tierforme/l/n : Masterclasses with Martin Nachbar, Claire Filmon, David Weber-Krebs, Maximilian Haas, Krõõt Juurak, Alex Bailey, Miriam Jakob, and Antonia Baehr


Tierforme/l/n  /  Animal Forms & Formulas

A Tanzfonds Erbe Project

Simone Forti, central protagonist of American Postmodern Dance, has offered to Martin Nachbar the re-realization of her choreography Sleep Walkers (aka Zoo Mantras). Drawing on this key work, which will be shown in Germany for the first time nearly 50 years after it was made, Martin Nachbar, together with Forti-expert Claire Filmon, contemporary performers Antonia Baehr, Miriam Jakob, artists’ duo Krõõt Juurak & Alex Bailey and David Weber-Krebs, will research and expand on the work that is currently being conducted on the human-animal-relation in contemporary performance. The aim is not, however, to add new social or philosophical aspects to a recently trending topic. The focus is to lie on animal choreography as such – which is to be methodologically and historically consolidated as well as developed further.

In order to intensify the artistic exchange and to render possible a cross-generational public discussion of new perspectives and insights concerning animal choreography, the project will involve various collaborations in addition to the performance programme itself: a cooperation with Gabriele Brandstetter’s seminar Animal Dance conducted at FU Berlin’s Dance and Theatre Studies programme, a series of masterclasses in cooperation with the Inter-University Centre for Dance and Tanzfabrik Berlin, and an artists’ laboratory.

The event programme at Sophiensaele Berlin will include Martin Nachbar’s solo performance Animal Dances as well as the first performances in Germany of Simone Forti’s  Zoo Mantras (aka Sleep Walkers) and Striding Crawling. An Open Lab will present to audiences direct insight into the participating artists’ research processes. As part of the discourse marathon Animal Talks, the artists involved have chosen one expert each so as to discuss specific questions concerning the artistic engagement with the animal according to an individually chosen format. The events are accompanied by video screenings and discussion rounds. The programme will conclude with an improvisation by the artists involved and special guests.

Masterclasses, 25-30 September

Dances and choreographies about, as, with and for animals: Animal Dances, in which an animal is ‘seen’ or is addressed, in which animals become performers themselves, in which the relation between humans and animals is focused on, in which we perceive ourselves as animals and animals as partners of human beings: six artists and artist-teams share their working approaches and their current forms of engagement in a series of masterclasses. They provide comprehensive insight into contemporary dance practices as well as thoughts upon the relation between animals and human beings and the role of the human subject in society: through somatic practices and real-time-composition, working with the imagination, projection and scores, exercises of animal-drag and the examination of a politics of a multiple gaze.

Monday 25 September: Martin Nachbar
Thursday 26 September: Claire Filmon
Wednesday 27 September: David Weber-Krebs, Maximilian Haas
Thursday 28 September: Krõõt Juurak, Alex Bailey
Friday 29 September: Miriam Jakob
Saturday 30 September: Antonia Baehr

Monday, 25.09
Masterclass with Martin Nachbar: Somamimetics

In somatic practices, the anatomic imagination of the practitioner is used to create new modes of perception and movement in improvisation. In my choreographic work with this method I realized that the anatomic atlas can be replaced by any image system, as long as it is meaningful to the practitioners. In Animal Dances, we have studied animal anatomies, sensations and actions, and imagined actually becoming the studied animal, embracing the impossibility of this attempt. In this workshop, I present some of these techniques, inviting the participants to join me in simple imagination and movement exercises.

Tuesday, 26.09
Masterclass with Claire Filmon

It’s with Simone Forti that I start to approach movement coming from observing animal movements. In this master-class, I’ll share at first some explorations I’ve discovered with Simone Forti, from walking to crawling. Then from a series of pictures, videos or memories of animal movements that interested us, we will deepen the explorations and finish by short compositions in small groups with these explorations.

Wednesday, 27.09
Masterclass with David Weber-Krebs & Maximilian Haas

In this masterclass, we will reflect on the possibilities of conducting artistic research, especially with atypical performers (such as animals). We will retrace some of the main steps of the project Balthazar (2011-2015) and ponder upon the practical, conceptual and ethical issues that we have been facing during our extensive work with donkeys. In so doing, we will touch upon broader issues of collective devising processes in performance/dance, collaboration across disciplinary and methodological difference and meeting others in and through work.

Thursday, 28.09
Masterclass with Krõõt Juurak & Alex Bailey: Performing for Pets

We will share our interest in the position of pets as cultural producers and consumers, as artists, performers and emerging audiences. Domestic pets read humans mostly through body language. A typical pet spends at least as much time, if not more, looking at humans than looking at members of their own species. In “Performances for Pets” we mimic and reflect the pets’ body language back at them. A reversed version of this situation might be a parrot addressing humans in human language, however removed from its original meaning the gestures become more abstract.

In this masterclass we will also introduce our practice of ‘imprinting’ various non-human physical qualities and movements onto our bodies, through which a personal movement language suited for performances for pets can be developed. What are the similarities and differences between human and non-human audiences, is the performer inherently subordinate, i.e. working ‘for’ the audience, how does the audience gain agency?

Friday, 29.09
Masterclass with Miriam Jakob

In the twentieth century, monkeys and apes were seen to inhabit a liminal zone between the “potent, mythical poles” of nature and culture. According to Donna Haraway, they are “almost human”. This “almost” points to an ambivalence which shows monkeys – and apes in particular – as an enigmatic mirror image of human beings and yet as animals, non-human “others”.

The workshop will use a pre-produced video projection of gorillas living in the zoo as a catalyst for an experimental choreographic encounter between difference and indistinguishability. The question addressed will be that of the extent to which methods borrowed from film-making can be transferred to the stage. The aesthetic equality the medium of film is capable of producing is to be made available to choreographic practice. In this respect, the mechanical camera gaze and the animal gaze will constitute a starting point for an engagement with Robert Bresson’s methodology that is to form the theoretical focus of the workshop, complementing the practical exercises.

Saturday, 30.09
Masterclass with Antonia Baehr

In this masterclass, we will investigate how scores can function as a constitutive factor for kinship relations. We will use scores as tools to explore portraiture and self-portraiture, in relation to temporal and animal drag. This masterclass addresses different models of conceiving and reading scores, directing and of collaboration. It also looks at gender performance as a form of score that encompasses language, gestures, and all kinds of socio-symbolic signs. It examines the boundaries between score/interpretation, rehearsal/performance, director/performer, and audience/presentation. This masterclass’s focus is an investigation through praxis.


For more information on tierforme/l/n, click here.