Dancing to Connect Virtually – Germany
In response to the pandemic, Battery Dance transitioned its Dancing to Connect projects online — providing youth across Germany the opportunity to stay connected with one another, explore their creativity, and share their stories through dance.
As the pandemic situation changed throughout the year, the methodology for how these dance works were created and filmed changed as well. As a result, each project below had a different process. Some involved groups in schools, while others came about via an open call for participants that brought together individuals from across the country. Some allowed for youth to gather together in a group and touch, some did not allow touching, and some did not allow youth to gather at all.
Therefore, the dance films below not only showcase stories of the youth and their changing experiences during the pandemic, but also, taken together, illustrate the changing environment in Germany as the pandemic raged and waned. Above all else, the films exemplify the resilience of youth, their drive to connect and explore, and the unique ability of dance, even virtually across borders, to bring people together.
Location: Kassel, Hesse
“Lacking” takes inspiration from the youthful participants’ feelings and raw experiences as they reflected on months of quarantine. In the workshop sessions, they explored the sensation of loss, of not feeling complete. Their journey from isolation to connectedness was accomplished through the process of collaborating with others. In that sense, “Lacking” illustrates the finding of peace within the storm, regaining strength and completeness through the building of community and sharing.
Location: Weinheim, Baden-Württemberg
“KALEIDOSKOP/KOLLIDIEREN” is a collaborative dance film that explores our forced social shift to the online sphere. Flipping, mirroring, and repeating color, shape, and shadow create a kaleidoscope of fractal patterns to frame the dancers. By connecting colors, natural elements, geometric shapes, and emotions, the dancers demonstrate how we are all painted by the same palette, bound by our shared experience of humanity. How can changing our perspective actually change our understanding? When we remove our masks, what will we have learned?
Location: Halle (Saale), Sachsen-Anhalt
“Constricted” takes inspiration from working within a confined space. The dancers created all the material from the safety of their own homes exploring unconventional spaces and restricting different parts of their body. The dancers only worked together on the day of the filming, and found a way to connect within the constricting rules of the pandemic.
Location: Halle (Saale), Sachsen-Anhalt
Locations: Schwerin, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern; Frankfurt & Kassel, Hesse; Karlsruhe, Baden-Württemberg
Everyone is working remotely from their homes during quarantine time. In this process, we captured fragments of everyone’s very much changed lives across different parts of Germany. The students didn’t know each other beforehand and represented different interests such as music, gymnastics and even contemporary dance training. However, a bond developed quickly and allowed for the creation of the full puzzle picture made up of the different pieces.
Locations: Bickenbach, Darmstadt, Frankfurt, and Kassel, Hesse; München, Bavaria; Reutlingen, Baden-
“Phases” takes inspiration from the different moon cycles. The moon experiences these phases when sunlight is present to reveal more of the moon’s face. In contrast, the moon has periods of darkness where shadows cover portions of the moon to hide itself. Much like the participants personal journey in creating the work. The virtual workshop allowed them to fully shine a light on themselves and expose their individuality and creativity. Through community and creation the participants found full freedom in this new phase.
Locations: Darmstadt, Frankfurt, Fulda Eppertshausen, and Wiesbaden, Hesse
“perspective” is a visual collaboration between artists from different cities in Germany created from their respective homes. Through an open dialogue, the participants discussed what they experienced during this year of pandemic and turned it into movement. The themes of isolation, connection, and hope were some of the unifying elements that were implemented in the short film. Each person was able to express themselves via movement, location scouting and how they filmed their dance. We are able to appreciate the individual perspectives of each artist while composing one that connects the collective.
“Translation” is a collaborative effort between the teaching artist in NYC, students, teachers in Germany and our videographer/editor. In addition to translating from English to German, each artist took an idea and translated it into a larger exploration of its meaning. The work itself is a dance, exploring various themes discussed by the students. These themes were translated into poses, formations, interactions and movement created by the students themselves. The underlying theme is the translation between individual and group, how do we communicate with one another through movement. The film was given another layer of translation with the interpretation by our videographer and editor who took our movement and captured its essence from a new perspective. We leave the audience with the final task to translate what this work means to you. How do you resonate with what we have created. What does it mean to you?
What Time Is It Now?
During the pandemic, the sense of time is lost. The participants felt that they are drifting from day to day, moment to moment, without the structure of time. As a result, we decided to base the piece on the movements of the clock and the music track that was chosen is called “Clockwork”. The formation of the dancers in space was reinforced by the image of the clock. Our multicultural cast was strongly supported by the local teachers who worked with me (Sean Scantlebury) to help the students stay focused and integrated into the creative process.
Location: Bremerhaven, Bremen
“Structure” takes inspiration from the participants new guidelines they discover while attending school in a pandemic. It illustrates their journey to find their movement and voice within this functional order on campus grounds. Despite having a militant and robotic undertone, it shows the collapsing and breaking down of order and function. Throughout the virtual workshop, the participants were also able to establish a new bond and structure of friendship and unity with one another, all the while observing physical distancing.
Students used dance to bring life back to the hallways, locker-room, recess yard and even classrooms of their school building through their adventurous choreography. Group sequences, duets and solos traced episodes of the pandemic that has disrupted their social and education lives. They animated their school while reclaiming life itself through the creative experience of Dancing to Connect.
Stamm Der Pink
Location: Guben, Brandenburg
“Stamm der Pink” takes inspiration from the strength of the female spirit. The dancers worked together in groups, duets, and trios to create intricate movement and partnering highlighting their creativity and ability to work collaboratively. They are one being, moving and breathing together.
“Curious Voyage” explores the impact on individuals as they come out of isolation and into the world once more . What does it mean to be true to ourselves and equally true to our peers? Razvan and Sara witnessed the students’ growth and willingness to explore. We hope they continue the journey with new confidence and sense of each other.
“Team” is a look inside the research of what it means to work together, listen and learn from one another, ultimately collaborating and creating as a unit. The students investigated through various activities individually, in pairs, groups, and collectively to construct movement based on abstract ideas. What does it meant to conceive one’s own perception of a concept and merge it with someone who sees it in different ways. “Team” is an idealistic window into what society could be when we are open to allowing new, different and sometimes contrasting viewpoints, and efficiently constructing a landscape that serves all.
Location: Offenbach, Hesse
In “Home”, participants took inspiration from an art installation by Mia Eve Rollow and Caleb Duarte called ‘The Embassy of the Refugee.’ Throughout the week, the dancers explored the differences in space, from being tightly confined in a small home to the vastness of an open field. They explored how space informed and affected their movement and emotions. The dancers investigated personally what the true meaning of home meant to them. They all shared a common thread and came to a common ground. It is a safe space where they felt peace, love, family and support. The creation of “HOME” rides the journey of their ideas.
This program is supported by the Transatlantic Program of the Federal Republic of Germany with funds from the European Recovery Program (ERP) of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi)