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Recording: 2022-04-09 , Sophiensæle (Video © Bickmann & Kolde GbR)

Christoph Winkler

We are going to Mars


Production Details / Press Releases

The choreographic concert We are going to Mars follows the two video works of the same name by the company Christoph Winkler, which celebrated their online premiere in November 2021: In a mixture of video, dance and music, the participating artists examined the history of the first African space programme in Zambia and its reception over the past 50 years. In addition, they build a bridge to the work of the Afro-American musician Sun Ra, who developed his credo “Space is the place” at the same time.

For the first time, the Christoph Winkler Company is now performing the complete soundtrack created especially for the project, in which the band Mourning [A] BLKstar takes up some aspects of the story. A sonic associative space is created in which the dancers now introduce their own movements. From these dance miniatures and in connection with the songs of the band, a free collage develops about the longing of the „Afronauts“ for Mars and what it can stand for.

In 1960, Edward Mukuka Nkoloso founded the Zambia National Academy of Science, Space Research and Philosophy. The goal: an African space program of its own to join the “Space Race” between the United States and the Soviet Union. On a remote farm, the “Afronauts” trained on homemade equipment. Together they created a rocket, the D-Kalu 1, and planned to launch it into space on October 24, 1964. The rocket was to be piloted by 17-year-old Matha Mwambwa, the only woman on the team. The attempt to launch an African space program was taken anything but seriously by the international press – until a video of the training surfaced ten years ago and triggered a change in perspective. To this day, it is not certain whether the project was a serious scientific endeavor, a joke at the expense of the colonial powers, or even a cover for a training camp for independence fighters. In any case, the term Afronauts stands today for a new self-confidence of black people, visible in the videos from the 60s.
Originally planned as a stage performance, due to the pandemic the company changed the concept in the fall of 2021 and produced video works together with local artists in Uganda and the USA, which set very different accents. The Ugandan contribution, created with choreographer Robert Ssempijja among others, celebrates the spirit of optimism associated with the Space program and locates Mars in its own homeland. In contrast, Mourning [A] BLKstar and Symara Johnson’s We are Going to Mars Suite is a fever dream that opens us up to new fantasies of space travel across formal boundaries.

SYMARA SARAI JOHNSON was born in Portland (Oregon) and studied Caribbean folk dance and traditional Indian dance in Trinidad and Tobago. DAVA HUESCA, from New York City, graduated from SUNY Purchase Conservatory of Dance in 2019. LOIS ALEXANDER was born in California and is of African American, Filipino and Chinese descent. She began dancing at the age of 10. MICHAEL GAGAWALA KADDU is a Ugandan contemporary dancer with strong influences from traditional Ugandan dance. MOURNING [A] BLKSTAR from Cleveland is a collective of musicians*, writers* and multimedia artists*. OLUWAFEMI ADEBAJO is a native of Lagos, Nigeria. He is a multidisciplinary artist with more than 14 years of experience. RIDWAN RASHEED, also from Lagos, Nigeria, is a dance artist, artistic director, curator and choreographer.

CHRISTOPH WINKLER is considered one of the most distinguished and versatile choreographers in Germany. Starting from a close local connection to the Berlin dance and theater scene, he develops a variety of different formats and productions for very different venues, companies and institutions. Under the umbrella of Company Christoph Winkler, he brings together dancers from all over the world to work together as temporary collectives on a broad spectrum of content. In 2020, the company received the Tabori Award, among other things, for its close cooperation with non-European actors and its problematization of postcolonial aspects in dance.


TFB Nr. 1636

Cast & Credits

Concept: Christoph Winkler
Dance: Symara Sarai Johnson, Dava Huesca, Lois Alexander, Ridwan Rasheed, Oluwafemi Israel Adebajo
Music: Mourning [A] BLKstar
Vocals: James Longs, Latoya Kent, Kyle Kidd
Drums: Elijah Vazquez
Trumpet: Theresa May
Trombone: William Washington
Guitar and Keys: Pete Saudek
Sampler and Bass: RA Washington
Costumes: Marie Akoury
Video Contents: Martin Böttger, Vadim Epstein
Video Editing: Gabriella Fiore
Technical Management, lights: Fabian Eichner
Sound: Björn Stegmann
Production Management: Laura Biagioni
A production by Company Christoph Winkler in co-production with SOPHIENSÆLE.
Funded by the Senate Department for Culture and Europe and by Fonds Darstellende Künste with funds from the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media.


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)

Christoph Winkler / Trailers and Video Documentations

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