Continue reading “Gosh, it feels like work!”
How do you start a show? How do you end it? How do you break the fourth wall? And what does it take to be two onstage in front of the audience of many? Plenty of theatre and performance makers have reflected on these recursive questions to uneven, often hermetic, results — all bets were off for Teresa Vittucci and Melanie Jame Wolf. In “Show Business” (30 August to 2 September 2021 at the Sophiensæle) they deploy a full range of tactics from tongue-in-cheek acting and dance, to compelling visual allusions, spoken word, and even singing. They made me grin and laugh, contemplate in awe, and engage in a long after-show discussion with my friends.
Continue reading “Tanz im August 2021 Talkabout #2”
For the second part of their Tanz im August talkabout, Eli Frasson and Evgeny Borisenko attended the world premiere of Thiago Granato’s “The Sound They Make When No One Listens” at the Sophiensæle on 19 August 2021. After the show they sat together in the Sophiensæle’s brick-walled courtyard to discuss a show that explores the different facets and political connotations of the act of listening. The next day, on 20 August, Eli and Evgeny went to the Lilli-Hennoch-Sportplatz to attend the world premiere of “Breathe” by Milla Koistinen, in which she interacted with two huge brightly-coloured inflatable fabrics and the audience on the football pitch. After the show Eli and Evgeny found a spot near the ruins of Anhalter Bahnhof to sit and discuss the show.
Continue reading “Onto the Weight Bench”
In “Being Pink Ain’t Easy”, Joana Tischkau gleefully stages gestures and habits of exaggerated masculinity derived from US rap. In the context of this year’s Performing Arts Festival Berlin – still available online until 3 June 2021 – Sophiensæle is showing the successful cinematic product of this previously live performance, which addresses white masculinity by citing Black culture and through conscious clashes.
Written by Akiles.*
Finding your space in Berlin is not a simple task. However, with the support of the relevant institutions, many obstacles disappear. It was the same for me, only I had other hurdles to overcome first: political issues, bureaucracy, and a disease.Continue reading “The Parallel World in Me …”
Continue reading “The Politics of Rest”
Covid is stirring hard again. Due to corona precautions, the performance “Black Power Naps / Choir of the Slain (Part XX)” by artists and activists Fannie Sosa and Navild Acosta at the Sophiensæle needed to be cancelled. As an alternative, a live-stream was made available.
Continue reading “Shared Vulnerability”
As a kick off to the Risk and Resilience festival, Olympia Bukkakis tells a very personal story of crisis, one in which she ties her own story as a drag performer with that of her female relatives, in “A Touch of the Other” at the Sophiensæle .
Continue reading “Female Futures”
Between December 1989 and March 1990, the Central Round Table met in East Berlin to discuss making reforms to the GDR, and to draft a new constitution. As I enter Sophiensæle, I am informed that the year is now 2090 and those visions have been implemented. “POSTOST 2090”, by Rike Flämig, Anna Hentschel and Zwoisy Mears-Clarke, is a celebration of 100 years of the draft constitution, of feminist utopias, and of ‘Ossifuturism’.
In a garish tutti frutti aesthetic, Angela Alves’ “NO LIMIT” (Zoom premiere 16 June 2020 at Sophiensæle) stages a distorted world in which the handicapped make up the normative majority and the unhandicapped suffer from syndromes like CCD (Can’t Calm Down) and KNL (Knows No Limits). The game show provides us with a lesson in accessibility without lecturing us.
Pre corona days, I wouldn’t have watched “NO LIMIT”. I would’ve been home in bed with a freshly operated on, swollen knee that I couldn’t bend and that had to be cooled and elevated – and I would’ve watched something uninspired on Netflix. I wouldn’t have subjected myself to the effort of hobbling to the Sophiensæle and having to sit still for an hour with a constant twitch in my knee.
For a while now, the Sophiensæle has been offering so-called “Relaxed Performances”, which are intended to offer greater inclusivity in a casual atmosphere. You’re allowed to go in and out, to talk quietly, and to move around. That would make Angela Alves’ “NO LIMIT” a hyper-relaxed performance since the show wasn’t performed live as planned, but rather in the virtual realm with the help of Zoom. And it is precisely this aspect of the digital that permitted me – temporarily immobilized – access.
As the cool pack rests on my elevated knee, “NO LIMIT” begins. The show, staged in a garish nineties aesthetic, aims to create the greatest possible level of accessibility for viewers. Its rhythm is determined by translation aids, arranged in parallel, in the form of audio descriptions, sign language, subtitles and the option to have the descriptions read out loud in a chat room by a screen reader. The pauses that arise, translation cuts and duplications and the resulting decelerated tempo, sometimes make those of us unhandicapped, with our efficiency thinking, impatient. And they make quite clear that our expectations of how best to use time productively and efficiently are extremely questionable and egocentric. That is why all the performers leave plenty of time for their introductions. The sign language translator, Gal, the deaf moderator, Athina, the narrator, Simone, the dancer (and artistic director of the show), Angela, the musician, Christoph all describe in great detail how they look and their settings. Their garishly colored retro costumes, starry-sky backdrop, and the rainbow stairs are obviously invoking the parody RTL show “Tutti Frutti”from the early 90s – and “Tutti Frutti for All” is what today’s invitation to “NO LIMIT” promises. It takes on an interactive show element; a questionnaire where we can share – but are not obligated to – whether we have e.g. a disability, whether we’re part of the norm, or whether we know what a crip is – namely, a community of people that feels like it belongs to a discriminated minority.
The actual main part of the show clarifies what it’s all about. During a talk show sequence in which Angela Alves, the personified representative of the minority of unhandicapped people, is interviewed by Athina, we discover: people without disabilities would have a harder time here if we didn’t join in solidarity to ensure their inclusion. Because it’s the handicapped community that defines the norms here. But Angela doesn’t want to be included. She calls for empathy, the recognition of her unique individual maladies (CCD, KNL), and needs. She immediately gets sympathy for her lamentable minority status: Athina refers to it as “diversity aid”. And how does she dance despite her lack of handicap? But then Angela gets cut off… No one really wants to know the answer.
Towards the end of the show, as Angela, Athina, and Gal perform a kind of senseless sign language choreography in three Zoom windows, a choreography that becomes evermore chaotic, Simone’s linguistic translation reaches its limits. And it hits me: this is not about me –handicapped or unhandicapped – being able to follow everything. Instead it’s about a dedicated serenity that cares less about definitions of inclusion and more about a constant renegotiation of our social norms. Especially now.
“NO LIMIT” by Angela Alves will be performed once again tonight, 18 June 2020, at 8pm in the Sophiensæle. Duration: 75 minutes. Participation via Zoom. You can get a personalized access link to the webinar with pre-registration (ticket price: 5 euros).
“NO LIMIT”, premiere 16 June 2020, Sophiensæle Berlin — Artistic director, choreography, performance: Angela Alves — dramaturgy: Alexandra Hennig — performance, choreography: Athina Lange — performance, sign language translator, choreography: Gal Naor (The progressive wave) — performance, audio description: Simone Detig — sound, performance: Christoph Rothmeier — set design: Philippe Krueger
English translation by Melissa Maldonado
Continue reading “Berlin isn’t a German city / Berlin ist keine deutsche Stadt”
No shows, no training, no touch, no perspectives: Covid-19-measures hit the dance scene heavily. Artists and institutions are longing for solidarity – beyond their own needs.
Continue reading “A Different Kind of Ballet”
During the rise of ballet at the beginning of the 19th century, romantic ballets were divided into two parts: a realistic one followed by a fantastic one — so Florentina Holzinger informs us during the intermezzo of the all-woman performance “TANZ” at Sophiensæle.
Continue reading “Satirical dances”
In their latest show “Endangered Species”, performed at Sophiensæle as part of Tanztage Berlin 2020, drag house for QTBIPoC House Of Living Colors explore how not only text, but also dance can be instrumentalised as political satire.
Inky Lee embarks on a hairy journey, inspired by Areli Moran’s “La Postal de nuestra Existencia,” in which Moran becomes the goddess of ‘Hair, hair, long beautiful hair!’
Continue reading “Long Black Hair”
“La Postal de nuestra Existencia” premiered at the Sophiensæle on 16 January 2020 within the frame of Tanztage Berlin.*
Continue reading “Expelling Oppression with a Loving Thrust.”
“JUCK” — something between a celebratory techno-ritual, trauma release therapy, and a total exorcism of patriarchy — is more than a powerful, and finely tuned performance. The work, which featured at Tanztage Berlin 2020, is a survival strategy to ensure community and joy in the face of oppressive systems.
Continue reading “Berlin-Cool”
“Sarabande” by Sasha Amaya, and “Tricks for Gold (T4$)” by Frida Giulia Franceschini premiered at the Sophiensæle on 8 January in the frame of Tanztage Berlin 2020.
Continue reading “An Elegant and Generous Denial.”
“Neptune”, a 45-minute solo by Lois Alexander in collaboration with Nina Kay, premiered on 8 January 2020 at Sophiensæle in the framework of Tanztage Berlin.
Continue reading “Hands”
Four deaf performers, Steve Stymest, Jan Kress, Rita Mazza, and Athina Lange, create a musical, “Vier”, using the richness and diversity of German Sign Language and Visual Vernacular to access music from a different angle. “Vier – A Visual Musical in Sign Language” premiered 17 December 2019 at Sophiensæle.
Continue reading “What the Body Remembers”
In “Fan de Ellas”, premiering at Sophiensæle, Catalina Fernández, Juliana Piquero, and Alex Viteri dialogue with ‘three Latin American heroines’ through movement, soundscape, and objects.
Continue reading “A Witty Resistance to Pathologization”
In her new piece “Inflammations” at the Sophiensæle, Polish choreographer Ania Nowak, who lives in Berlin, presents an absurd classification of bodily phenomena in which she relies more on the effect of the spoken word than on the body’s own experiences.
Continue reading “No Names, Just Numbers”
In “Say My Name, Say My Name”, by Olivia Hyunsin Kim / ddanddarakim and premiering at the Sophiensaele, an immersive world of futuristic designs is created through which Kim attempts to hold a mirror up to the past.
Continue reading “Tanz im August Review: #PUNK 100% POP *N!GGA”
Alex Hennig inquires Beatrix Joyce about her impressions of Nora Chipaumire´s intense three-hour performance “PUNK 100% POP *N!GGA” at Sophiensæle.
Continue reading “Tanz im August Review: Liebestod”
The tanzschreiber authors Beatrix Joyce and David Pallant analyze the emotional piece “Liebestod” by deufert&plischke in this chat review.
Continue reading “Tanz im August Interview Series: deufert&plischke”
I meet deufert&plischke in their shared apartment. Not by chance is there a framed tarantula on the wall: Arachne, mythological figure of weaving and heroine of story-telling. In “Liebestod” love stories are woven into music and dance.
Continue reading “Tanz im August Interview Series: Nora Chipaumire”
Nora Chipaumire returns to Tanz im August with her latest work, “#PUNK 100% POP *N!GGA”. Provocative, joyful, and challenging, this three-part live performance album is demanding for performers and audience alike.
Continue reading “The Craft of Listening”
Zwoisy Mears-Clarke presents a moving and thoughtfully crafted work “Worn & Felt” at the Sophiensaele’s Hochzeitsaal.
Continue reading “Let’s Make Something Queer”
Sorour Darabi’s “Savušun” and Teresa Vittucci’s “Hate Me, Tender” form a double bill to open the Queer Darlings festival at Sophiensæle, delivering timely truths laced with offbeat humour.
Continue reading “Big Wigs & Space Suits”
Every January, the Berlin dance audience flocks to the Sophiensaele for Tanztage, the annual inauguration event. The ten-day festival, which has existed for over twenty five years now, kicks off the new dance year by focussing on emerging choreographers making work in Berlin.
Continue reading “Let’s Get Personal”
Anjal Chande / The Soham Dance Project present “This is how I feel today”, a Bharatanatyam-rooted work charting the individual experience within its societal context.
Continue reading “Almost seduced by a peacock”
The peacock knows how to impress. It struts along, unabashed, displaying its long, languorous feathers that sprout from its fluffy behind. Its spectators have no choice but to marvel at its divine beauty. Nature has endowed this bird with the power of seduction, strong enough to dazzle not only future mating partners but also us humans.
Continue reading “Game Theory”
Opening Tanztage Berlin 2019, Mirjam Gurtner’s “Skinned” places improvisation within a strictly delineated frame to create a contradictory, challenging work which belies any cohesive interpretation. Combining intuition and artifice, “Skinned” sets itself a difficult task, yet a generosity at its core entices us along for the journey.
Continue reading “To the Fullest”
Christoph Winkler’s new artistic triptych “Boldly: The Julius Eastman Dance Project” animates the previously lost works of the striking American composer.
Continue reading “Boxed in by [Fear]”
With “The Emergency Artist”, Clément Layes provides space for the openness of meaning in language and action. In times of increasing political isolation, it can be interpreted as a kind of artistic protest.
Continue reading “Collective Future Perspectives?”
During this year’s anniversary edition of Tanz im August there was also space for young choreographers and emerging dance talents. With “Paradise Now (1968-2018)” young Belgian choreographer Michiel Vandevelde does an exemplary job of entrenching the vision of a new, politically ambitious dancer theater for a present day young audience.
Iggy Lord Malmborg’s “Physics & Phantasma” provokes a collective creation of fiction, fear, and fantasy at the Sophiensaele Hochzeitssaal.Continue reading “Flashbacks and Fantasies: An hour with Iggy Lord Malmborg”