Shots Fired

Cia Vero Cendoya’s “Bogumer (or Children of Lunacharski)” was shown at HAU1 on 17 November 2022, as part of the NO LIMITS – Disability & Performing Arts Festival Berlin. It asks the question: once the boss has been fired (literally), who is left running the show?

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Restive Bodies

In Sergiu Matis’ “UNREST”, shown from 02 – 05 November 2022 as part of the FEMINIST FUTURES FESTIVAL from Tanzfabrik Berlin, ancient myths resonate through a cavernous industrial space, and are taken up as a material to question both the nature and the future of humanity. 

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Rearranging Time

What happens when tomorrow becomes yesterday? In “Über Überüberübermorgen” (About the day after the day after the day after tomorrow), a science fiction journey through time that premiered on 6 October 2022 at FELD Theater für junges Publikum, Cécile Bally and Cathy Walsh investigate the future — with the help of their audience, which welcomes anyone 5 years of age and up.

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Longing for Mountains: Interspecies Performance Experiments

Barbara Berti’s “Zone of Acceptance” premiered at Uferstudios from 25 – 28 August 2022. Dance collective Mapped to the Closest Address first showed “Turn off the house lights” at Cordillera Raum für Körper und Utopien on 4 March and 21 May, and a new version from 18 August – 11 September in Japan as part of the Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale in conjunction with their installation, “We like to watch clumsy-seeming mountains.” Both projects have evolved, and continue to evolve, out of collaboration and experimentation undertaken by humans with nonhumans: dogs, cats, plants, and landscapes.

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Grounding Ballet: In Conversation with Adam Linder

Calling from a cab on the way to the airport, the Los Angles-come-Berlin-based choreographer Adam Linder talks to Liza Weber about his new work “Loyalty” and renovating in the ruins of ballet. Shown at the Tanz Im August festival from the 25 to 26 August 2022, “Loyalty” was performed in three acts just like any ballet but proved, on several counts, unlike any ballet.

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The ‘I’ of Cyclops

“Cyclops”, conceptualized and directed by Zé de Paiva, shows us incomplete abundant fleeting images through his viewfinder. We see images of ourselves and those of de Paiva and co-performer Nasheeka Nedsreal in their avatars as cyborg-ed Cyclops. Images direct and challenge the narrative in this performance that was shown at Ballhaus Naunynstraße.  

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Blood, Sweat & Talent

Watching the premiere of Florentina Holzinger’s “Ophelia’s Got Talent”, I was reminded of an essay I once wrote that, using Ophelia in Shakespeare’s ‘Hamlet’ as an example, argued how women were drawn in fainter lines than their male counterparts. Nowhere is this further from the truth than in Holzinger’s show, which takes a fat marker pen to her name and, indeed, the name of every woman that has ever lived in her wake. Premiering on 15 September 2022 at Volksbühne am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz, “Ophelia’s Got Talent” opened the season with a celebration of womanhood that shouldn’t be missed.

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Caring for the Space

Anajara Amarante’s “Butching Cowboys” played at Sophiensæle as part of the Queering the Crip, Cripping the Queer Festival from 15 – 17 September 2022. Part of the festival’s larger creation of an intersectional queer-crip space, the performance modeled care for everyone in the room.

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Aural Rorschach

In Die Hörposaune, Werner Hirsch (alias Antonia Baehr) and Jule Flierl drive audiences into a sonic exploration of bodies, objects, and textures. Without saying a single word in a recognisable language, they communicate a scholastic enterprise that is both serious and humorous at the same time. The performance premiered at the 1929-built silent-cinema theatre, Theater im Delphi in Berlin-Weißensee.

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To Dare to Create

“No. 60”, choreographed by Pichet Klunchun, sensually and systematically moves the edges of Thai Khon dance. By unpacking the traditional form and tapping into instincts from the head, heart, and gut, it democratises it and sets it free for new creative impulses. The work was shown at HAU2 as part of Tanz Im August 2022. 

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Don’t Blink

Marrugeku’s “Jurrungu Ngan-ga / Straight Talk” played at the Haus der Berliner Festspiele from 5 – 7 August 2022 as part of Tanz im August. Choreographed by Dalisa Pigram with direction and dramaturgy by Rachael Swain, it staged a ‘prison of the mind’ that was a call not to pity people suffering far away, but rather to wake up to the deadly incoherencies we live with here and now.

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The Art of Staying With the Subtle

I sit here with my finger poised on the keyboard, wondering how to begin writing about “H_SPACE_H” by Isabel Lewis and Sissel Tolaas with Solistenensemble Kaleidoskop and Ethan Braun. When words fail to come forth, I bury my face in the denim jeans I had worn the day of this durational performance (30 July 2022) near E-WERK Luckenwalde. An amalgamation of the many smells from the multi-site performative intervention still seem to linger in the fabric. My tongue is tickled by the memory of them, and questions tumble out.

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A Circle in a Square Place

Set up by Galerie Wedding – Raum für Zeitgenössische Kunst, as part of Movement Research ACROSS, the “Flexible Colour Circle”, an inhabitable outdoor stage, offered a space for performances and encounters over two extended weekends in June. Dabke Community Dancing” by Medhat Aldaabal and Adel Sabawi, presented by Sasha Waltz & Guests and Berlin Mondiale, was part of the curation at this site.

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Tell Me Another Story

On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of opening their Kreuzberg studio, laborgras (Renate Graziadei and Arthur Stäldi) showed “Er… Sie… und andere Geschichten from 2 – 6 June 2022. In conversation, laborgras shared both a deeper insight into this work and a longer view of their decades as a collective.

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This Gleich and that Gleich are not the same

People of all genders are equal. Everyone is equal. EQUAL! EEEEEKWALLLL! Isn’t it clear by now? “EQUALITY!”, a duet by Compagnie Lindh & Weingartner is made for young audiences and brings to the stage the age-old discussion on equal-ness among genders. Presented at the opening of PURPLE – 6. Internationales Tanzfestival für junges Publikum at Uferstudios on 31 May 2022, the performance insists on its point in no less than all-caps followed by a firm fist of an exclamation mark.

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Back on Stage

Following two years of pandemic-induced runarounds in the digital sphere, the A.PART Festival is returning to ada Studio and providing a stage for the young Berlin dance scene. On 6/7 and 13/14 May 2022, contemporary choreography by dance students and alumni were performed under the title “ONSTAGEPLEASE!”.

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Atunwa

In “Re:INCARNATION”, The QDance Company from Lagos, Nigeria, celebrated their German premiere on 14 May at Potsdamer Tanztage 2022 with a joy so infectious that the audience couldn’t help but giggle, applaud, and, when the dancers returned for an encore, answer their call, “Oggy, oggy, oggy?” with “Oi, oi, oi!”. It was as if the Hans Otto Theater had been turned into a festival stage and a song and dance had been made about the Yorùbá belief system in the cycles of life — of birth, life, death, and rebirth — both literally and figuratively speaking. 

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Coming Full Circle

In “M.O.S.T”, an acronym for “My Ongoing Silent Transcendence”, which ran from the 15 to 30 April 2022 at the Pfefferberg Theater Berlin, dance company Chaim Gebber-Open Scene plots a timeline of events that chart, in the company’s own words, “universal and personal transformations.” As the choreography suggests, such transformations are not always linear, but rather cyclical in nature, where the dancers find themselves ending up much where they left off — with the ongoing silent transformation of the self.

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High Space, Low Space

“We Are Going to Mars: A Choreographic Concert” by Company Christoph Winkler, playing from 7 to 10 April 2022 at Sophiensæle, is a kaleidoscope of music, movement, and image that locates the final frontier within its audience as well as beyond the reaches of the Earth’s atmosphere.

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Performing Decolonisation Is One Thing, Decolonisation Another

In an interview with Jana Lüthje, curator of the participatory dance project Moving the Forum at the Humboldt Forum, the question of if, and how, the institution was implementing change proved inevitable and, ultimately, inconclusive. The third of its four chapters called “Inhabiting” ran from 14 Feb to 26 March 2022, with the final chapter, “Interacting”, set to span 2 May to 11 June 2022.

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Ecstasy in Pose

TANZPLATTFORM 2022 >>> Choy Ka Fai entangles ballroom and Shamanism, bodies and technology in “Yishun is Burning“ (HAU2, 16./17. March 2022). This text was written as part of a two-day tanzschreiber writing workshop during Tanzplattform 2022 and under the direction of Mareike Theile, Johanna Withelm, and Alex Hennig. Inspired by a passion for writing and an exchange about dance and dance critique, the authors had an opportunity to challenge and expand their own writing practice. Text: Alica Minar.


“I leave the theater and realize that the colors of the city appear much more vibrant. My sensitivity is heightened. I hear the beats of Berlin’s turbulent rhythm and feel connected to a different world metropolis. I’ve been transported to Yishun, Singapore. I am proud of what the contemporary scene has to offer and how dance builds bridges, opens the doors to freedom of expression.”

Choy Ka Fai embarked on a journey to Yishun with dancer Sun Phitthaya Phaefuang (Amazon Sun) to participate in multi-religious celebrations. They transport this experience and research for the piece in a contemporary context and interconnect movement material and transcendence with voguing, ballroom, queerness, and multi-media.

By examining the relationship between Shamanism and dance, Choy Ka Fai taps into a colorful world between here and there, between now and then. He offers us a whole series of realities. An elaborate dramaturgy, divided into smaller parts, creates a complex albeit comprehensible composition in which the various worlds may encounter each other.

The viewers can marvel at a whole range of technologies, including live-streaming and pre-recorded videos, combined with the analog dance performance by Amazon Sun and instructions by Choy Ka Fai. Technology does not play the role of fancy tool. Instead, it is a useful and indispensable cornerstone of the performance.

The stage becomes a setting when the scent of incense and the introduction of the members of the live band from Singapore reach the senses. The documentary film on the one-week Shamanism celebration ritual exudes smoke and steam from the screen into the theater.

Interviews with a Shaman and a dancer question the relationship to body, sexuality, and transcendence. Sun sees the connection between Shamanism and ballroom as a gender performance that makes surmounting the body’s own limits and attributes, and even the human condition, a possibility. We are offered the opportunity to experience the role of gods and kings and queens in Shamanism and in the ballroom, without prejudice or interpretation.

As if simultaneously both here and there, we see the main dancer, Amazon Sun, traveling back and forth between documentary film material from a past time and the analog performance of today. Imagination fully unfolds as Sun, dressed in blinking, neon, sensory jewels, engages in a playful, circular dialog with his six-armed god-like avatar on the screen. How far can our being expand? Is there even a limit on possible modulations?

A ritual electric party beat accompanied by shrill text reveals the polyphonic call of Yishun. The show reaches its final climax as three voguers enter the stage and present a ballroom event while dancing to 80s disco songs. The analogy to the film “Paris Is Burning” is now fully appreciated.

“Yishun is Burning” is an ode to the freedom of expression and a prayer for an expanded awareness of ourselves. A diverse, energetic, well cut, and nevertheless respectful journey to the celebratory rituals of our times, where tradition and hyper-reality meet.

English translation by Melissa Maldonado

Photos: “Yishun is Burning” by Choy Ka Fai © Singapore Arts Museum


“Yishun is Burning” by Choy Ka Fai was shown on 16 & 17 March at HAU2, in frame of the Tanzplattform Deutschland 2022.


Concept, Documentation and Direction: Choy Ka Fai / Dramaturgy: Tang Fu-Kuen / Spiritual Presence: Kali and Kuan Yin / Choreography and Dance Performance: Sun Phitthaya Phaefuang / Sound Design and Musical Performance: NADA (Rizman Putra & Safuan Johari) and Cheryl Ong / 3D Visual Design and Technology: Brandon Tay / Visual Artist: Sven Gareis / telematique / Light Design, Installation, Technical Direction: Ray Tseng / Technical Direction Singapore Studio: ARTFACTORY / Stage Management: Sanja Gergorić / Touring Administration: Tammo Walter / Production Manager: Mara Nedelcu / Guest Dancers: Magia Prodigy, Loki, Pavka, Jade Mugisha

Sit-Stay. Re-envisioned.

TANZPLATTFORM 2022 >>> At Radialsystem, Antje Pfundtner in Gesellschaft performed the solo “Sitzen ist eine gute Idee (“Sitting is a good idea”) on 16 and 17 March. These two texts were written as part of a two-day tanzschreiber writing workshop during Tanzplattform 2022 and under the direction of Mareike Theile, Johanna Withelm, and Alex Hennig. Inspired by a passion for writing and an exchange about dance and dance critique, the authors had an opportunity to challenge and expand their own writing practice. Texts: Heike Brunner, Doreen Markert.

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tanzschreiber articles about Tanzplattform Deutschland 2022 in Berlin

All reviews can be read here >>> From 16 to 20 March, the Tanzplattform Deutschland 2022 in Berlin, hosted by HAU Hebbel am Ufer, brings together 13 current and remarkable positions of dance and choreographic creation. Authors and guest authors from the Tanzbuero Berlin’s online review portal tanzschreiber are reviewing the 13 pieces selected for the Tanzplattform 2022 on tanzschreiber.de. Individual texts are written by the participants of the tanzschreiber writing workshop “Texte in Bewegung” under the direction of Mareike Theile, Johanna Withelm and Alex Hennig.

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There Is No Return After War

They say there should be five acts to any tragedy: 1) Exposition, 2) Rising Action, 3) The Climax, 4) Falling Action, and 5) Resolution. But then, this in no Ibsen or Shakespeare. This is Sasha Waltz & Guests, and this is a symphony of four movements. Which is to say, there is no resolution to be found in “SYM-PHONIE MMXX”, which had its world premiere on 13 March 2022 and next shows on 18 and 19 March at the Staatsoper Unter den Linden Berlin.

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Dream With Me

TANZPLATTFORM 2022 >>> In “CASCADE” by Meg Stuart / Damaged Goods, running 24-26 February at HAU Hebbel am Ufer, a collective dream of time becomes reality — or was real all along? The show is one of the selected performances of Tanzplattform Deutschland 2022 and will appear again 19 & 20 March at the Volksbühne.

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An Interplay Between Dance and Music

The performance series NAH DRAN (CLOSE TO), which began in 2007, has once again presented three new pieces by young Berlin choreographers. They were performed live on 22 & 23 January 2022 at ada Studio and were subsequently available as a video stream for four days. Wholly different in image and sentiment, all pieces were characterized by a sphere of sound, which functioned as a significant element of the choreographic happening on the stage.

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