The piece Yebo Yes! by dancers from the company Afia is celebrating its premiere in Germany on 24 May 2024 at fabrik Potsdam during Potsdamer Tanztage. It is as moving as it is thought-provoking.

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Those Who Never Take Root. A Performative Archive of the Queer Asian Diaspora

For Floating Roots (9 – 12 May 2024, Tanzfabrik, revival), Inky Lee interviewed 17 1.5 and 2nd generation Asian and queer immigrants. Six of them are together on stage with two Deaf performers.

I am looking at a stage that is never still. There is a constant coming and going. Someone is always running in a circle, with thumping steps. Someone else is moving, slowly creeping, also in a circle, in the opposite direction. Or from one corner to another. Or around another person, without losing sight of them. I look left, then right, then left again. I try to grasp what is happening, what seems like soberly performed movements that appear aimless. Endless light changes immerse everything in blue, then pink, then yellow, blue, pink, yellow, etc.

The restlessness on stage washes over me like a wave. Along with a collage of accounts of migration, discrimination, loneliness and the feeling of neither belonging to the “old” nor the “new homeland”, which are the soundtrack of the piece, the performance makes me feel increasingly fatigued. And yet, this state of exhaustion probably does not even come close to how the gruelling process of years of fighting for asylum or the constant confrontation with sometimes crude and at other times subtle racist statements actually feels. I am spared all that as a white woman in Germany. Tonight, I am invited to witness the stories of those who are not able to take root anywhere and perhaps understand a bit of their rootlessness and restlessness.

©Ceren Saner

It touches on, for example, how parents send their eight week old child to Shanghai with its grandmother so they can work in Germany. Because there is no time to take care of a child. Or a teenager who stands in front of a mirror kneading its face in the hopes of achieving a smaller nose and larger eyes. Inky Lee’s performers, who are the source of some of these stories, are on stage for the first time and only for this piece. Bound by a neon yellow rope, they move towards one another in shifting constellations. Connections are made, stretched to their limits, and cut off. Groups arise and peter out. For long stretches of the piece, I find it hard to connect what they are doing with what I am hearing. But then there are also those moments during which the precarious constellations of bodies, like a family constellation, correlate with the narratives blaring over the loudspeaker or enter into a productive, inharmonious relationship. Moments which I would have liked to see more of.

Sometimes the voices from the tape falter and burst into tears. One of the two Deaf performers, who are able to express with their faces and expressive gestures that which cannot be put into words, catches my attention. It now becomes clear to me that the archive of experiences of queer people from the Asian diaspora goes far beyond what can be shared today. To that end, Floating Roots is perhaps not a conclusion, but rather the beginning of a process.

English translation by Melissa Maldonado

Floating Roots by Inky Lee was performed at Tanzfabrik Berlin from 9 to 12 May 2024.

She Just Wants to Play

Yuki-Onna – the Snow Woman by Isabelle Schad and Aya Toraiwa invites everyone five years of age and older to leave the spring sunshine behind and dive into the snowy landscapes of Japanese lore. The dance piece premiered on 28 April 2024 in Tanzhalle Wiesenburg and was then performed at Theater o.N. from 3 – 5 May 2024.

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Rise of the Spoons Against the System. OR: Kudos! Here’s How Intersectional Inclusion Can Work in Theater

The stand-up comedy Baby I’m Sick Tonight will make you laugh and cry. Ahead of the premiere (April 25, 2024, Sophiensaele), I spoke with the choreographer Olivia Hyunsin Kim about chronic illness and the shortcomings when it comes to dealing with it.
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Are You Lost?

Chaos Kompass, an ensemble-created production featuring 11 performers aged 16 to 27 under the artistic direction of Bahar Meriç, premiered in April 2024 at Theater an der Parkaue, with two additional shows scheduled in June 2024.
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The Draw of Elsewhere or A Space of Contrasts

The Fold performance series (Tanzfabrik) presents ElseWhere Rhapsody from 29 February to 3 March 2024 at Uferstudios. Performance maker Jen Rosenblit takes the audience on an eclectic exploratory journey of queer desire. A collage somewhere between tender intimacy and sensory overload spectacle emerges through poetry, song, eroticism, line dancing, and utopia.
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Ground Control

Melanie Jame Wolf’s performance More Ballads of Outlaw Feelings on 3 February 2024, as part of her expansive exhibition The Creep at E-WERK Luckenwalde from 21 October 2023 – 10 February 2024, offers a vivid characterisation of the way power patterns become, seemingly, inevitable.

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The Body-Archive and War

Every Minute Motherland by the Maciej Kuźmiński Company plays on December 19 and 20, 2023 in DOCK 11 and tells of bodies as witnesses of war, trauma and normality.

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Every Minute Motherland by the Maciej Kuźmiński Company plays on December 19 and 20, 2023 in DOCK 11 and tells of bodies as witnesses of war, trauma and normality.

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Only Guests on Earth

The interdisciplinary evening Terrestrial Transit asks how we can embrace the earthly and finite transition of being as a way of life. With five performances at DOCK11 until December 9, 2023, the company Cranky Bodies concludes a nomadic project that began in Berlin and led via Brandenburg and the border town of Szczecin to the Baltic Sea.

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Loose Trade

MIKE (2023) by Dana Michel, presented across three afternoons from 1 to 3 December 2023 by the Berliner Festspiele at Martin-Gropius-Bau, creates a sensitive, tolerant and humorous space for contemplations and questions about how bodies are put to work. 

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Dance Loves Music

Following MOVE OUT LOUD (2021), choreographer Modjgan Hashemian returns to work with the ensemble of Theater Thikwa, which consists of disabled and non-disabled artists: Dance Loves Music Loves Dance is an interactive quiz-dance show that brings Thikwa dancers together with guest dancers. The work premiered on 17 May 17 2023 in Theater Thikwa and can be seen there again at the beginning of July 2023.

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Against the Grain

Against the Grain is a night of short dance works that champions diversity and, as organiser Manuel Meza states in the introduction to the evening, aims to “open doors” for those otherwise excluded from dance because of gender, race, ableism, body characteristics or other exclusionary factor, presented on 20 May 2023 at Theaterforum Kreuzberg.

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Through the Bodies

A.PART Festival 2023 … macht Radau, taking place at ada Studio from 5-7 and 12-14 May, presents works by Berlin’s dance students and alumni. Each weekend introduces works of a different group of artists. Inky attends the opening night, which consists of five performances and a feedback circle. 

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Order and Chaos

Following a digital version in 2021, the live premiere of “safe&sound” by choreographer Lee Méir took place from 27 until 30 April 2023 in Radialsystem. The piece deals with linear and cyclical forms of time and with rhythm as a social and political instrument.

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My Body, My Choice

“Virtual S*Exploration” (for ages 14+), conceived by Jakob* and Christo Schleiff, utilises technology and VR to discuss the topic of sexuality. It premiered at FELD Theater für junges Publikum on 15 April 2023 with further performances until 18 April. 

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