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“This is not dance”

Interview: Spanish choreographer and dancer Hansel Nezza. Nezza will show his intimate interactive installation, Cámara Oscura at the Uferstudios this month as part of the Plataforma festival starting Oct 12.

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Photo by Anna Achon

Spanish choreographer and dancer Hansel Nezza dived into the Berlin dance scene nearly four years ago, making the move north from the sunny beaches of Barcelona.

After gaining exposure and experience through his work with established artists like Sasha Waltz and Constanza Macras, he launched his own company, Marabula with fellow dancer Agnes Forn. The outfit is garnering a reputation for innovative multimedia works.

In Cámara Oscura, the action is projected onto a suspended circular surface. Nezza will show this intimate interactive installation, in addition to a related work, Cenital, at the Uferstudios this month as part of the Plataforma festival.

What prompted your move to Berlin?

When I first came to Berlin, it was a cold November day. My friends asked if I wanted to go to an improvised butoh dance show. I actually did butoh dance and I like it, but I thought, “What could be more boring than improvised butoh dance? It’s not even a proper show!”

Anyway, I went. It was full of people, and not only an audience related to the dance world, but a general audience! It was there that I realised people in Berlin are more involved in culture.

Did you find it easier to establish your work here than in Barcelona?

In Barcelona, culture is part of an incestuous circle. Either you are inside the circle or you are out; there is nothing between. It is difficult to find an alternative art movement.

Here in Berlin there is space to create, to try, to risk, to research. People aren’t as prejudiced. And if you have an idea, it is easy to find a place to produce it.

What about the audiences?

The audience here is so open-minded. When I first came, we did a three-hour performance in front of an art gallery. And there were people who stayed for three hours! In Barcelona people want things fast.

How was working with Constanza Macras?

She is a really interesting person, a real underground Berliner. She composes from her personal world and gives you the space to participate. She creates with you.

You present two works at Plataforma. What can we expect?

They are so interesting! In Cenital, we mix video, concept and installation art with live music. There’s movement and interaction between all of these elements and also live image creation – this is not dance. What we tried to create was a sensual world that would move the audience’s feelings.

Cámara Oscura is an installation where the audience edits its own story. A space where everything happens at the same time, where the selective look of the audience puts the storyline in order. Basically, a small group from the audience enters a dark chamber, in the middle of which is a horizontal circular screen. Moving the position of the screen up or down enables them to focus on the different individuals of the constellation, discover the relation between them, and build narrative links.

What is the aim of Plataforma?

There are a lot of Ibero-Latin artists who currently live in Berlin. We wanted to put them together in order to show their works. It was a decision to exchange.

Is there a non-linguistic Ibero-Latin language?

Yes, sure. If you go to a bar and there are Ibero-Latins and Germans, you can easily see some palpable differences: the way they move, the way they talk. So works in Plataforma are based on these differences, which we don’t often think about but are easy to recognise. But what defines an Ibero-Latin culture? That is the point of the festival!

Plataforma, Oct 12-16 | Uferstudios 12, 13 & 14, Uferstr. 8-11/23, Wedding, U-Bhf Pankstr.