Tour Through Tanztage Berlin 2022
In the frame of Life Long Burning/Dance Hub Uferstudios offers once again their exchange program “Tour Through Tanztage”. Six choreographers - namely Hassan Dib, Elvan Tekin and Makisig Akin, all from Berlin, and Marion Storm (in exchange with ICI Montpellier), Milos Janjic (in exchange with NDA Slovenia) and Antonia Steffens (in exchange with Veem House Amsterdam), will connect in a peer to peer workshop to reflect on the potentiality of dance and dance making in contemporary society.
By visiting almost all performances of the emerging artists festival Tanztage 2022, the participants will take a critical look at the present: How can acute problems of the present be faced in an aware, empowering, connected and self-determined way, and how are these addressed through dance? Or may be: how can we approach dancing together as a method to deal with and dissolve our despair?
Next to these discussions each visiting artist presents a ‘case’ through the perspective of potentiality, either through presenting their own work, giving a physical exercise for the group or preparing a group discussion on related topics. This ‘case’ serves as a way to practice and think together as a group on the topics presented and to enlarge one’s own perspective and questioning through the empowerment by fellow peers.
Involved artists: Makisig Akin, Hassan Dib, Milos Janjic, Antonia Steffens, Marion Storm, Elvan Tekin, Inge Koks
supported/organized by Uferstudios GmbH, in exchange with Sophiensaele Berlin and the EU-Networkpartners ICI Montpellier, NDA Slowenia, Veem House Amsterdam.
The performance-visits of the festival are framed by intense afternoon discussion & practise based exchange sessions within the small group, discussing the work seen, sharing thoughts on artistic, aesthetic and curatorial intents and exchanging on the daily practice and ones owns aesthetic practices and approaches. The sessions were accompanied by Berlin/Amsterdam based curator Inge Koks, and by Mateusz Szymanówka curator of Tanztage and by Simone Willeit, Uferstudios
The local participants of Tour Through Tanztage were invited through our Berlin based partnership network TanzRaumBerlin. We asked curators of Berliner dance-production-venues (ada Studio, Dock11, Sophiensaele) with a focus and expertise on young and emerging artist to propose choreographers who would fit the profile and who could richly gain from such a format. The international exchange artists were invited by our LLB partners ICI CNN, VEEM House and NDA Slowenia.
In preparation of the working sessions to be held during the festival, we organized several preparatory zoom session, where - under the guidance of the dramaturge Inge Koks – the group elaborated their agenda setting and discussion modes of the meeting: the group identified common concerns, created a questionnaire of discussion topics and were asked to prepare a pitch presentation in word and practice of their own creative work they would then share in a own hosted session during the live laboratory.
In Berlin 5 performances were visited during the Tanztage Berlin Festival, which offered an ideal exchange of illustrative material and examples of the aesthetic discussions and curatorial issues in the local dance scene.
Within the theoretical discussion we continued our focus on involving all participants on a practical level: each one of them prepared body based research questions, and introduced them to their fellows in forms of exercises, trainings, improvisations. Wrapped up by thorough analysis of theoretical contextualization of their research questions, the group was very keen on discussing, analyzing and greatly adding further feed back, additional thoughts, context materials and practices towards the research questions of their fellow artist. The group seemed of very strong understanding and support to each other, and despite – or because of - their very diverse background and aesthetic approaches, they were able to nurture each others work and artistic thinking in a great way.
In fact, this initial spark between group members continued even after the laboratory and resulted so far in few very fruitful invitations to collaborate on other occasions.
Report by Antonia Steffens
First of all: the format of exchange and the presence of Inge Koks as an initiator was fantastic. We grew immediately into a small family of 7 members, there was a lot of trust, care and warmth from the beginning. We all were in different stages in our carrier and from age we ranged from 26-32yo. which felt really adequate. Adequate because precisely the diverse conditions we came from both privately and professionally seemed to serve our conversation, ways of perceiving and challenged the habitual sense of engaging with one another. inge was always present, joining the activities and with her subtle and sensible presence carried the space for us and framed it like a warm hug.i was thinking that she must have a very deliberate practice as a curator and cultural worker to take care of all invisible things in the space and she made us feel very comfortable from the beginning on.
I really enjoyed the format of exchanging about the works in TT and had sometimes wishes there was a bit mir times to go into details and specific aspects in the focused group atmosphere. We surely had time to do that besides our sessions, yet the concentration of the group brought up important political and sensitive aspects of the works which would have been great to define further collectively. The intimate but official set up was also very precious to experience for me, as I am out of a school or institutional context and the framing that this situation offers generates a particular sense of engaging, where we choose our thoughts and wording precisely and carefully to circumscribe the experiences and feelings the works evoked. It is just different to speak about it in this set up than over a beer and therefore I appreciated the “formality” of the sessions as they brought up a group orientated thinking which is both challenging yet extremely rich.
The sessions of sharing practices with one another were beautiful and nourishing and I have nothing to comment besides encouragement and gratitude. I learned about the people in the group and their artistic objectives which is incredibly valuable and a very privileged position to be in. I hope in the future TTT will keep on holding on to that aspect of the exchange and recognizes the value for group building and also for conversation building, as it highlighted the perspectives the participants brought to the table and witnessed the tour through, as their sensitivities and artistic notions and interests were shared with us in these sessions.
Finally it was amazing to speak to mateusz by the end of the tour. He re contextualised our experiences, sometimes lifted the veil of mysterious questions or situations we had been speaking about prior by giving us an insight in his curatorial choice making and the way how he sees the city and what TT should offer to it or how it responds to what is going on inside of the city.
Not to miss are the artists contributions and beautiful works we saw. I was delighted by the range of works, quality, experiment, fresh and unusual approaches and honesty of the majority of the works. Obviously some works provoked more questions from my side as resonance. Yet the experience stays vivid and colorful in my memory with a lot of impressive work.
I am very happy about my participation and went home very nourished and fulfilled. As a professional these opportunities are rather rare and it was a very important reminder to me, why my work matters to me. To be a spectator as a performance artist is also not always the easiest situation to be in and to have a framing like in TTT and a continuous access to a curated collection of works gave my spectator ship agency and direction.
Report by Marion Storm
I felt encouraged and deeply stimulated by my experience in this Tour Through Tanztage. Alongside Inge Koks, Makisig Akin, Miloš Janjić, Elvan Tekin, Toni Stefans, Hassan Dib, and Simone Willeit, we....
sang Rihanna’s “Stay”, down on our knees in the courtyard of Uferstudios;
took a walk along the perimeter of the studios and across the canal, listening;
spoke our stories to the moon and passed them to one another;
met in the early hours for cofee to talk about an urgency to make performance here, now;
met in the late hours aer shows to talk about our pasts and our futures and things that you, Ocial Report, do not get to know;
saw Lulu Obermeyer pause at an intersection in time and space, and read to us a letter from her teenage self that reminded many of us of ourselves, when we were young and ready. (Of course, we’re still young’ish and we’re still ready.)
“Potentiality of dance performance”, a thought-concept brought by Inge, lent a kind of invisible gravity toward our time together. We never had a conversation about that potentiality (or its inverse, or its limits, or its basis), outright : but as a kind of collective gesture, we alluded to it all along as we shared moments from our rehearsal processes, and ofered feedback to one anothers’ raw←→fully formed materials. It became a kind of specter in the background, giving our inquiry and curiosity support.
I am grateful that on day one, minute one, Makisig ofered to steward the creation of community rules for a respectful and generous exchange. This set the tone right, this got us talking, this got us collaborating. I am grateful for Hassan also for setting the tone, in that rst conversation, of introduction. We took what other contexts might call too long to introduce who we are; what we’re about; what dance educations le their marks (traces, scars), which movements we made and will continue to make across the planet in order to somehow reckon with these ideas of home; freedom of speech against fucked up governments; and the kind of transient community of dance/ing that makes gatherings such as ours, here and now, possible, but that also makes a feeling of rootedness dicult.
We gathered to see shows like school children. This clicking is hard to digest for me, sometimes. Too many times I have felt, in the dance community I am in, from New York (2010-2019), to Montpellier (2019-present), and in between, that there is a social hierarchy that none of us do a great job of sabotaging. But, well. At the end of the day : what a gi, to have a close-knit community in a place you’ve never been, or been to twice, or have lived for 5 years but that doesn’t mean it’s getting any easier, especially during another Covid winter. And what a gi to walk in late to a show and see that your group has saved you a seat, with all their winter gear. Scarves spilling, eating sandwiches quickly before the lights dim, messaging the group on WhatsApp saying WE’RE BEHIND THE REVOLVING MIRROR.
It’s never not eye opening to see the inner mechanism behind curation, programmation, nancing, and the intuitive/systemic choice-making that goes on in dance presentation - high visibility like Tanztage Festival or otherwise. Speaking with Mateusz Szymanowka about how he curates, how his team distributes the budget, how he nds work when work isn’t as ready to be found because of Covid, in some ways it conrms some things that I think I know about capital D dance that does not inspire condence creating a whole life out of doing this highly volatile-invisible-subjective-magic-sacred thing in the context of a Professional Environment that produces its own rhythms. And in many ways it conrms a do-it-yourself attitude I have been lucky/cursed to understand early, spending my formative years in New York self-producing in basement studios working full time jobs in non-Arts sectors to pay my collaborators. A kind of scrappiness, a kind of urgency (there’s that word again), but also a kind of street-smart, practice in negotiation, priorities- and boundaries- setting intelligence, that I saw in Elvan’s work to be a sh in a raki bottle, for example, that she showed us somewhere around the 5th or 6th day of our gathering : when you want to perform on a Land Art installation of massive rolling hills of dirt, and the greenhouse that houses it can’t accommodate sound, sometimes, for the sake of curiosity and experimentation and vision, you forsake your project’s sound.
We are and have always been good at this.
This kind of capacity is one of the ways we all landed together here in this work/exchange context at Uferstudios’ Studio 16 in January 2022 in the rst place.
It’s beautiful, a bit intense, wondrous, and ultimately for me deeply consoling to experience and discuss these kinds of decisions in the company of other early-career artists. I’m grateful to all of us, especially Inge, who realized immediately that we were very down to engage on a structural level in terms of self-organization during this week, thank you, for opening, sharing, holding, passing, and amplifying such a space-time as TTT.