Ballet director Karl Alfred Schreiner invented for his ensemble in 2013 a format that has become cult: minutemade. In the twinkling of an eye, a choreographer creates in this "dance soap" a complete piece in only five days and with up to twenty dancers. Everything is allowed. The next piece, however, has to begin where the previous piece ended. It's open where the choreographic journey will then go. At DANCE this successful format will be curated by the festival directors, adapted to the festival conditions, and cast with high-caliber guest performers. The choreographers for Minutemade for DANCE and the ballet company of Staatstheater am Gärtnerplatz are Kat Valastur; Daina Ashbee; and Eisa Jocson. The music will be composed and performed live by Polina Lapkovskaja (aka Pollyester).
This will be the second time Minutemade for DANCE was created. For the last edition of the DANCE festival Emanuel Gat, Benôit Lachambre, and Nicole Peisl were the choreographers of this successful format, and this year three artists were selected to create a piece for the Munich company.
Kat Válastur, who trained at the Hellenic State School of Dance and the Trisha Brown Studios in New York, lives in Berlin. In 2001 she founded the research platform adLibdances. She received her master's degree from Zentrum Tanz in Berlin, an interdisciplinary institution working with other institutions of learning. Afterwards she asked herself, "What is left to be danced?" And she began to conduct pure research and to reconsider what she was familiar with. Time, for example. The result was the duet Lang, and she went on an international tour with this piece. The four-part Odyssey project (Oh! Deep sea, 2010–12) also deals with time; it was coproduced with Berliner HAU / Hebbel am Ufer and presented in 2012. A grant from the Institute for Spatial Experiments in 2013/14, under the direction of Ólafur Elíasson and in cooperation with the Berlin University of the Arts, inspired her to do her next project, The Marginal Sculptures of Newtopia (2014–16), once again a series, and once again produced and presented by HAU. In 2017 there followed the first work in a new series, The Staggered Dances of Beauty, and that same year this choreographer had a retrospective at HAU and was nominated for the George Tabori Prize. The dance critic Astrid Kaminski characterized Kat Válastur's work as precise research: "The energy and precision (...) to continue considering and developing the found material, this is what it's about. The repetition of physical gestures with the goal of establishing them and by doing so to generate knowledge becomes with her a questioning, through dancing, of utopian as well as dystopian conditions."
Daina Ashbee was a guest at the DANCE festival in 2017 with her disturbing, between vulnerability and power oscillating duet Unrelated. Since then this choreographer, who has lived in British Columbia and now lives in Montreal, has been a guest at international festivals (Tanzbiennale Venedig, 2017; Rencontres chorégraphiques internationales de Seine-Saint-Denis; Oktoberdans in Norway) and prominent houses worldwide. When she was in her mid-20s she had already received her first awards in Canada and was considered to be "somebody to watch." The magazine tanz named her a "beacon of hope" in 2017. In 2018 she choreographed for the Biennale College at the Biennale Danza in Venice. Daina Ashbee is an artist-in-residence at Agora de la danse in Montreal until 2020 and an associate artist at Centre de Création O Vertigo (CCOV).
In her radical pieces Daina Ashbee deals with female sexuality and the situation of the First Nations, the indigenous peoples of Canada. She is a descendent of Dutch immigrants and the indigenous Cree people, whose spirituality, bond with nature, and social reality plays a huge role in her work.
The Philippine choreographer and performer Eisa Jocson brings together post-colonial working conditions, female body formatting and projection screens for sexual desire, the transgression of hetero-normative rules, and the trans-culturalism of LGBT in sparkling, sinister productions. She was a guest for the first time at the SPIELART theater festival in Munich in 2017 with Princess, the first part of the trilogy Happyland, and she put Disney's Snow White in the context of capitalistic and colonial exploitation. Eisa Jocson says about her work: "Ballet was formative in my physical and movement orientation. My visual arts education and practice gave me access to theoretical discourse. Pole dancing enabled me to investigate movement in relation to its social context." She applied the pole context to her first choreography, Death of the Pole Dancer (2011). For Macho Dancer (2013) she had hypermasculine dancers in Philippine bars teach her their style, and for Host (2015) she reflected on Japanese women who, by acting as a "one-woman-entertainment-service-machine," make themselves available to be "purchased" by businessmen.
The music for Minutemade for DANCE will be performed live by Pollyester, Polina Lapkovskaja, who has been active as a performance artist, vocalist, composer, and musician in Munich since the mid-1990s. She has been creating theater music since 2008 for Kammerspiele in Munich; Theater Basel; Residenztheater in Munich; and Deutsches Theater Berlin. In 2013 she received a music grant from the City of Munich.
Choreografers: Kat Válastur, Daina Ashbee, Eisa Jocson
Live-Music: Polina Lapkovskaja (Pollyester)
Dancers: Ensemble of the Staatstheaters am Gärtnerplatz
In Cooperation with the Staatstheater am Gärtnerplatz Munich.
With the support of: Vertretung der Regierung von Québec - Berlin.
Photos: © Marie-Laure Briane