This year marks a 31st edition of the Days of Dance (Tanztage), a festival of modern dance for young and emerging performers, which runs January 6-22 at Sophiensæle, an important formative institution of Berlin's independent scene for drama, performance, and dance. Festival’s curator Mateuz Szymanówka, who last year had to run his very first edition entirely online, brings it to both, stage and the digital space, this month.
Photo by: Mayra Wallraff
In Berlin, every new year begins with the Tanztage festival. Since its launch in 1996, it has established itself as an important platform for up-and-coming dance artists, who are chosen each year through an open call by the festival team. What makes this dance event very Berlin are its democratic selection process and the organizers’ principles. They support participants from diverse range of backgrounds and experiences, including marginalized and cross-age casts, as well as various formats, such as stage performances, online performances, durational performances, installations, videos, and print.
This year’s program includes twelve acts which were originally planned for 2021 and several new productions and revivals (new versions of the existing productions), which focus on discourse subjects of power, protest, and empowerment, but, in the context of hope-based narrative, all in all, celebrate dancing together through the crisis and against despair.
Talented local and international choreographers, dancers, and creative minds present pieces, which will feed or, at the least, spark any sophisticated spectator’s curiosity and activate their mind. Worth noting, a piece titled Non-Playable Character by Berlin-based Julia Plawgo, a choreographed performance showcasing a hybrid body, part-AI and part-human, as it navigates and optimizes itself depending on the surroundings. Or Dandelion II, where the performers use a combination of dance and sign language to create a unique form of visual poetry. Or a solo piece DOOM, a three-hour performative installation of drone/doom metal concert.
Staying true to manifesting the healing powers of dance and claiming the space of resistance to social grievances, Szymanówka brings only one pandemic piece to the festival – a video installation Time of the Angel by Enad Marouf (which does not address Covid-19, but the outbreak of AIDS in the 1980s).
"We are alienated from our bodies. We have no idea how we feel, how we feel with one another. When we are one with our body, then we can think and act critically" – Mateusz Szymanówka brings a truly remarkable program based on his holistic knowledge of dance to Sophiensæle, with only few days of the festival left and surely not to be missed.