The contemporary dance piece “Half Life” by Sharon Eyal and Gai Behar that is performed by the Staatsballett Berlin takes the viewer to an abstract world where intensity is marking every gesture and every decision.
A driving electronic beat makes the half-naked bodies of the dancers pulsate almost trance-like. The whole ensemble moves in unison as if it was one organism totally in synch with the music. The sweat on their skin makes every muscle glisten in the minimal light in front of the black background. Even though the choreography heavily relies on repetition there is a lot of suspense building up and the relief that the viewers experience when one movement breaks out of the formation feels a lot like that delicious “beat drop” moment during an excessive techno club night.
What is remarkable about this piece is the ecstatic reaction of the audience at the end of the performance which is often greeted with standing ovations and screams and shouts. This is not exactly a typical reaction of the Berlin opera and ballet audience.
photos: Olga Khristolyubova.
How might the world be like if machines were kings and humans were slaves? If powers were shifted and the automatization would prevail over emotion? In her newest piece Rauschen which premiered last week, Sasha Waltz managed to create a kaleidoscopic dystopian nightmare. The main topic: the struggle of man against machine and the toxic way our society revolves around our egos.
For Sasha Waltz Rauschen is her first piece produced for the big stage of Volksbühne. A stage that has a lot of problematic theater history to carry. But her piece is time and spaceless. It does not need references to be emblematic on its own.
Collage: house of killing
When I met Frank, the founder of iHeartBerlin, 14 years ago he told me he had already written his own little series of books. I was super enthusiastic and asked him to borrow it to me. When he took one out of his bookshelf I was really surprised by what he gave me. It turned out to be a little self-printed booklet telling one self-written episode of The X Files. I knew the series from TV but didn’t understand what he was showing to me. Nowadays I know: He was writing fan fiction.
The idea of being such a fan of something that you dedicate your time and energy to write your own story happening in a certain fictional universe blew my mind. But also I have to admit that my surprise was followed by arrogance. This is not “real” literature I thought to myself. But why wasn’t it real? Because it was self-published? Because it wasn’t meant to be sold to anybody? Or because I did not appreciate the originality of it since the characters and the narrative-universe already existed?
Nowadays, I have a different perspective on fan fiction. I know that it is an authentic art form that is anti-capitalistic since it does not need to be financially successful. Also, it is often queer and feminist because many of the fans from the LGBTQ community create their own version of popular stories. A gay Harry Potter? A black Hermion Granger? Why not! The main purpose is the pleasure the fan community experiences in sharing their material. Did I get you intrigued with my story by now? I hope so!
How does the Apocalypse taste? What would you like to drink on the last night before the world ended? Maybe your choice would be Champagne? Or would it be a refined cocktail with a wildflower swimming in it?
The newest production Violetter Schnee by Staatsoper Unter den Linden is all about the end of the world. Five people are trapped inside a bunker and when they leave it to see if the world is alright they discover they are doomed forever.
The opera is inspired by the cult movie Solaris from Andrei Tarkowski where 3 men float in space around an enigmatic planet called Solaris. Since this movie from the 70s is rarely shown in public, together with Staatsoper we decided to create a unique night to present this nostalgic piece of cinematic art.
The beloved cozy Christmas atmosphere with all its lights, markets and holiday feels are gone, even the excitement and glitter of New Year’s Eve has faded. The new year leaves us longing for more happy celebrations, but instead, gloomy January has taken their place to spread his dreaded winter blues. I can’t tell you how bad it gets to me, every time. Since I was very quickly over Netflix and couch after the fourth night in the row, I thought about what other activities in Berlin could brighten up this dark January. So this list goes out to everyone suffering from the January blues – let’s get off the couch and have some fun!
When I read that the new theater piece Do the Right Thing by Ariel Efraim Ashbel was heavily inspired by Bauhaus I was already sold! Already I imagined the second coming of Oskar Schlemmer’s iconic Triadic Ballet. And indeed you will find a lot of references in the piece: costumes that are more objects than garments, sharp geometric shapes, bold prime colors, the grid pattern on the floor. Just like Schlemmer Ashbel questions the norms of theater of the time. His piece is so abstract, blurring the lines between performers, objects, lights, and the stage – everything seems to have an equal weight in the whole picture. While watching the piece it is all up to you to either just enjoy the almost ritualistic successions of movements in a space filled with color gradients that keep shifting back and forth, or you try to decipher the embedded details of the abstracted message of the title that you will find scattered all over the piece. Either way, you will be drawn in by powerful visuals and an even more captivating live soundtrack by Hacklander \ Hatam.
photo: Martin Argyroglo
During the month of October, the melodies of the iconic French composer Claude Debussy will blend with the lines of one of the emblematic American writer Edgar Allan Poe at the Staatsoper Berlin.
Usher is an unmissable music piece taken from Poe’s short story “The Fall of the House of Usher”, which greatly fascinated Debussy. However, the composer never managed to complete writing the opera. Treasuring its left behind materials on this project, the Belgian composer Annelies Van Parys, who has established her reputation as one of the most innovative contemporary composers, managed to complete his project and developed a fascinating chamber opera.
Can you imagine a neighborhood in Berlin with only one ethnic background? This is the case of Chatsworth, a part of Durban in South Africa. During Apartheid all the inhabitants with Indian roots had to move to one common neighborhood. There they got only small houses to live in. Through this measures, the government hoped that the community of Indians would not grow larger.
Enfant terrible of the dance theater scene – Constanza Macras – choose Chatsworth as the title and frame of her newest piece. Her particular style of documentary dance theater takes the audience through fragments of unique stories, local music, romantic songs and her signature group dance scenes.
Berlin wouldn’t be the melting pot brimming with inspiration that we love if it wasn’t for the international influences from expats that never cease to shape the city with their artistic vision. The time has come to highlight the creative masterminds in the Portuguese community in Berlin. Get ready to meet a diverse crew of uninhibited artists – photographers, writers, digital illustrators, musicians – who aren’t afraid to experiment and venture beyond the conventions. By the way, we’ve asked around and got the top recommendations on where to get Portuguese wine and their famous Pastel de Nata – make sure you scroll to the bottom!
Company Wayne McGregor
The Tanz im August Festival is back showcasing the immensely diverse world of contemporary dance on the stages of Berlin! From the August 10 to September 2 you’ll be able to enjoy and experience a wide range of dances throughout the city. From international productions by established creators to newcomers and world premieres. On top of that, the program also includes talks and workshops so the public can engage by participating and learn through action. And now, without further ado, we present you our selection of the 10 most exciting pieces from this edition of Tanz im August. Enjoy!