Welcoming Statements

A forest of worlds

Programme introduction by Ricardo Carmona

Imagine you’re in a forest, a place of countless creatures, a symphony of sounds, and a multiplicity of paths. In the woods, everything is interrelated: various beings and manifold worlds. Imagine a festival like a forest, where there isn’t one unique trail to follow but many to discover. You might look for a familiar artist, or you might just choose to drift, wander, get lost, and in doing so, come across artists and works you’d never encounter before.

Woodlands maintain their ecological balance through the interconnections between all their organisms. No element can exist without the others, and their existence is inextricably interwoven with that of their neighbours. The visuals of this year’s promotional campaign, which you can see around Berlin, reflects this co-habitation and co-influence. Several beings living together, made of each other: a tree fungus made of butterfly wings, a river of quartz, a fish fin acting as the delicate petal of a poppy, and a sea anemone taking root in a forest.

Today’s world is a large, multidimensional web of interdependence, and this is also present in the programme of Tanz im August 2023. A polyphonic song with a multitude of voices, works and artistic paths. A forest of worlds.

Ecology investigates the relationships between living organisms and their environment, but it’s also a question of imagination. The twenty-two artists from the project “Interconnecting Dance & Ecology” will share their visions with us as we progress along a route in a park. Other shows in the programme also move in this direction, like Ginevra Panzetti, Enrico Ticconi’s research dealing with islands. Agata Siniarska makes us think about the devastation being wrought on nature in war contexts, and Chiara Bersani invites us to join her in the undergrowth of a forest to imagine a new language.

Just as a plethora of beings populate a forest, many diverse dance forms inhabit the Tanz im August programme: works that abolish rigid ideas and framings of dance, and several artists who cross-pollinate different genres. Marco da Silva Ferreira brings street and folkloric dances together, Nadia Beugré connects elements of voguing and coupé-décalé, and Ballet national de Marseille / (LA)HORDE puts social media and video game choreographies on the stage. Serge Aimé Coulibaly combines traditional forms and rhythms from Europe and West Africa with contem- porary movement in an explosion of energy and trance. With the dance battle project Outbox Movement, we see a fusion of many of these styles, as is the case in the piece by Trajal Harrell, which celebrates dance across gender and time. Marlene Monteiro Freitas’ eclectic style mixes marches, rituals and sports, high and pop culture.

Forests are also places of stories, and many of this year’s artists are captivating storytellers. And what media could be better suited to telling stories than the body and movement? Some dive into narratives that speak across the ages, like Dorothée Munyaneza, who invokes the Caribbean figure of Tituba, who was accused of witchcraft in the 17th century. Taoufiq Izeddiou takes inspiration from the same era in the trance rituals of a Sufi brotherhood. While Kat Válastur reconfigures the ancient Greek tragedy of Iphigenia through a feminist lens, Radouan Mriziga researches the stories and sounds of the Amazigh culture of North Africa. Other artists use the richness of stories inscribed in bodies as an archive: Rosas goes back to the simplest movement – walking – to reflect upon notions of individualism and collectivity; Yasmeen Godder goes deep into the body to examine how empathy is translated into gestures and sounds; and Cherish Menzo works with rap songs and musical paradigms from hip hop to interrogate restrictive categorisations of the body.

Imagine you’re in a forest – the experience transcends sight. Hearing, smelling, tasting and touching are just as important. Let’s follow this lead and enjoy this year’s festival as a multidimensional, multisensorial experience, and open our- selves up to various perceptions of what the world is, and what it can be.

Ricardo Carmona
Artistic Director & the Team of Tanz im August
May 2023

Welcome to the Garden of Dance!

Greeting by Annemie Vanackere

If we imagine Berlin in summer as a big garden, then the Festival Tanz im August occupies a special, idiosyncratic spot in it. Planted, tended, raked, and burrowed through by multiple artists, visitors, and curators from all over the world, a unique artistic ecosystem has been living and growing in this space since 1989. Under the care of the new Artistic Director, Ricardo Carmona, this system will receive new stimuli, new seeds, new pruning, and new caretaking. I am very much looking forward to this!

What might an international dance festival look like in an era in which geopolitical divides and wars are becoming more deeply entrenched, in the face of the continuing and dramatic movement of refugees around the world, and with the irreversible climate change looming on the horizon? Is there still room for joy? Designing and organizing this festival has necessitated a lot of mental work, thinking about what is meaningful, worthwhile, relevant – and beautiful – to present now.

This is the kind of mental work that Ricardo Carmona has been practicing for several decades now, in several roles and contexts. Many things come together here: He studied dance and biology, he not only knows the works of these artists as finished products, but also how they were produced. He understands what it takes to make art and therefore, what facilitates it and what hinders its production. And that art blooms more wildly through cooperation and collaboration than in isolation and competition. Because of his background, he was confronted with postcolonial issues and with Europe’s relationship with the rest of the world at an early stage in his development. And lastly, his years in Berlin allowed his crisp outsider’s eye together with a deep knowledge of the Berlin scene to grow into a keen observing awareness of our city, of the world, and of dance.

I’m looking forward to every single artistic work, every dance this summer, which always constitutes its own personal world, but is also a part of our shared world. The questions our troubling present poses to us both politically and as individuals are also the questions that choreographers and dancers are responding to. Not always directly, but perhaps their indirectness makes them richer and more rewarding: especially when our European perspectives on the world are expanded or corrected. It will certainly be inspiring to see how dance and ecology can connect and combine forces. Get ready for the countless surprises awaiting you in this diverse garden of dance.

My heartfelt thanks go out to all the participating artists and their supporting net- works, and to our partners — Berliner Festspiele, Grün Berlin, Kultur Büro Elisabeth, Radialsystem, SOPHIENSÆLE, and the Volksbühne am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz as well as our cooperation partners – Kultursommerfestival and Tanzfabrik Berlin. We’re also grateful for the kind support of the district offices of Friedrichshain–Kreuzberg, Lichtenberg, and Mitte, and our funders and sponsors, including first and foremost the City of Berlin, the Berlin Capital Cultural Fund, the E.ON Stiftung, and the Big Pulse Dance Alliance / Creative Europe, who have supported us, HAU Hebbel am Ufer, in keeping the choreographic ecosystem of Tanz im August alive and thriving.

Annemie Vanackere
Artistic and Managing Director HAU Hebbel am Ufer
May 2023

Fotocredit Header: Zach Reiner auf Unsplash