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Recording: 2014-09-13 , Sophiensæle (Video © Walter Bickmann)

Peter Pleyer



Production Details / Press Releases

Reveals the traces of the Post-Judson avantgarde – the New York choreographers of the late 1980s and early 90s – and how they have been influencing German dance development up to this day. Choreographers like Yoshiko Chuma, Mark Tompkins, Dancenoise, Lisa Kraus, Ishmael Houston-Jones, Yvonne Meier, Randy Warshaw and David Zambrano were central figures at that time, who next to their artistic work were frequent guest teachers at the SNDO Amsterdam and the EDDC Arnhem, where Sasha Waltz, Peter Pleyer and Jeremy Wade were students.

The close connections of the personal and the political, as well as the interweaving of theory and practice, were essential for this generation. Queer discourse and questions related to the emergence of AIDS were staged with a specific kind of theatricality; strategies of composition and improvisation (in reflection and further development oft he Judson heritage), as well as the differentiation of somatic practice and specific movement techniques, are closely linked to this era.

In its various transformations these aspects and procedures are still recognizable in current productions of contemporary dance. The aim of this three day exchange is thus to trace back those undercurrents and make them visible through talks, discussion and improvisation – as part of an ongoing artistic debate.

Mark and I put this thing together and called it Stardust. The rules are simple: we meet one day before the gig, find some crappy costumes in a party shop, talk about the stuff of life, then go on stage the next day and make people laugh until they cry.
What we have on stage is a bit like falling in love. You are so out of your mind that you believe anything is possible, and for a little while it is. You don’t really know what’s going on or why it’s working, but you just open up to this not knowing. Even when it falls apart, because that’s when it gets real and subsequently makes for some damn good material on stage. It’s the stuff of life, and we milk it hard, hands on the udder, pull, squeeze, pull, squeeze.

The underlying core of this chemical romance, aside from the terrible jokes in matching green sequin miniskirts, is that we both deeply believe that improvisation is important. We fight for this improvisation thing because we know it has the capacity to shatter the construct of Theater – a thing so terribly over-coded to the point of full-blown stratification. The task of shaking it up is a difficult one, but crucial to its wellbeing (and ours). So we propose a toast to the tension that exists on stage when the performers don’t know what the @%&$ they are going to do. This space full of possibility, a little fleeting chunk of queer utopia, a little future stardust space where we can laugh at the edge of impossible.

MEG STUART is an American choreographer and dancer who lives and works in Berlin and Brussels. Stuart and her company Damaged Goods have created over thirty productions, ranging from solos to large-scale choreographies and including site-specific creations, installations and improvisation projects. Meg Stuart/Damaged Goods became associate artists at the Münchner Kammerspiele in 2010 and has also an ongoing collaboration with the Kaaitheater (Brussels) and the HAU Hebbel am Ufer (Berlin).

MARC TOMPKINS is an American dancer, choreographer and teacher living in France since 1973. After a series of solos and group collaborations, he founds the Company I.D.A. in 1983. His passion for improvisation and real time composition leads him to collaborate with many dancers, musicians and light designers. Over the years, Tompkins’ unique way of fabricating unidentified performance objects has become his signature. Since 2003, his performances evolve towards musical theater, inspired by popular forms including cabaret, vaudeville, and musical comedy. In 2008, he receives the SACD Choreography Prize for his work.

JEREMY WADE is an artist based in Berlin. He graduated from the SNDO, Amsterdam 2000. His first evening length work Glory received 2006 a Bessie Award. Since then, Wade has been living in Berlin, working closely with HAU creating several productions. 2013 Wade served as Guest Professor at AdbK, Munich and embarked on the new collaboration Dark Material. In spring 2015 he will premiere the new project Drawn Onward centered on queer futurity and utopian critique in collaboration with young Sci-Fi writer John Eric Jordan.

SASHA WALTZ was born in Karlsruhe, Germany. She studied dance and choreography in Amsterdam and New York. With her compagnie Sasha Waltz & Guests she cooperates with a wide range of institutions such as municipal theatres, opera houses and museums. The development of innovative forms of performance and creation in choreographic musical theatre has become the most significant focus of her work.

ASAF AHARONSON dancer from Israel, studied in the BA program at HZT Berlin. He is trained in the youth group of the “Vertigo Dance Company” and in 2009 he was a DanceWeb participants of Impulstanz Festival, Vienna. In the past he has worked with the choreographers Iris Erez and Arkadi Zaide in Tel Aviv and internationally and recently in “Land Research” for Tanztage Potsdam in 2012. His play “Point Check”, he has developed in collaboration with Emilie Combet for the New Dance Festival Jerusalem 2011.

ALESSIO CASTELLACCI is a performer and sound composer based in Berlin. He has studied developmental psychology at the Italian university and choreography at the EDDC in Arnhem, Holland. He teaches mostly in Europe his approach to voice and movement improvisation called the synesthetic voice, which is influenced by different somatic practices and principles from the release technique. Alessio is part of the Fingersix collective, and since 2013 the organizer of SMASH Berlin, a program for training in experimental physical performance.

YOSHIKO CHUMA was born in Osaka; since 1978 she lives and works in New York. As artistic director and choreographer of the School of Hard Knocks and Daghdha Dance Company she created more than 45 works and site-specific events, always combining different art forms. She received several awards (Bessie in 1984), her pieces toured all over the world, and were shown at places like the former National Theatre in Sarajevo, an ancient ruin in Macedonia, or the perimeter of the Hong Kong harbor. Alongside she has led workshops and master classes throughout Eastern and Western Europe, Middle East, Russia and the U.S. The last five years she mainly spend in Palestine and Afghanistan.

MOR DEMER was born and raised in Kibbutz Dvir in Israel. She graduated from the Vertigo Dance Company training program and P.O.R.C.H 2010/Ponderosa. She has worked as a dancer/performer in the Young Company Vertigo, and for various choreographers in Israel and Europe. Driven by self-directed learning, with a particular focus on improvisation and contact improvisation, she develops and performs both solo and collaborative choreography. The work combines study of movement, visual art and sound. An ongoing research of “art as a way of life” led her to volunteer with the Arts & Culture Foundation for half a year in the country of Angola, where she worked with various populations of the city Huambo.

EVA KARCZAG independent dance artist. Practices and teaches within experimental dance contexts. Danced with the Trisha Brown Dance Company (1979-85) creating original roles in Opal Loop, Son of Gone Fishin’ and Set and Reset. She has performed her own work in diverse venues, including Danspace and Judson Church (NYC), Dance Umbrella (London). Her work is informed by improvisation and somatic practices, and she teaches at major colleges and studios worldwide. Current performance projects include a series of long term collaborative duets, and durational performance/ installations.

MÁRCIO KERBER CANABARRO graduated in 2006 at UNIJUI (RS, Brazil), with a BA in Social Communication – Publicity and Advertisement. In 2007 he was part of the first generation of the Experimental Dance Group of the city of Porto Alegre. In September 2008 he relocated to Europe to follow SEAD’s Undergraduate Artist Program in Salzburg, which he finished in 2011. Ever since he has been dancing with Adrienn Hód’s company Hodworks, based in Budapest. Canabarro has also collaborated with Matej Kejzar, Martin Kilvady, Maya M. Carroll, Diego Gil and Keith Hennessy. In 2012 he joined Meg Stuart/Damaged Goods for Violet.

MICHIEL KEUPER graduated in fashion design from ArtEz the Institute of the Arts in Arnhem (NL). With his fashion label Keupr/van Bentm he presented his collections during Paris Fashion Week for several years and his autonomous fashion work has been included in museum collections and has been exhibited internationally. Lately he has extended his work to fine arts, performance and art direction. Recently he has worked with Hana Lee Erdman, Jeremy Wade, Miguel Gutierrez, Antonija Lvingstone and Sheena McGrandles.

KIRSTEN MAAR is a theater and dance scholar at the Collaborative Research Centre Aesthetic Experience and the Dissolution of Artistic Limits at the Free University Berlin. She is currently working on the connections between the Judson choreographers and the visual artists in the 1960s and 70s. Her research fields are the intersections between visuals arts, architecture and choreography, kinesthetic experience and scoring practices.

PETER PLEYER studied dance at EDDC, Arnhem. He worked as a dancer and choreographic assistant with Yoshiko Chuma, New York and Mark Tompkins, Paris. In 2000 he moved to Berlin and developed the lecture performance “Choreographing books.” He taught at European universities and festivals. From 2007-14 he was artistic director of Tanztage Berlin and 2012/13 part of the program team of Sophiensaele. His own performances were developed and shown in Stolzenhagen and Berlin. As a guest, he was seen in 2013/14 in the work of Keith Hennessy and Antonija Livingstone.

PAUL SINGH earned his BFA in Dance from the University of Illinois, USA. He has danced for a number of New York based artists, most recently for Gerald Casel, Erica Essner, Risa Jaroslow, Douglas Dunn and Christopher Williams. He was featured in the inaugural cast of Punchdrunk theater company’s American debut of Sleep No More as well as in the creation cast for the opera The Indian Queen under the direction of Peter Sellars. He has had his work presented at the Judson Church, New York Live Arts, Joe’s Pub, Dixon Place, La Mama E.T.C, and in 2004 his solo piece Stutter was presented at the Kennedy Center.

Cast & Credits

CONCEPT: Peter Pleyer
By and with: Yoshiko Chuma, Eva Karczag, Kirsten Maar, Peter Pleyer, Meg Stuart, Mark Tompkins, Jeremy Wade, Sasha Waltz, Asaf Aharonson, Aleksandra Borys, Marcio Canabarro, Alessio Castellacci, Michiel Keuper, Paul Singh
COOPERATION: Cilgia Carla Gadola
A production by Peter Pleyer in coproduction with SOPHIENSÆLE.
Supported by the Capital Culture Fund.
With the kind support of Tanzfabrik Berlin e.V. and Sasha Waltz & Guests.


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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