the festival is contributed by Boris Charmatz and his Dancing Museum. This artistic association tries to document, preserve and work with art history in an unusual way. Questioning the potential of remembering the historic background, the dancers and the essentials of the choreography itself, Charmatz created a diverse parcours across 20th century dance history. The dances ranging from Meyerhold’s biomechanics, folk dance and Vogueing to contemporary dance where shown and explained by the dancers themselves. This way they became art pieces, curators and museum guides in one person. Impression from the dancers and some short thoughts after the jump.
photos: Florian Braun
Retrospectives are usually more of a common thing for older, established artists and do not fit the usual style of the fast changing league of Berlin’s avant-garde. But it seems that looking back has become the new fast forward in this town. In the case of the dancing duo Jared Gradinger and Angela Schubot we really don’t mind to see a retrospective of all their work they have done so far at the HAU Theater. Gradinger has also created the little fluffy Pictoplasma monsters we love so much and gathered some international reputation working with Costanza Macras in the past. I prefer there earlier pieces like Is Maybe to the latest, but make up your mind for yourself. Check out the Facebook event for all the details. More hot dancing pictures after the jump.