Dance hall days

Emerging choreographers get their star turn at Sophiensaele’s Tanztage festival (Jan 5-15).

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Untimely Festival. Photo by Ute Langkafel

Emerging choreographers get their star turn at Sophiensaele’s Tanztage festival.

It’s not just fresh indie faces presenting themselves on Sophiensaele’s stage for this yearly celebration of up-and-comers, but also new approaches. Four returning Tanztage choreographers will present 15-minute solos on new horizons in so-called documentary dance. Maybe it’s a rip-off of the documentary theatre craze, but on the other hand, maybe not even abstract dance has the luxury of turning off reality these days. (Not so, suggests German actor-dancer Maria Walser, in a piece called “What a Thought is Not” where the tag is “A declaration of war against reality!”).

Tanztage is also a great opportunity to see international artists in Berlin who aren’t slick old hands at the festival touring circuit. For 2017, Sophiensaele has invited the entire Untimely Festival (granted, it’s just three shows), which was produced – and later banned – in Tehran. The original producer Mohamad Abbasi stresses that his aptly named Invisible Center of Contemporary Dance was created to introduce, for the first time in Iran, the idea of contemporary dance. Hyperbole? Maybe, but lucky for us. If it’s gender trouble you’re after, Tanztage’s got that too: the festival begins with “A Loose Opening” from queer-scene performer Pilladelphia Creemz. In fact, a lot of the pieces look puzzling, so good thing there are opportunities for talk-backs and communal head-scratching after almost every show.

Tanztage Jan 5-15 Sophiensaele | Sophienstr. 18, Mitte