International dance festival Tanz im August is back with a bang. Following two scaled-back editions during the pandemic – the festival was almost entirely digital in 2020 and reduced in length in 2021 – its comeback is set to be a showstopper.
This year, indigenous traditions take centre stage with over 200 international and local artists from over 25 countries performing 21 productions over three weeks.
Tanz im August will be shaking a leg at 10 different venues, including Haus der Berliner Festspiele, HAU, Volksbühne, Radialsystem and St. Elisabeth Church. Here’s our round-up of the top five performances not to be missed.
The Dancing Public
Danish choreographer Mette Ingvartsen delves deep into dancing mania and gets groovy in The Dancing Public. Rediscovering the stage in this new post-pandemic era, Ingvartsen will be exploring extreme dancing and dancing in bursts of madness in her solo piece, working up a sweat and thrusting her moves to heavy beats and techno.
- Sophiensaele Aug17-19, starts 21:00
The Köln Concert
One of the most famous piano solos is at the very heart of this choreography Keith Jarrett’s The Köln Concert, which the piece is named after. Members of the Schauspielhaus Zürich Dance Ensemble join American choreographer Trajal Harrell, who blends shit-hot elements of voguing and smooth ballroom culture together in a modern and exciting manner.
With music also from Joni Mitchell, the dancers strike poses before stumbling as if they’ve been enjoying a Berlin weekend just a little too much, before getting back up to dance flawlessly, symbolising the trials and tribulations of life. Likely to bring about some existential discussions between you and your mates!
- HAU1 Aug 26, 27, starts 21:00.
This piece comes with instructions requiring audience members to arrive 30 minutes before the start and not to forget a “fully charged, Bluetooth-enabled smartphone”. It’s now the future and yes, there’s an app. German choreographer Sebastian Matthias gets creative with phones spitting out electronic sounds in response to proximity of others to form one body of sound. Chaotic and fun, the performance explores how humankind reacts to others when they are ruled by fear. What’s not to like?
- Sophiensaele Aug 10-12, starts 18:00.
Classical Thai dancers are required to learn 59 poses in the Thai Theppanom canon before they can become professional dancers. Thai choreographer Pichet Klunchun takes these 700-year-old moves and adds new gestures in this piece that fuses history and innovation.
- HAU2 Aug 19-20, starts 21:00 and Aug 21, starts 19:00.
Thank You For Coming: Space
Performance artist Faye Driscoll gets up front and personal with the audience in Thank You For Coming: Space. A meditation on the themes of love and loss, Driscoll’s performance, in which she appears alone on the stage, unfolds through the use of pulleys, ropes and audience interaction and is designed to highlight how much metaphorical and physical ‘weight’ the audience holds.
- Sophiensaele Aug 24-27, starts 18:00.
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