Production Details / Press Releases
Welcome to the archive of the dance-performance Try Leather.
Everything that you will see, hear and experience is connected to the original piece Try Leather, that Margaret Dragu first presented in Toronto in 1975.
Over the course of 1.5 years Justine A. Chambers, Margaret Dragu, William Locke Wheeler and Britta Wirthmüller have been researching Try Leather and the historical context it originated from. Their first rehearsal period in Vancouver, Canada in March 2020 was interrupted. Since then Chambers, Dragu, Wheeler and Wirthmüller have been working remotely. Their research has taken on the form of conversation, storytelling, shared note-taking, film-making, dancing and the meticulous reconstruction of movement and text.
A set of 62 hand painted banners, derived from index cards written during the first rehearsal phase, functions as a directory that refers audio recordings, videos, reenactments of the choreography and the performers’ personal relationship to the original piece.
For the Berlin performances of Try Leather Wheeler and Wirthmüller will be performing live, accompanied by Kasia Wolińska and Nikola Pieper, while Chambers and Dragu will appear in different media.
Justine A. Chambers is a dance artist. Her movement based practice considers how choreography can be an empathic practice rooted in collaborative creation, close observation, and the body as a site of a cumulative embodied archive.
Margaret Dragu celebrates 50 years as a working artist. Her favorite material is still the body despite/because of her bionic status as a grateful owner of two hip replacements.
William Locke Wheeler’s artist practice reaches from performance to film to drawing and painting to the translation of texts in the field of art. His work, which is sourced through various practices of collecting and re-staging printed material, explores the image as a fruitful ground for the critical subversion of established historiographies.
Britta Wirthmüller is a dancer and choreographer based in Berlin. Her work explores what usually remains invisible, for example forgotten dances or the hidden layers of a city’s history.
Kasia Wolińska is a choreographer, dancer and writer. Since 2017 she has been committed to the studies of historic modern dance and its ideological entanglements, as well as its contemporary resonances.
Online / streaming June 22, 2021, 7pm – June 27, 2021: dringeblieben.de/videos/try-leather
In Try Leather, performers Justine A. Chambers, Margaret Dragu, William Locke Wheeler, and Britta Wirthmüller are researching desire on the theatre stage as well as the appetite for seeing and being seen. The production refers to a dance solo by Margaret Dragu called “Try Leather”, which she presented for the first time in Toronto in 1975. This solo is a disputatious mix of striptease, sports aerobics, modern dance, vaudeville and feminist performance art. Dragu, who besides having a career in dance and theatre also worked as a stripper for over twenty-five years, describes the strip club as a space where she could experiment with artistic means and concurrently undermine genre clichés and images of body and gender.
[Source: PR-Info & tanzfabrik-berlin.de]
TFB Nr. 1532
Cast & Credits
Concept & choreography: Justine A. Chambers, Margaret Dragu, William Locke Wheeler, Britta Wirthmüller
Performance: Justine A. Chambers, Margaret Dragu, Nikola Pieper, William Locke Wheeler, Britta Wirthmüller, Kasia Wolińska
Set design & costume: William Locke Wheeler
Historical costume: Sara Wendt
Outside eye: Kasia Wolińska
Sound design, technical direction: Nikola Pieper
Production management: Dino Spiri
PR: Denhart van Harling
A production by Margaret Dragu and Britta Wirthmüller in cooperation with Tanzfabrik Berlin.
Funded by the Hauptstadtkulturfonds.
The project is part of the culture program related to Canada’s Guest of Honour presentation at the Frankfurt Book Fair in 2021. We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts and the Government of Canada.
Tanzfabrik Berlin / Wedding
The video documentation is produced by Kulturprojekte Berlin GmbH on behalf of the Senate Department for Culture and Europe. 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):