Chris Dercon unveils his first production as the new artistic director of the Volksbühne Theater in Berlin, on 14 September. This highly anticipated season, located in the Volksbühne’s main building on Rosa-Luxembourg-Platz and at a hangar space in the city’s now defunct Tempelhof Airport, launches with “Fous de Danse — All Berlin Dances at Tempelhof,” a series of dance pieces presented by the choreographer Boris Charmatz and the French conservatory Musée de la Danse. The Volksbühne will present a new adaptation of the “Iphigenia” myth, staged in Arabic, by the playwright Mohammad al-Attar and the director Omar Abusaada, and then will stage “Let Them Eat Chaos,” by the British spoken-word artist Kate Tempest.
Boris Charmatz carefully orchestrates performances, he subverts the traditional dance house by reframing it as a new kind of museum
A performance by the artist Tino Sehgal and the playwright Samuel Beckett will follow in November. A trilogy of Beckett’s works, directed by his former collaborator Walter Asmus, will open there later in the month. The Volksbühne is one of Berlin’s five major city-funded theater stages. For the past 25 years, under the artistic director Frank Castorf, the theater has become a home for experimental German works created by Mr. Castorf and his frequent collaborators. Mr. Castorf has developed a distinctive aesthetic of lengthy, abstract theater productions that often employ video and dispense with traditional narrative forms. The appointment of Mr. Dercon, the former Director of Tate Modern was highly contested by a number of staff and management of the theatre. All of this seems to have settled down.
Boris Charmatz, “Musée de la danse” at Volksbühne at Tempelhof Hangar 5, September 14-24, 2017. Boris Charmatz, Revolutionary Study by Isadora Duncan, Roman Photo with Volksbühne’s P14 youth theatre, Brit Rodemund and Christopher Roman (Dance On Ensemble) in William Forsythes Duett Catalogue, Le corsaire (excerpt) by Staatlichen Ballettschule Berlin, Hip-Hop Kids, Calico Mingling by Lucinda Childs, restaged by Ruth Childs, 44 children from Rennes perform Boutures d’un Sacre, Berlin Solo Forest with 10 dancers, Giant Soul Train realised by Marie Houdin and Raphael Hillebrand, collective dance Levée, Violin Phase by Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, Landing by Eszter Salamon with students of HZT Berlin, BEM Folk Dance Ensemble and in collaboration with Konservatorium für Türkische Musik Berlin i. a.
Artistic director: Boris Charmatz in collaboration with Sandra Neuveut With Fous de danse – All Berlin Dances at Tempelhof, the Volksbühne and the Musée de la danse is launching its new season under the open skies. From 12 noon until 10 pm the airfield will be transformed into a spectacular dance stage: warm-up, urban dance clubs, participatory choreographies, ensemble scenes, a massive soul train, traditional dances, a moving labyrinth of solo dancers and a dancefloor appear in succession, moving to a wild rhythm. Fous de danse is driven by the desire of to create an ephemeral dancing community, to fill the mineral surface of Tempelhof’s airfield with bodies and various states, to invent a choreographic form that transforms over time and to invite the public to take part in this metamorphosis of the space and the gestures populating it. For the past two decades, the internationally renowned French dancer and choreographer Boris Charmatz has been one of the most radical protagonists of contemporary dance. Fous de danse is the prelude to a 14-day journey, in which Charmatz and his dancers confront us with the imposing architecture of the Tempelhof site, with light and darkness. Both children and adults, whether local Berliners and newcomers: everyone can be a dancer in this unique experiment. It is an invitation to a city, to perform itself.
The French choreographer Boris Charmatz carefully orchestrates performances, he subverts the traditional dance house by reframing it as a new kind of museum, which he aptly refers to as Musée de la danse. One of the performances included in Berlin Art Week, titled A Dancer’s Day, will be making its world premiere on September 14 at the new, second location of Chris Dercon’s Volksbühne, the Hangar 5 of the defunct Tempelhof airport. For the work, Charmartz has employed a cast of thirty dancers to focus on the daily routines of dancers—warmup, rehearsal, performance, rest, and finally, the dance floor—over the course of a six-hour performance.
Volksbühne at Tempelhof Hangar 5 is located at Tempelhofer Damm, 10965 Berlin, Germany. Admission varies according to performance; Tickets generally cost €20 ($24).
Photo: P C Robinson © artlyst 2017