Dancers Trending

10 Minutes with Sasha Waltz

The German choreographer brings her visionary dance theater to the U.S.

Niannian Zhou, of Sasha Waltz & Guests, in Continu. Photo by Sebastian Bolesch, courtesy BAM.

Whether reinterpreting Wagner or exploring the forces of destruction, Berlin-based choreographer Sasha Waltz creates postmodern worlds onstage. She populates them with dancers whose ages, origins and training vary widely, but their common language is bold and expressive. Waltz enlists equally avant-garde collaborators in her dance-theater odysseys—more than 300 visual artists, filmmakers, composers and architects since founding Sasha Waltz & Guests in 1993. Her company makes an appearance at the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Next Wave Festival December 4–5, with Continu (2010), an evening-length work inspired by two of her museum installations: one raw, dynamic and musical, the other bright, cerebral and minimalist.

Tell me about the two works that make up Continu.

In 2009, I did the inauguration of the Neues Museum in Berlin, which houses an Egyptian collection. The building was terribly destroyed after the war, and they tried to rebuild it while still keeping the scars. It was a very moving and beautiful way to deal with architecture. I used the whole museum, and the public was freely moving through the space. Also in 2009, I did an opening for the National Museum of the XXI Century Arts in Rome, which was developed by Zaha Hadid. That had very contemporary, very organic forms, white and glass.

How did you translate these to the proscenium?

I abstracted them very much, because it’s not possible to rework architecture like that. The first part is very emotional, like an outcry of society. It talks a lot about collective. The second part, in contrast, is our mind observing. It is the deconstruction of the body and of certain theories of aesthetics. It’s very analytical.

You’ve always taken a collaborative approach to making work.

I find it very stimulating to confront my own vision with the vision of someone else, and to see how that creates something different.

Your company members are also your collaborators. What do you look for in a dancer?

I’m not hooked on a certain technical background. I am interested in people’s uniqueness. I really fall in love with the person, and through my work, try to understand who they are and bring out their essence. It’s a very deep connection because we go into a universe together that is more than myself and more than them. I’ve been collaborating with some of them for more than 20 years.

How do you work in the studio?

I separate the women and men and work very intensively. The Venus space is like a research into femininity, motherhood, deep energies of creative power. The warrior side is more the men’s work. We go into a process of improvisation for quite a long time, and bit by bit, a language gets created that is quite unique.

Where do you think dance theater is headed?

It’s very open and diverse. Collaboration with contemporary art is really developing, and museums are extremely interested in dance. It depends on the artist—there are so many languages within every person. n

Dance on Broadway
Michelle Dorrance. Photo by Jayme Thornton

What do Percy Jackson, Princess Diana and Tina Turner have in common? They're all characters on Broadway this season. Throw in Michelle Dorrance's choreographic debut, Henry VIII's six diva-licious wives and the 1990s angst of Alanis Morissette, and the 2019–20 season is shaping up to be an exciting mix of past-meets-pop-culture-present.

Here's a look at the musicals hitting Broadway in the coming months. We're biding our time until opening night!

Keep reading... Show less
UA Dance Ensemble members Candice Barth and Gregory Taylor in Jessica Lang's "Among the Stars." Photo by Ed Flores, courtesy University of Arizona

If you think becoming a trainee or apprentice is the only path to gaining experience in a dance company environment, think again.

The University of Arizona, located in the heart of Tucson, acclimates dancers to the pace and rigor of company life while offering all the academic opportunities of a globally-ranked university. If you're looking to get a head-start on your professional dance career—or to just have a college experience that balances company-level training and repertory with rigorous academics—the University of Arizona's undergraduate and graduate programs have myriad opportunites to offer:

Keep reading... Show less
Dancers Trending
Alice Sheppard/Kinetic Light in DESCENT, which our readers chose as last year's "Most Moving Performance." Photo by Jay Newman, courtesy Kinetic Light

Yes, we realize it's only August. But we can't help but to already be musing about all the incredible dance happenings of 2019.

We're getting ready for our annual Readers' Choice feature, and we want to hear from you about the shows you can't stop thinking about, the dance videos that blew your mind and the artists you discovered this year who everyone should know about.

Keep reading... Show less
Health & Body
Getty Images

Ah, stretching. It seems so simple, and is yet so complicated.

For example: You don't want to overstretch, but you're not going to see results if you don't stretch enough. You want to focus on areas where you're tight, but you also can't neglect other areas or else you'll be imbalanced. You were taught to hold static stretches growing up, but now everyone is telling you never to hold a stretch longer than a few seconds?

Considering how important stretching correctly is for dancers, it's easy to get confused or overwhelmed. So we came up with 10 common stretching scenarios, and gave you the expert low-down.

Keep reading... Show less


Get Dance Magazine in your inbox