Where can we dance?

Entering K77 Studio for the “AMALGAM SoloFest”, as part of PAF festival, is like stepping into a whirlwind. Bodies are scattered across the space, some sitting, others standing, some group together facing in the same direction, others split off independently to tend to organisational matters. With no clear stage area, the audience has no choice other than to be just as active as the members of the collective. Each solo requires us to rearrange our stools, in order to reset, reposition and reorganise the conditions for action. It seems we are all performers in this haphazard reshuffling of focus.

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Interview Series: Tanzhybriden – Clément Layes

From brooms, buckets, and boxes to chairs that snap like scissors of their own accord, Clément Layes creates choreographies with everyday objects. The on-stage element of his latest research, “The Emergency Artist” (2018), is set against the backdrop of a large, wooden angle, bent at ninety degrees. Half-way through the piece, the structure is turned and three black-clad performers unexpectedly appear. With no secrets to the ‘behind the scenes’ of his performative structures, I wanted to find out more about his process of making.

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Three Thoughts on The Triadic Ballet

“Das TriadischeBallett” is a Bauhaus classic. Oskar Schlemmer’s sculptural costumes and mechanical choreography – based on the influential school’s modernist principles of uniting colour and form – are set to a squealing, post-war composition by Hans-Joachim Hespos. The Potsdamer Tanztage celebrated one hundred years of Bauhaus with a tribute to this seminal piece, enlivened by the 1977 version of the choreography by Gerhard Bohner, and embodied by the Bayerische Junior Ballett München.

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Interview Series: Tanzhybriden – Tim Etchells

Tim Etchells has ventured into almost every art form under the sun. As director of theatre collective Forced Entertainment, he has made more than 50 performance works over the past 30 years. Alongside performance, his works have included writing projects, neon sculptures, drawings, photography, video and sound works, and a novel. I was interested to find out what such a prolific, genre-defying artist would have to say about making art.

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Interview Series: Tanzhybriden – Manon Parent

In the Berlin Freie Szene, multidisciplinary approaches are the new normal. It is not uncommon for dancers to train in-depth in more than one art form and bring their acquired skill-sets to the stage. Sometimes, the switch from one to the other discipline even happens within the same performance. Manon Parent is both dancer and musician: in the final scene of Sergiu Matis’s latest piece, she seamlessly alternates between complex movement sequences and playing classical violin. Captivated by her authentic stage presence and virtuosity in both crafts, I invited her to take part in Tanzhybriden, a series of interviews researching multidisciplinary approaches to performance.

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Shuffle, repeat, play

Sandwiched between ascending tribunes, the stage is open and white. Large, wooden slabs are lying flat on the ground like abandoned kids’ bicycles, ready to be picked up and ridden at will. One performer, female, dressed in dark, everyday clothes, flips a chair upright and takes a seat. Three other performers are scattered across the space, as if they have landed in their positions by the roll of a dice. The tension in the room is tangible as all eyes are directed towards her.

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No Rules

NAH DRAN, ada Studio’s long-running performance series, is a space for experimentation. The format features multiple works in progress and, in a true spirit of openness, encourages emerging artists to take the plunge and bring their ideas to the stage.

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Messengers of Hope(lessness)

Watching Sergiu Matis and his dancers move is a bit like being hit by a double-decker bus – many  times, in just a matter of seconds. Bodies crash to the floor or glide through the air, expanding in full flow orpin-pointing the focus, razor-sharp, on a single finger. Each gesture is a statement and each statement is precisely where it needs to be. Crystal clear, the split-second changes materialise as though in a near-death experience: every action could be the final one before it all ends. And it has all ended – or at least, nature has – in the first scene of Matis’s dystopian epic “Hopeless”. In the stripped-back, stark setting of a post-apocalyptic future, the performers address audience members directly, looking them in the eyes as they describe the disappearance of endangered species. They seem to be backed up by scientific knowledge, yet the three tell different versions of the same story. Perhaps this is the post-truth thoughtscape we are headed towards, where fiction is just as valid as fact?

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