One Step Ahead? – Impressions of the Dance Platform 2010 in Nuremberg
The German Dance Platform, which takes place biennial in an different town since 1990, was showing eleven contemporary danceproductions from Germany in February.
The date is scheduled two years before the event, and for many dance experts, if not for the majority, the four days in February are marked in red on the calendar. As ever, the German Dance Platform functions as a showcase of the national dance scene and as a meeting place for the dance community. It is not detrimental to its popularity that they met just four months before at the Dance Congress in Hamburg, as was the case this year, or that they could meet again in just over six months in Düsseldorf for North-Rhine/Westphalia’s dance festival, internationale tanzmesse.
Unlike these two other major events, however, the Dance Platform seems to be giving the scene a sense of identity. In any case, that is the impression aroused by the “ahs” and “ohs“ when the names of those who have been invited are announced, and even more so when the names are revealed of those not invited to give a marathon presentation of their pieces for a standard fee. And the visitors who have travelled to be there (some 500 professional visitors from more than 50 countries were accredited for the event in Nuremberg) expect the selection to be representative.
Wide and deep
The intense excitement over the four days of German dance may be partly due to the history of the Dance Platform. It began with the BRDance Festival and developed to become a pre-selection for the Rencontres Chorégraphiques Internationales de Seine-Saint-Denis in Bagnolet near Paris (with the selection being made exclusively by Anita Mathieu). From 2002 onwards, it was organised by one of the institutions to have previously hosted the event. Since 2004, the decisions have been taken by a jury. The jury and its “statement”, as juror Melanie Suchy called their selection, is the main reason cited for the buzz the Dance Platform creates.
Now, for the first time, there was an official programme format in Nuremberg for the selection of the members of the jury. Jochen Roller, performer, choreographer and curator at the Kampnagel in Hamburg, engaged in a daily expert discussion with Petra Roggel of the Goethe-Institut on the quality of the pieces seen the previous day. Eleven companies (most of them from Berlin, Hamburg and North-Rhine/Westphalia) staging 14 productions were to be seen in 29 performances. The first was Ich sah: Das Lamm auf dem Berg Zion, Offb. 14,1 by VA Wölfl / Neuer Tanz, which was performed in the impressive hall of the Neues Museum. It set standards regarding the precision of the performers, the stunning visual force, and the work of perceiving, which drained viewers’ attention.
The Dance Platform’s closing performance at the Neues Museum, Richard Sigal’s cross-media piece As if stranger, was the only piece judged to be similarly finely crafted, complex and meticulous. In between, there were small-format pieces. Monica Antezana’s solo Babel Fish Moves – Universal Movement Translations is about the universal comprehensibility of dance. In contrast, What they are instead of by Jared Gradinger and Angela Schubot, was very explicit. Working with nothing but their bodies and their breath, they energetically threw themselves at each other in the continuous fire of two half-hour sex choreographies. Without panting at all, Fabien Prioville’s Jailbreak Mind takes us to the aesthetically smooth world of football, where death takes place in a flash of colours. There was a performance of four entertaining episodes from the Logobi series by Gintersdorfer and Klassens, Antonia Baehrs score Lachen made the audience laugh, and Wilhelm Groener’s witty Hotel Hassler succeeded in combining lightheartedness with the deepest depths. Some visitors saw Martin Nachbar’s Urheben Aufheben, about his multifaceted work in reconstructing Dore Hoyer’s Affectos Humanos, as being unintentionally funny. Many members of the audience did not like Ludica’s The Corner or Ben J. Riepe’s Liebe | Tod | Teufel – Das Stück.
In keeping with the event’s motto “One Step Ahead”, visitors moved from one venue to the next, from the Festsaal im Künstlerhaus to the Tafelhalle in the KunstKulturQuartier (whose director Michael Bader organised the Dance Platform), from the Neues Museum to the Kongresshalle, from Theatre Pfütze to Theatre Mummpitz, from talks with artists to presentations by Tanzplan Deutschland, the National Performance Network or the European Dancehouse Network, which were on the fringe programme. Something that was not to be seen at all, however was a dance artist from Nuremberg (or elsewhere in southern Germany). So people asked why the Dance Platform was taking place in Nuremberg at all if the city does not make its mark. Representatives of choreographers who are trying to strengthen their local scenes would have liked to engage in talks with the Nurembergers.
The performance by the choreographers’ association ID_Frankfurt was seen as a very positive example of an interesting format that meets this need. It had just been set up in Frankfurt and introduced itself at the Dance Platform. How can one do something for the independent dance scene? How do art and business fit together in the local context? Exchange was in demand here. Perhaps that could be an idea for the next Dance Platform, which is to take place at the European Centre for Arts Dresden/Hellerau. The date has already been set for 23 to 26 February 2012.
has been a lecturer of Theatre Studies at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich since 2004. She trained in the fields of dance, dance education and publishing. Since 1994, she has been working as a journalist for the Süddeutsche Zeitung and Deutschlandfunk, among others, as well as editing the journals tanzdrama, tanzjournal (2003–2009) and tanz (from 2010). She is a member of a number of national and international dance juries.
Translation: Eileen Flügel
Copyright: Goethe-Institut e. V., Online-Redaktion
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