Sasha Waltz: Rauschen – The Machine can hear you dance

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.


In the first part of the piece, she sketches a world where humans are the patients of a mental asylum lead by machines. Where computer voices start automatic programs while the dancers try to escape routines and artificial surfaces. Waltz is creating dense atmospheres with a minimum of elements. In my head, I saw a whole Hollywood production like Westworld or Gattaca recreated in a gesture or a movement of a dancer.



The second part is a tribal celebration of forgotten rituals of the past. While the back wall was sprayed on with water that made it turn black, women and men danced with long black skirts that reminded me of the Turkish dervishes circling around.

Rauschen is like a patchwork carpet. Piece by piece glued together by a strong aesthetic. Yet every element of it has appeared before in some way. The only thing that made the piece less tangible as her work at Radialsysteme is the less intimate atmosphere of the big stage. Seeing the sweat of a dancer and the contraction of every muscle up close is a pleasure a big stage with a large distance to the audience cannot provide, unfortunately.




Rauschen by Sasha Waltz

October 24, 25, 26 at 20h and October 27 at 18h (2019)

Volksbühne am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz, Linienstraße 227, 10178 Berlin

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