Magazine article Dance Magazine

Berlin Now: The Scene

Magazine article Dance Magazine

Berlin Now: The Scene

Article excerpt

Fourteen years after the fall of its iconic wall, Berlin has evolved from a symbol of separation to a global cultural crossroads at the border of "Old" and "New" Europe. Dancers from around the world populate the city's dance classes and companies and the funding fine print on the posters of many companies tells a story of multi-national co-production.

Americans are prominent in the mix. The work of more than a dozen choreographers from the United States has been significantly supported by Berlin theaters, studios, or presenting organizations in the last three years. They range from the well known, like Meg Stuart, whose latest work, Visitors Only, was co-commissioned by the prestigious Volksbuhne (People's Stage) in the former East Berlin; to less familiar artists, like Stephanie Maher and Sten Rudstrom whose evening-length piece Prarie, was co-produced by the tiny K77 Studios in a renovated former squat in the trendy Prenzlauerberg neighborhood. Others include Sommer Ulrickson, Shinichi Momo Koga, Scott Wells, Ami Garmon, Rachael Lincoln, who all found their way here from the West Coast, and Sarah Michelson, Christa Cocciole, Heidi Weiss, Jennifer Mann, and recent arrival Patrick Scully, all from the eastern United States.

What brings us all here is a sense of possibility and the heat from the friction of many dance ideas rubbing up against each other. The legacy of the socialist East has left housing and rehearsal studios very affordable. There is a vital cultural ecosystem nurturing young talented artists and giving them access to production resources before they've burnt out and given up. People talk, and write about dance a lot here and in thoughtful and challenging ways. (It was in Berlin that for the first time a critic addressed the "dramaturgy" of my work.) The cultural landscape includes the full range of venues from dozens of warehouse and storefront style performance spaces to three grand opera houses and everything in between. …

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