Sasha Waltz, Susan Bernofsky

by on Nov.11, 2010

The translator and translation scholar Susan Bernofsky has a blog called “The Berlin Blog,” which I came upon this morning. Read an interesting piece about the choreographer Sasha Waltz.

Here’s an excerpt from her post:

“Waltz’s signature production, Körper (Bodies), which premiered at the Schaubühne in 2000 and was reprised there this August, was her breakthrough work; in it, she developed a strategy of not just using the bodies of her dancers to show us a dance but making bodies (and corporality itself) the subject of the work. This was the first piece of hers to travel extensively internationally. It established her as one of the leading voices in German choreography.”

I don’t know anything about dance, but I’m interested in it, if only because I have such a love-hate relationship to the body.

4 comments for this entry:
  1. John Dermot Woods

    Reading Kirsten Kaschock’s SLEIGHT manuscript did a lot to make me try to understand dance. I also saw her do a performance here in Brooklyn earlier this year, along with her reading. Pretty amazing to see her written work supported by her dance – had never had that opportunity.

    Excerpt from SLEIGHT right here:
    http://www.actionyes.org/issue5/kaschock/kaschock1.html

  2. Carina Finn

    I found this trailer for the piece on youtube, and was really interested by the way in which waltz’ choreography emphasizes the materiality of the bodies in a very similar manner to that in which davis schneiderman’s soundplay emphasized the plastic-ness of language at the reading last night. in the opening scene, it’s literally the twitching of individual muscles and the natural movement of flesh due to such things as gravity rather than hyper-stylized movement that grabs the viewer’s attention. in later sequences, the focus zooms out and the viewer sees the whole body as automaton, controlled by other bodies that are also automatons — and there is the sense that all of this is set in motion by the choreographer, possessed of a similarly material body.

    in this other clip, around minute 1:06, there’s this lovely moment where the dancers play long strands of artificial hair (attached to another dancer) like violin strings while the dancer whose hair is being played stands completely still and expressionless, aware of the thingness of her body and seemingly content to be an instrument.

    it’s beautiful, but there’s also something violent about the sawing action of so many dancers playing human hair like an instrument. much of the movement in waltz’ work seems to have this kind of quality. I watched clips from another piece, zweiland, where two attractive young women loudly thrash about in high heels and fashionable clothes. the effect is jarring and seizure-y, not unlike ryan trecartin’s work (which is so concerned with the plastic/artificial nature of identity), not unlike schneiderman’s sense of sound (which is so concerned with the plasticness/materiality of language).

    I keep seeing these connections re: the materiality of medium cropping up in all kinds of art lately, but there’s some

  3. Johannes

    Thanks, these are good clips. One fascinating thing to me is that I can’t tell where the audience supposedly views the spectacle.

    Johannes

  4. Carina Finn

    keystone-like element that I can’t quite figure out re: why it’s all happening now?