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The Economist calls Germany "the dance centre of the world"

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The August 12 issue of The Economist has an article entitled : "On Top of the World: Germany is Now the Dance Centre of the World." (Unfortunately I can't link it. You have to be a subscriber to have access to marterial on www.economist.com.)

Here are some highlights:

... today Germany is one of the most dance-obsessed nations on earth. Dance festivals, congresses and symposia take place there on a regular basis. A monthly magazine, "ballettanz," sells thousands of copies and caries detailed coverage of international dance events. The pace is being stepped up. In June, the Federal Cultural Foundation instituted a scheme whereby nine cities will share a total of 12.5m euros ($16m) over five years to develop dance.

The article describes a lively, highly decentralized dance world, and one that is very open to welcoming outsiders to run and create companies. It mentions Martin Schlapfer, Marguerite Donlon, William Forsythe, John Neumeier, the late John Cranko, and -- of course -- Pina Bausch. But not Vladimir Malakhov. In fact, classical dance is entirely absent from this overview. :clapping:

Next week sees the start, in Berlin, of "Tanz im August" one of the longest international dance festivals anywhere, using numerous venues across the city and with parties spilling out on to the pavements until the early hours. The capital's state-subsidised theatres and opera houses are closed for the summer, so the festival hires three major houses -- the Hebbel Theatre, the Berlin Festpielhaus, and the Schaubuhne -- and takes advantage of a public that is in holiday mood and keen to sample something different: big names -- such as Anne Teresa De Keeresmaeker, a dancer-choreographer from Brussels -- feature alongside more experimental work taking place in zanier venues such as Dock 11 and the Podewil, near Alexanderplatz.

Berlin is the big magnet for dance people, but ...

One of the wonders of this intense interest for dance among Germans is that it has flowered in relative backwaters such as Wuppertal [Pina Bausch's headquarters] and Wolfsburg, the Volkswagen town where the annual dance festival now draws nearly half of its audience from outside Germany.

The article concludes with a small warning against the tendency to try to imitate Bausch, especially those who use the term "dance theater" for anything they choose.

Pastiche, pretentiousness, and, for audiences, downright boredom and posturing and silliness are dangers the post-Bausch generation will need to avoid.
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From the Tanz im August site


one can see this is no small deal, as there are about 80 events scheduled. By clicking on an event, illustrations and descriptions are available. It becomes obvious why the archaic pointe kind of ballet on view in Malakhov's Berlin museum was not worth mentioning, as ballet has now progressed to range from blowing balloons to herding sheep.

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Thanks, drb. I get your point. But think of the savings by cutting out pointe shoes! Here's one short program (August 29) selected at random:

Eleanor Bauer


ELEANOR! (2004) is a critical portrayal of the frantic drive for success that consumes a self-producing artist to the point where the survival-based need to promote oneself overrides artistic integrity.


A body, „read,“ finished? A book – a rotting cadaver? Stench and falseness. The flesh is writing, and writing is never read: it always remains to be read, studied, sought, invented. (Hélène Cixous)

Tarek Halaby



This (intensely fake) piece (that pretends to be) about real life is an autobiographical drama (devised without a single thought towards dramaturgy). Funny and (not so) physical, MY (AWFUL) LIFE WITH TING-YU will keep you (unsure of why you are) laughing and wondering (if you should get up and leave).

Perhaps this sounds more promising in the original German?

It would be very interesting to hear from anyone who has seen programs in this festival. Those programs I clicked randomly reminded me of a time (in NYC .. and long ago) when the "performance art" itself was usually less effective (and much LONGER) than the often witty program descriptions.

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As something of an antedote to the perspective of the Economist article, here is a photoset of an all-Balanchine program in Berlin:


Go to galleries to staatsballett berlin May/06

and you'll find Serenade, Tchaikowksy PdD, Apollo (about 10 photos of the original version, starring Vladimir Malakhov), and Ballet Imperial.

At least there is real substance at the center of the centre.

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Thanks, drb. Very interesting and worth looking at!

I also just had a chance to look more closely at sandik's link to the Stuggart Ballet. Am I alone in being quite astonished at the image of Alessandra Ferri in bizarre blond wig as Blanche DuBois in Neumeier's version of Streetcar Named Desire? Now we know what happend to Baby Jane.

Check out the photo gallery.
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