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Recording: 2016-08-16 , Sophiensæle (Video © Walter Bickmann)

Sebastian Matthias

x / groove space


Production Details / Press Releases

We shape our urban surroundings collectively, often without even noticing it; this is how we create the daily groove of a city. For three years now, in his performance series “groove space”, Sebastian Matthias and his team of dancers have been investigating the essential features of this specific rhythm: the tactile collective movement of a city. In public spaces, he seeks out those sites of interaction which collectively form the invisible network of a metropolis: their ‘permanent urban choreography’. Sebastian Matthias then translates forms of movement and everyday practices of the inhabitants of the city into an artistic performance. Berlin, Zurich, Freiburg, Jakarta and Tokyo/Düsseldorf have made up the stops on the journey of this dancing research project. It brings the public and performers together in a setting in which both groups possess equal agency, and facilitates a shared experience of the feeling of movement, managing to be touching but not intrusive. Sebastian Matthias choreographs relationships – shifts in perspectives, approaches, spatial formations – and through this, collective practice, togetherness, presence. Tanz im August plays host to the last performance in his series, “x / grove space”, which was premiered in June at the tanzhaus nrw. “x / groove space” is concerned with cultural crossovers and the points of contact between the urban dynamics of inhabitants of Düsseldorf and Tokyo. In collaboration with the visual artist Yoko Seyama (Berlin/Tokyo) and the sound artist Atsuhiro Ito (Tokyo), Sebastian Matthias creates an open performance space in which the dancers and audience members can collectively produce and experience the grooves of Düsseldorf and Tokyo. The performance artist Masaru Iwai (Tokyo) will mingle with the participants, providing his own intervention.

Sebastian Matthias studied dance at the Juilliard School and dance studies at the Free University in Berlin (MA). In his choreographic work he concentrates on modular improvisation systems, developing them in cooperation with his dancers in independent productions at Tanzhaus NRW, Kampnagel, or institutions such as the Theater Freiburg or the Cullberg Ballet, among others. Since March 2012, he has been deepening his approach to artistic research with a doctorate grant at the ‘Assemblies and Participation’ postgraduate college of the HafenCity University Hamburg, expanding it to include participative processes and exploring them within research groups with audiences as part of the “groove space”-series.

Atsuhiro Ito is a visual artist who plays with self-made instruments he calls OPTRON. He records the sounds of the electrical discharge of fluorescent tubes and re-uses them. Since 2000 he has worked with different sound-performers and dancers and been invited to exhibitions and music festivals in Japan and abroad. His performance-style ranges from sound art, rock, jazz to club-music and transcends genre boundaries, for instance with the project “diamond version” (Carsten Nicolai).

Masaru Iwai holds a PhD in Visual Arts at the University of Arts in Tokyo. Cleaning is central to his work: using different types of media, such as installations, videos and performances, he uncovers our deep yearning for cleanliness in our everyday lives and redefines the concept of purity. Masaru Iwai was part of the ISP-Curator Program of the Whitney Museum of American Art NY (2013), of “Needless Cleanup” at the MeetFactory in Prag (2013) and the “Roppongi Art Night” in Tokyo (2013). His solo exhibitions have been shown in Tokyo, among other spaces at Takuro Someya Contemporary Art (2015) and at the 3331 Gallery (2011).

The Japanese stage designer and multimedia artist Yoko Seyama mixes digital elements with natural materials. Her set designs are often the result of a collaboration with contemporary dance or music. She designed the stage for the choreographer Jirˇí Kylián at the Nederlands Dans Theater. Her scenographic light sculpture choreography “Saiyah”, with music for an ensemble composed by B. Steam, was produced and premiered at the Norrlands Operan Umeå in Sweden in May 2014. Yoko Seyama was awarded the Filmhuis Works Space 10 price (NL) and received funding from the Pola Art Foundation (JP).

Jubal Battisti started training to become a dancer in Pittsburgh before he changed to the Juillard School where he graduated in 2004. He then joined the Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet in New York City, all the while pursuing his passion for photography. He danced with GöteborgsOperans Danskompani from 2012 to 2014. Jubal Battisti now works in Berlin as a freelance dancer and photographer and started working with Sebastian Matthias in 2014.

Rachell Clark is an Australian dancer who has been living in Berlin since 2014. After studying dance at the Victorian College of the Arts in Melbourne she moved to Berlin, where she started to create her own pieces and work as a performer. As a freelance dancer she worked with choreographers such as Angela Lamprianidou, Alessandro Sciarroni, Becky Hilton and Alexandra Pirici. She met Sebastian Matthias in 2014 and they have received support from the Arts Funding Division of the Australia Council and the Ian Potter Cultural Trust for their work.

Lisanne Goodhue is a freelance dancer, choreographer and dance teacher from Montreal, Canada. She received her classical dance training at L’École Supérieure de Danse du Québec and studied contemporary dance at Ladmmi, l’école de danse contemporaine (2010) as well as visual arts at Collège Montmorency. She choreographs and performs her own works and started working closely with Sebastian Matthias in 2009. Lisanne Goodhue is a guest performer for the Berlin improvisation collective Grapeshade.

Deborah Hofstetter trained at the ballet school of the Zurich Opera and at the Schweizerische Ballettberufsschule. She was a member of Phillip Egli’s dance company at the Theatre St. Gallen for four years and now works as a freelance dancer. She started working with Sebastian Matthias in 2012.

Oskar Landström trained at the Swedish Royal Ballet from 2006 to 2009. After graduating he worked with different companies, including the Young Dance Company, Cullberg Ballet/Riksteatern and Martin Forsberg/Ben Wright at Skånes Dansteater. He also danced with Anne Imhof, Björn Säfsten, Virpi Pahkinen, Gunilla Heilborn and Susanne Jaresand. He worked on “Intergalactic Underwater Palace” with Sebastian Matthias in 2015.

Harumi Terayama was born in Osaka, in Japan. After graduating from the Juilliard School she worked for the Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet in New York as well as the, and as a freelance dancer in New York and in Berlin. In 2014 she started collaborating with Sebastian Matthias. As a videographer she made dance films that were shown all over the world. Her film “Replaced Vision” was nominated as one of the ten best films at the Oklahoma Dance Film Festival and the Internationale TanzFilmPlattform Berlin POOL 14.

Idan Yoav trained at the Patricia Needleman Dance Studio and at the Academy High School for Music and Dance in Jerusalem, before studying Multidisciplinary Arts at Tel-Aviv University. He was awarded a grant by the America-Israel Cultural Foundation and was a member of the Danceweg Vienna. He danced with the Batsheva Ensemble, the Inbal Pinto&Avshalom Polak Dance Company, Norrdans and Sasha Waltz&Guests, among others. He teaches at Tanzfabrik Berlin, Chung-Ang University and Korea National University of Arts in Seoul.

Andreas Harder studied visual arts at Hochschule der Künste Berlin, teaches future prop designers and stage managers and is the technical director of several theatre and media festivals as well as internationally touring productions. He is a lighting designer, stage designer, lighting and stage manager, and works for the New Music ensemble “Zeitkratzer”, as well as choreographers including Jeremy Wade, matanicola, Eszter Salamon, Adam Linder, Zufit Simon, Yasmeen Godder, Sebastian Matthias and Ariel Ashbel.

Nanako Nakajima is a scholar and dance dramaturg who teaches at Aichi University. She has worked on experimental art projects such as “mech [a]OUTPUT” by koosil-ja (NY 2007), “Exhausting Love at Danspace Project” by Luciana Achugar (NY 2006), “Thikwa plus Junkan Projekt” by Osamu Jareo (KYOTO EXPERIMENT 2012) and Ong Keng Sens “OPEN WITH A PUNK SPIRIT!” (Singapore 2015). She co-curated the international dance symposium “The Aging Body in Dance” (Berlin 2012/Tokyo 2014) and “Dance Archive Box@TPAM2016.”

Cast & Credits

Choreography, Concept: Sebastian Matthias
Visual Arts: Atsuhiro Ito, Masaru Iwai (Instruction Art / Video Installation), Yoko Seyama (Kinetic Sculptures / Costumes)
Co-choreography, dance: Jubal Battisti, Rachell Clark, Lisanne Goodhue, Deborah Hofstetter, Oskar Landström, Harumi Terayama, Idan Yoav
Light, technical management: Andreas Harder
Dramaturgy: Nanako Nakajima
Communication: Akiko Okamoto
Production dramaturgy: Mira Moschallski
Production: Sebastian Matthias
Coproduction: tanzhaus nrw, Festival Tokyo, Goethe Institute Tokyo, Tanz im August and Sophiensæle.
Funded by: the NATIONAL PERFORMANCE NETWORK (NPN) and by the Kunststiftung NRW, the Ministry of Family, Children, Youth, Culture and Sport of the State of
Nordrhein-Westfalen, Kunst und Kulturstiftung der Stadtsparkasse Düsseldorf and  the Japan Foundation.
Thanks to the team of Sophiensæle.

Tanz im August 2016
Artistic director: Virve Sutinen
Executive Producer: Sven Neumann
Production: Isa Köhler, Andreas Skjönberg, Andrea Niederbuchner
Assistance of Artistic Director / Production: Marie Schmieder
Tanz im August is a festival by HAU Hebbel am Ufer, funded by the the Capital Culture Fund and the Governing Mayor of Berlin – Senate Chancellery – Cultural Affairs.


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)

Sebastian Matthias / Trailers and Video Documentations

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