28 – 30 December 2017 at L’Arsenic Lausanne, Switzerland
with Giacomo Calabrese, Simon Henein, Chantal Langlotz, Lukas Langlotz, Susanne Martin, Alexandra Mcdonald, and more
Photos: Giacoma Calabrese, Simon Henein
-15 – 21 October 2018 dancer training and performances for VARIA Festival Göteborg, Sweden
– 23 – 24 July 2018 Workshop Bad Performance For Shy Artists, transart institute, summer intensive Berlin
– 29 May – 6 June 2018 CI Workshop Watch Us Dance, Ukraine CI Festival, see website ci-ukraine.com/wpWatch Us Dance,
– 24 – 25 March Workshop Grundlagen somatische & künstlerische Forschung / Dokumentation, S. Martin & A. Keiz, somatische Akademie Berlin
-18/19 November 2017 Workshop and panel talk Body & Milieu Body IQ Festival, Somatische Akademie Berlin
Susi & Gabi’s Salon
Susanne Martin & Gabriele Reuter (Berlin) revive a European tradition that dates back to the 17th century; a salon is a gathering of people under the roof of an inspiring host (Susi & Gabi as Salonnières do their best to inspire!), held partly for amusement and partly to refine taste and increase the knowledge of the participants through conversation. In dialogue with invited guests and the audience, these evenings revolve around the phenomenon of Improvisation as performance, choreography and research.
first published in Mapping Dance Berlin 2018
Description of the setting and the idea of the format
The latest edition of Susi & Gabi’s Salon marks the beginning of the Tanzfabrik showcase series “Open Spaces” from November 1-6, 2017. Two of the performance groups invited to the showcase can already present their work here and put it up for discussion. The salon, as designed by Susanne Martin and Gabriele Reuter, is based on a long tradition and – in addition to its humorous and artistic dynamic and quality – is socio-politically, feministically and educationally motivated.
The format follows a clear and transparent process comprising ten stations:
1. Welcome; 2. Warm-Up; 3. Transition; 4. Performance; 5. Talk over drinks; 6. Body work of the day; 7. Performance; 8. Improvisation ‚positioning of my art‘; 9. 100 questions and 3 answers; 10. Audience award.
(How) does the format work? The evening starts at 6 pm and ends at 8 pm in an informal conversation. Among the approximately 50 guests, there are five without a dance background and just as many who rarely or never dance. (This information resulted from questions that the audience was initially asked to provide and to write down on distributed sheets of paper. The audience immediately began a lively conversation and also asked each other questions, among other things about their individual backgrounds.)
Welcome: Directly at the entrance we soon see from the stage, costumes, lighting and music that we are in a salon: the warm light, the waltz music, the sequin jackets and the pleated skirts of the two salonnières as well as their distinctive pearl necklaces create an atmosphere in which the group will partake for the next two hours. By contrast, the bare feet of the hostesses contrast with the historicizing salon attributes and clearly distinguish our situation as being embedded in contemporary art and society. In the welcoming part, the language question is quickly clarified: the language of the evening will be English, due to the international guests that are present. Guests will be informed of the evening’s progress (a flipchart with the schedule will be visible throughout the evening) and given a task: to record questions during the evening that may arise from the presented verbal or choreographic content (between a clear distinction is made between “real” and “rhetorical” questions). These questions will be collected in Phase 9 of the evening, but only a few will actually be answered. Afterwards Reuter and Martin select a representative from the audience, who at the end of the evening may present the Audience Award (two lemons) for two particularly successful “aspects” of the evening.
Warm-Up: Reuter and Martin increasingly integrate language into their warm-up, which initially begins as a purely physical contact duo, until they each present a striking anecdote from their studies: Reuter recalls a lesson from her lecturer, who had explained the significance of the audience for the essence and effect of art: “The artwork becomes animated because you look at it.” Martin talks about the notion of the “aspect” in Wittgenstein: An “aspect” always occurs when there is a change in thinking or in perception – an “aha moment”. In this phase of the salon evening, therefore, a kin-aesthetic-intellectual warm-up occurs, which both conveys information and invites active thinking and participation.
Resonance: The following stations are dedicated to theworking methods of the two invited artist groups: MartinSonderkamp/Darko Dragičević and Shannon Cooney with her team. From this phase of the evening I would like to mention the idea of the “responses”: After both groups showed each other an excerpt from their current productions, Reuter and Martin spontaneously stepped onto the stage and performed a “resonance”, which they attribute to their subjective memory as a moment from the presented material. In so doing, they present what they have personally perceived and experienced for all of us, what they remember and what they can do with their bodies. The theoretical concepts introduced at the beginning of the co-creative power of the art-recipients as well as the aesthetic experience of an aspect can be practically experienced here. On the other hand, both artists’ groups present their works in a way that actively involves the audience directly: Martin Sonderkamp asks half of the audience to leave the studio for a while, so that he can provide the other half information about the production. In this way, he wants to discover how being informed can augment or affect the visual experience. After the performance, both audiences can exchange their own visual experiences with a glass of sparkling wine and pretzel sticks. A lively “working break” is the result. Shannon Cooney, on the other hand, asks all interested parties to take the stage and initiates a five-minute somatic session in which we practice three-dimensional vision with our eyes closed. This sensitization not only has a pleasant, personal effect, but also prepares you physically and atmospherically for the subsequent part of the performance.
Positioning: The subsequent eighth session of the evening invites all participating artists to reflect on themselves and their art through the terms “improvisation”, “material”, “movement”, “dance”, “choreography”, “vision”, “relation”, etc. The terms are written on cardboard boxes and quickly invite all to partake in a group improvisation, in which different meanings and definitions arise through different arrangements – and are dissolved again.
Is the format transferable? The person in the seat next to me says goodbye at the end of the salon with the words “Now everything’s even more complicated for me than before! But it was exciting!”. In this sense, I can fully recommend the format for other productions, especially as a prelude to smaller festivals.
Maren Witte, Dr. Phil, is professor for theatre theories, dance and movement research at Hochschule für Künste im Sozialen, Ottersberg, Germany.
– 27 June 2018 Performing Ambiguity a danced lecture, Chichester University, UK
-5 May 2018 Improvising Age(ing): a danced lecture, Kiev, Ukraine
-7 April 2018 Learning. Teaching. Dancing. An interactive danced lecture, Tanzfabrik Berlin
– 14 – 16 February 2018 Die Vieldeutigkeit von Alter(n) performen: a danced lecture
6. Werkstattgespräch des interdisziplinären Arbeitskreises Ambivalenz: Altern und biographische ÜbergängeGoethe Universität Frankfurt am Main
22 June 2017, group improvisation performance of the teachers at Bucharest Contact Improvisation Festival, with Steven Batts, Inna Falkova, Elisa Ghion, Sergey Golovnya, Susanne Martin, Virginia Negru, Adrian Russi, Alexandra Soshnikova, venue: CNDB (Centrul Național al Dansului Bucuresti)
Workshops and Training Sessions:
Generally speaking, I teach what I embody as dancer and performer. I teach what I know most about, what I learned and still passionately study. So I design my dance teaching around one of the following 3 focal points
– contact Improvisation,
– improvisation and composition for performance (group-duet-solo),
– improvisation-based workout
now that I finished my PhD I will finally make time to develop a series of thematic seminars that combine practical and theoretical inputs and explorations with the participants.
– artistic research;
– improvisation as exploration, as performance, as research;
– showing process on stage;
– dance and narration;
– relating to audiences;
– subjectivity: made of transitions and (un)coordinated changes
– undoing age appropriateness;
– improvising age(ing);
– performing age(ing);
I keep developing the hybrid format of lecture performance.
I’m staging, dancing and discussing aspects, entrances and excerpts of my dissertation Dancing Age(ing).
– For past lecture performances go to „Research“ in the menu.
– Understanding Dance for Beginners and Intermediates is a series of 7 minutes mini-lectures I perform during my monthly mixed performance night 7 Minutes of Fame (curated together with Marlène Colle).
Coaching / Supervising:
I started to support individuals and groups in developing their respective artistic/research practices. I’m supporting processes of performance making, I’m sharing inputs, tools and strategies from dance, theatre, and from my personal experience with collaborative artistic/research practice.
A recomposing of the opening scene of my solo The Fountain of Age (2014)
-14 October 2016, Body IQ Festival, Somatische Akademie, Berlin
-15 October 2016, Tatwerk Berlin
Photos W. Gillingham Sutton
A Solo / Dance / Piece / Lecture / Performance
Premiere: 18 June 2015, Ravensfield Theatre MIddlesex University London
Duration: 40 min
Supported by: Middlesex University London, Tanzfabrik Berlin
The Fountain of Age tells an ambiguous and ironic tale of age(ing). Through a collage of scenes in which dance, text, costume, mask work, and music interrelate, the piece aims to counteract any simple ascertainment of youth and age.
Ambiguity is emphasised in this performance to see what can be learned when we complicate and question our ideas, expectations, and judgements around age(ing). What happens if we linger in the multitude of sensual, imaginative details of bodily doing, experiencing and showing, and in the multiple possible meanings of age(ing)? How can dance introduce less stereotypical and more complex perceptions of age(ing) and moving through time?
This solo performance constitutes one of two artistic outcomes I present as part of my PhD dissertation Dancing Age(ing) at the School of Media and Performing Arts.
Photos Lars Åsling, Graphic Sophie Jahnke
The Shadow and The Fountain of Youth – Two Dances on Staying Alive
As a new step in their long-term collaboration Bronja Novak Lindblad (Göteborg) & Susanne Martin (Berlin) have created each a solo on the same subject: the facts of getting older and sustaining in the world of dance. ”The Shadow” by Novak and ”The Fountain of Youth” by Martin are two creative and quirky responses to the exciting challenge of moving forward in time.
Premiere: 19 April 2013, Atalante, Gothenburg, www.atalante.org
Additional performances: Dance and Theatre Festival Gothenburg, Sweden, 2014. Venue: 3e våningen
Sound: Anna Gustavsson
Light: Thomas Dotzler
Production: Big Wind/ Sofia Åhrman, www.bigwind.se
Supported by: Swedish Arts Council, City of Gothenburg, Tanzfabrik Berlin
The Fountain of Youth
Photos Lars Åsling
A solo/ dance/ piece/ lecture/ performance by Susanne Martin
Duration: 45 min
Additional performances: Grove Theatre, Middlesex University London, November 2014
The Fountain of Youth
Is a dance on forever-youngness and on being old enough to tell the story differently
The Fountain of Youth
Is an untrustworthy lecture on trusting an ever-changing body
The Fountain of Youth
Is also a core part of my doctoral research in dance, dedicated to exploring and questioning dominant views on ageing dancing bodies through my own improvisation-based dance practice and performance making
Photos Viktor Rahmqvist
An improvisational performance project by
Katarina Eriksson (San Francisco)
Susanne Martin (Berlin)
Bronja Novak Lindblad (Gothenburg)
Coaching: Andrew Morrish
Production: Big Wind
Supported by: the city of Gothenburg and Statens Kulturråd
The studio version:
Sept. 2008, Konstepidemin Gothenburg
The stage version:
Premiered 23.5.2009, Atalante, Gothenburg
Performance time: 75 min
Light: Victor Wendin
Touring: Stockholm, Malmö, Berlin
The site specific version:
June 2012 in Gothenburg
At the intersection of folkdance culture and contemporary improvisation culture this international trio indulges in made up and experienced cultural roots, traditions they never had and dances they never learned.
Connecting home is: the practice of improvisation and contact improvisation.
The shared questions are: how much improvisation can a thematically set piece take without bursting? And how much individuality can an improvised trio take without falling apart?
Dressed in Bavarian Dirndl’s, armed with irony, supported by newest improvisation technologies the three dancers dig into our projections and clichés of country living and the traditional. They are odd and familiar in their pride of and will for a self-made nature idyll and in their passionate attempt to include every soul in the room into the warmth of their temporary village.
“Hoppalappa is a performance you want to experience rather than observe“
“Hoppalappa, an hour long display of exhilaration, strings of associations, of well trained collaboration and of joyful courage towards the unknown. The safety net is called humour.“
“It was a joy to look into the minds of these crazy performers and to be embraced by their warm madness when it’s so damn cold outside.”
Premiere: 2005 at Atalante Gothenburg, Sweden
Supported by: Statenskulturråd, Göteborgstads Kultur, Folkuniversitetet
Performances: Gothenburg, Stockholm, Malmö, and in many many other Swedish cities, Berlin, Potsdam, Brunswick (USA), Chisinau (Moldova).
To make a special evening an unforgettable one, Mesdames Martin and Novak, friends of all available luxuries, will indulge in: make up and freshly coloured hair, expensive clothes with the best possible looking dekolleté, wine at the perfect temperature and favourite songs that are far from Top Ten. In any case: to dance good means to look good. They “are” and in this they are generous and limitless communicative, using their mottoes: “everyday is a première” and “where does vanity end and art begin?”
DE: Frau Martin und Frau Novak präsentieren und genießen allen Luxus, der ihnen zur Verfügung steht: Make up und frisch gefärbte Haare, teure Kleider mit vorteilhaftem Décolleté, gut gekühlter Sekt und chartsunverdächtige Lieblingslieder. Außerdem bedeutet gut tanzen auch gut aussehen. Die Damen „sind“, und darin sind sie großzügig und mitteilungsfreudig. Ihr Motto: „Everyday is a première“ und „Where does vanity end and art begin“