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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Body Undone

In “Assembly Instructions” (shown at Uferstudios 3 – 6 November 2021 within the framework of Tanzfabrik Berlin’s autumn season) Nir Vidan daringly disassembles his body into fragments, pieces, contours, and shadows. This black-and-white solo work is graphic, stark, and brilliantly paced. Thanks to his clinically precise performance and thoughtful dramaturgy, Vidan paints compelling and evocative images and avoids simplistic narratives. I quickly succumbed to the magic of his work and lost myself in this intense and meticulous experience. 

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Stories of Bonds and Separations

“Forces of Nature” by Ivana Müller, shown at Uferstudios on 12 and 13 October 2021 in the frame of Tanzfabrik Berlin’s autumn season, is an hour-long exploration of the notion of interdependence and collective effort. Unlike many other works that question the concept of group dynamics, “Forces of Nature” is literal and straight forward and allows for as many interpretations as the spectators’ imagination can produce. Bound by climbing ropes and a common goal, the dancers negotiate each gesture and movement as they slowly weave an odd rope-made shelter just to unlace it again at the end. In this smart and deftly staged show, Müller reflects on common effort, ecologies of togetherness and, quite unexpectedly, makes me reflect on my own stories of bonds and separations.

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Fall into Dance – Play, Desire, and Walking in a Circle

As part of Tanzfabrik’s four-month fall programme for 2021, “Wilson” by Sophie Guisset and “Invitation to Walk #1 – Kreisläufe” by Katja Münker offer the audience two distinct possibilities to experience movement and choreographic composition. The first sees the audience as a voyeur, and the second sees the audience as the maker of the movement path itself.

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Symbols of Power

Flags ripple, flap, and cut the air. Shrouds wrap motionless bodies. Exotic creatures slip from mediaeval banners. Military snare drums roar. Fierce battles morph into revelry, and sports events transform into funeral processions. Ginevra Panzetti and Enrico Ticconi have always turned to historical events, art movements, and traditions for inspiration. In their new diptych, “AeReA” and “ARA! ARA!”, they explore the symbolism of flags and mediaeval heraldry, as well as their political connotations. The first part of the diptych, “AeReA”, will be shown during Tanznacht Berlin Vertigo (Part 2) on 23 and 24 July 2021, while a digital version of “ARA! ARA!” premiered during Tanzfabrik Berlin’s OPEN SPACES – Making It Happen #2 on 10 June 2021. “Silver Veiled” is a dance film born from the same research process. It was originally commissioned by Dublin Dance Festival in 2021.

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Performing Memory

How can an archive be performed? How can a research process be shown on stage without the result being dull and didactic? How can a dance be devised about a show that premiered more than 40 years ago? In “Try Leather”, Britta Wirthmüller, William Locke Wheeler, and Justine A. Chambers explore the political and performative aspects of an eponymous 1975 solo by Canadian artist and activist Margaret Dragu. Choosing a dozen different archive records and key words each night, Wirthmüller and Wheeler offer their personal take on Dragu’s work and life in a show that combines dance, spoken word, and audio fragments.

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How to Bee a Dance: On Love and Waggling

“Bee Dances” by Indonesian choreographer ninus and Berlin-based choreographer Kareth Schaffer, online from 10 to 23 June 2021 for Open Spaces – Making It Happen #2 by Tanzfabrik, offers choreographic thoughts on what it means to create a dance piece together from within a cross-cultural perspective. An ensemble of six international dancers (including both choreographers) performs an hour-long piece in which they become a hive with elegance, softness, and a sense of love for dance as an extensive communication system.

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Emotional Participation

At first glance, Emmilou Rößling’s “The Fraternity”, performed during OPEN SPACES – How to get in Touch with… from 22 to 24 October 2020 at Tanzfabrik Berlin, seems like research on the topic of female togetherness. Beyond that, there is an emphasis on something more subtle, something which merges that which is felt with felt cloth. 

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Apes and Humans

On the opening night of the first part of Tanznacht Berlin Vertigo (9-13 September, the second part will hopefully take place in July 2021), Antonia Baehr and Latifa Laâbissi land in Studio 5 at Uferstudios where they merge with the chimpanzees Consul and Meshie. 

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Against Translation?

On the opportunities for performance art in the age of the contact ban and why the shuttering of theaters can also be seen as an opportunity. Reflections on the festival “Reclaiming the live aspect of the Performing Arts in the current times” initiated by Felix M. Ott and Diego Agulló and supported by Tanzfabrik Berlin

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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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