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Recording: 2017-11-23 , Sophiensæle (Video © Walter Bickmann)

Peter Pleyer

Cranky Bodies Dance Reset


Production Details / Press Releases

When Cranky Bodies Dance Reset proclaims the Return to big choreography!, an expanded understanding of choreography follows. A multinational and diverse ensemble of nine dancers develops complex choreographic structures that, with the support of stage design and music, articulate and differentiate themselves through a common practice.
The project refers to a choreographic practice of the Post-Judson era that goes beyond learning steps and dancing in unison – improvisation and choreography are not (or no longer) claimed to be opposites. Cranky Bodies Dance Reset emphasizes the complex, the ambiguous, the unpredictable and the eclectic in the choreographic practice.

Five works by the choreographers Trisha Brown, Lucinda Childs, Stephanie Skura, Meg Stuart and Sasha Waltz serve as inspiration for the dance research, devoid of becoming the object of reconstruction or quotation. Cranky Bodies Dance Reset understands itself as a living, changeable memory/archive, which refuses a clearly reconstructible derivation, alternates between remembering and forgetting, appropriation and demarcation and always renegotiates its updating.

After the experiments of the 1960s and 70s, a piece with complex structures that was creating through the collaboration of various art forms – Phil Glass, Sol LeWitt, Lucinda Childs – was presented. In the end, Skura simply called it Dance.

Set and Reset, a collaboration between Trisha Brown, Robert Rauschenberg and Laurie Anderson, was one of the first pieces with which Brown established her own company. This was enabled by the common training basis in release-based techniques, which united the dancers and allowed them to cope with highly complex choreographic structures.

To the music of Beethoven, Skura developed a choreography based on improvisation. After the formal experiments of the Judson Church, the piece was above all a reference to what Skura herself claims as Politics of Method: those pieces are political because of the way in which they are made.

After years of making thoroughly narrative dance-theater pieces and when starting to work at Schaubühne, Sasha Waltz created within the context of Körper a form of choreography that is fundamentally inspired by her studies at the SNDO as well as her work with Lisa Kraus (Trisha Brown Dance Company), Yoshiko Chuma and Mark Tompkins.

Within this work, Meg Stuart explores various possibilities of choreography – dancing to music, energy work and transformation, new forms of shamanism as well as playing with historical references – and the compositional linking of the layers of stage design and costume.

Return to big choreography! also means highlighting marginalized themes, methods and protagonists of contemporary dance. This involves rehearsing over a shared period of time with a larger ensemble dance practices that are not subordinate to any narrative or thematic concept, but instead demand the constant possibility of interruption and denial as well as scope and delay: The thought to be able to work with an ensemble of dancers long term in order to develop the necessary trust and familiarity that serves as a foundation to develop new ideas is expedient for the project.

PETER PLEYER once dreamed he was the son of Steve Paxton and Robert Rauschenberg. Having a pronounced penchant for stories, crocheting and dance improvisation, he devotes himself and his audience to these passions threefold in his works Ponderosa Trilogy (Tanznacht Berlin, ImPulsTanz Wien), Visible Undercurrent (Sophiensæle Berlin) and Moving The Mirror (Ujazdowski Castle Centre for Contemporary Art in Warschau, ImPulsTanz Wien). The teacher, dancer, activist, former dramaturg and curator of Tanztage Berlin (2007-2014) is deeply engaged in the Post-Judson Avant-garde, queer ideas, Aids activism, new shamanic actions and oral dance history.

TAMÁS BAKÓ graduated from the Budapest Dance School in 1995. Since then he has been working with several Companies like Ismael Ivo, Marco Santí Danse Ensemble, Off Dance Company and Artus – Company of Gábor Goda. He has collaborated with choreographers such as Iván Angelus, Rui Horta, Réka Szabó, Zsuzsa Rózsavölgyi, Eszter Gál, Vicky Shick, Scott Wells, Zoltán Nagy, Laura Vera Esperanza and Patrik Kelemen. Currently he works as a teacher for Contemporary Dance Contact Improvisation at the Budapest Contemporary Dance Academy.

ALEKSANDRA BORYS received a Master of Art and Science from Central Saint Martins University of The Arts in London, and a BA in Contemporary Dance from Codarts, University of the Arts in Rotterdam. She works in the fields of choreography, video, installation, astronomy, cosmology and ecology. In 2015 she received The Research Scholarship from Grazyna Kulczyk for art and science research on choreography and astronomy; she received Mloda Polska 2014 grant for research on walking art and in 2010 a grant from the Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage.

MÁRCIO KERBER CANABARRO is a dancer with a BA in Social Communication from Unijui (RS – BR) and a Performing Major from Sead (AT). He works with different choreographers as Adrienn Hod, Meg Stuart and Peter Pleyer.

OLIVER CONNEW choreographs dances, babysits and teaches English. He is a graduate of the New Zealand School of Dance, majoring in classical ballet. An equally significant component of his dance education was his participation in the Smash Berlin experimental performance programs in 2013 and 2014. In this way, his work asks: What’s dance got to do with it? Oliver lives in Berlin.

MOR DEMER is a choreographer and dancer. She recently graduated from exerce, ICI-CCN in Montpellier, France with a MA in Choreography. Born and raised in Kibbutz Dvir in Israel, she began dancing from an early age, going on to complete training programs at Vertigo Dance Company, 2007-2010, Ponderosa, P.O.R.C.H, 2010. Demer worked as a dancer with the vertigo young company and collaborated with various choreographers, including Tino Sehgal (This Variation), Meg Stuart/ Damaged Goods (Atelier III, Projecting Space) and Peter Pleyer (Visible Undercurrent).

BJÖRN IVAN EKEMARK is a Berlin based dancer, performer and queer chaos facilitator. He is working in and on the amorphous collective Tent, and has worked together with Peter in his last project Moving the mirror. He studied circus at Escola de Circ Rogelio Rivel, textile art at Nyckelvikskolan and is currently finishing his BA at HZT Berlin.

KA RUSTLER working with pioneers in the field of improvisation and dance at the SNDO Amsterdam. She has been a collective member of Tanzfabrik Berlin, as well as co-author of multi-layered productions and has performed with numerous artists like Kurt Koegel, Nien Mari Chatz, Steve Paxton, Bob Rease among others. She is a Body-Mind Centering® Practitioner and Somatic Movement Educator researching and performing embodied methods and their application in movement, choreographic explorations and neuroscientific connections.

ALISTAIR WATTS is a dancer and choreographer from Australia with a background in stage design. He holds an MA in Architecture from The University of Sydney and is a recent graduate of the BA Dance, Context and Choreography at HZT Berlin. In 2016, he took part in the Danceweb scholarship program. He has worked with Zuzanna Rata-jczyk, Ewa Dziarnowska, Miriam Kongstad, Liz Rosenfeld and sometimes collaborates with Ivan Ekemark on their project NFAT – neurotic faggots arranging things.

MICHIEL KEUPER is an interdisciplinary artist with a background in painting and fashion design. A Visual Composer of sorts, he juxtaposes forms, shapes, images, colors and applies his vision on projects of various scale. He treasures collaboration, sharing, interacting. He believes in the transcendent magic of improvisation, the moment when 1 + 1 becomes 3. Recently he has worked with Maria F. Scaroni, Joanna Lesnierowska, Meg Stuart, Lea Moro and Claire Cunningham. His set designs for Peter Pleyer and for Jeremy Wade were ranked in Frieze d/e Blog’s Highlights of 2014.

In his approach, MARTIN SIEWEKE aims to work with objects or materials by detaching them from their intentional usage working in a sculptural way rather than following a certain form or method. The material’s basic features such as texture, weight or color have the strongest impact on his artistic research. He is currently involved in the set and costume design of performance productions.

MARC LOHR plays and composes music for instruments, moving bodies and electronic machines. He is engaged in music with a strong focus on improvisation.

ALEXANDRA HENNIG is a Berlin based dramaturge in the field of contemporary dance and performance art a.o. for Peter Pleyer and Lea Moro. Currently she is engaged in dance critic and writing for Tanzschreiber Berlin, tanzraumberlin, Berliner Zeitung and together with Johanna Withelm for ada Studio Berlin. She is one of the co-founders of the Blog Viereinhalb Sätze. Texte über Tanz. Since 2015 she curates the festival S.o.S. – Students on Stage at ada Studio Berlin together with Cilgia Gadola and Johanna Withelm.

CHIEN-HUNG, KUO was born in 1987 in Taiwan. He graduated from the National Taiwan University of Art with a major in lighting design. Since then he has been working as a lighting designer and lighting designer for theatre, dance, exhibition or film. He is interested in exploring and designing different theatrical spaces with and beyond the large stages.

[Source: play bill]

TFB Nr. 1128

Cast & Credits

BY AND WITH: Tamás Bakó, Aleksandra Borys, Marcio Canabarro, Oliver Connew, Mor Demer, Ivan Ekemark, Ka Rustler, Alistair Watts
MUSIC: Marc Lohr
LIGHT: Chien-Hung Kuo
PRODUCER: Cilgia Gadola

A production by Peter Pleyer in cooperation with SOPHIENSÆLE.
Funded by the Capital Cultural Fond.
Supported by DOCK 11 Berlin.
Thanks to: Peter W. Karg, Lynh Nguyen, Maria Scaroni, Benoît La Chambre, Katarzyna Szugajew, Stephanie Maher, Kirsten Maar, Zwoisy Mears-Clarke


Sophienstraße 18
10178 Berlin

Tickets: (030) 283 52 66

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)

Peter Pleyer / Trailers and Video Documentations

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