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Anita Berber – Rekonstruktionen - Ein TANZFONDS ERBE Projekt
Recording: 2014-06-29 , Kunstquartier Bethanien (Video © Walter Bickmann)

MS Schrittmacher | Martin Stiefermann

Anita Berber – Rekonstruktionen – Ein TANZFONDS ERBE Projekt

Kunstquartier Bethanien

Production Details / Press Releases

Most people today only remember Anita Berber, iconic dance persona of the 1920’s, for her scandals, Rosa von Praunheim’s film or the morbid portrait that Otto Dix painted of her. Despite the fact that Anita Berber was a well-known star in the roaring twenties – not just in Germany, but also abroad. Like no other, she challenged the views and habits of her day and age, provoking new experiences in her audiences. Both loved and hated by the public, the former Sacchetto pupil staged her work with more and more radical technical perfection.

In ANITA BERBER – RETRO/PERSPEKTIVE, MS Schrittmacher set out to reassemble the lost traces of this exceptional dancer and choreographer. The comprehensive research and reconstruction project leaves the scandals behind it to focus on the heart of Anita Berber’s work. The results will be presented from June 18th to 29th at Kunstquartier Bethanien. MS Schrittmacher explore the world of Anita Berber from a dancer’s perspective, tracing her artistic signature, as well as her methods to thus acquire a deeper understanding of who she really was.

In addition to biographical literature, professional and contemporaneous documents of the 1920’s, the research is based on material from the German Dance Archive in Cologne and the Anita Berber Archive in Berlin, where Martin Stiefermann discovered the slim volume “Anita Berberová – Study“ by the Czech choreographer and author Joe Jenčík. In it, Jenčík describes both the dramaturgy and effect of Berber’s choreographies in a very unique and emotional way. As part of the project ANITA BERBER – RETRO/PERSPEKTIVE, MS Schrittmacher will be publishing Jenčíks study from 1930 for the first in German translation.

Based on Jenčíks study, choreographer Martin Stiefermann has reconstructed select solos by Anita Berber together with dancer Brit Rodemund. Their goal is to approximate Berber’s original work and its artistic radicality as closely as possible from today’s perspective. After a successful presentation of the first results of this work in January 2014, Martin Stiefermann and Brit Rodemund continue their reconstruction work on Anita Berber and will present this in a second lecture performance at Kunstquartier Bethanien, Anita Berber’s place of death.

Based on the results of these reconstructions, MS Schrittmacher will also develop a dance piece with three dancers/performers that focuses on the work and methods of dancer and choreographer Anita Berber. Eyewitness reports, newspaper articles and reviews tell the tale of the Anita Berber’s pulsating, restless existence, which knew no boundaries and in which personal experiences were directly translated into movement and dance. Anita Berber as an artfully open book, a life of dance without distance.

The Retro/Perspektive will also pay tribute to Anita Berber’s extensive cinematic work. MS Schrittmacher have invited DJ D’dread, known for his innovative silent film live sets, to bring the very first episode film “Unheimliche Geschichten” – in which Anita Berber played all female roles – into the present by provide a live soundtrack to an exclusive screening.

Last but not least, MS Schrittmacher and other artists will discuss the legacy of Anita Berber in a round table discussion. What does artistic radicality mean today? And who are its protagonists?

A look backwards into the future.

Cast & Credits

Research, Reconstruction, Choreography: Martin Stiefermann
Reconstruction, Dance: Brit Rodemund
Research, Dramaturgy, Text: Hartmut Schrewe
Artistic Advice: Efrat Stempler
Scenography: Anike Sedello
Music: Albrecht Ziepert
Piano: David Schwarz
DJ: D´dread
Lighting Design: Max Wikström
Assistant Director: Antje Rose
Research Assistants: Johanna Withelm, Karolina Keller
Production Management: ehrliche arbeit – freelance office for culture
Production Assistant: Franziska Ruhnau
Communication: k3 berlin
Social Media: Patricia Spies
Tech: Fabian Bleisch
Work Experience: Milen Zhelev
Photos/Artwork: Andreas J.Etter
Graphic Design: Peter Junge
A MS Schrittmacher production. In cooperation with the Anita Berber Archive – Lothar Fischer, the Mime Centrum / ITI and the K. Kieser Verlag. Supported by LICHTblick Bühnentechnik, DINAMIX and Theaterhaus Mitte. Media Partners: radioeins, tanz, taz.die tageszeitung, Berliner Fenster
Funded by TANZFONDS ERBE – An initiative of the Federal Cultural Foundation.

Kunstquartier Bethanien

Mariannenplatz 2
10997 Berlin

Video Documentation

The video documentation is produced on behalf of the Senate Department for Culture and Social Cohesion. The purpose of this contract is to document productions in the field of contemporary dance in Berlin. The master recordings are archived by the University Library of the Berlin University of Arts. Copies of the recordings on DVD are available for viewing exclusively in the reference collections of the following archives (at media desks in these institutions):

University Library of the Berlin University of Arts
Mediathek für Tanz und Theater des Internationalen Theaterinstituts / Mime Centrum Berlin
Inter-University Centre for Dance Berlin (HZT)

MS Schrittmacher | Martin Stiefermann / Trailers and Video Documentations

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