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Metaphysiques: the 'Every Body' festival at Sophiensæle

The “body-positive dance festival” gathers six artists spanning performance art and contemporary dance to explore corporeal (un)realities

Gérald Kurdian by Gwendal Le Flem

May 16, 2017 – French pop singer Gérald Kurdian is using his body to talk about the body – and not your garden variety homo sapiens, but rather a revolutionary non-binary cyborg from the future. As part of the Every Body festival, Kurdian will perform “Hot Bodies (Stand Up)”, a semi-autobiographical piece combining sampler, vocoder, a women's choir and projected imagery. It's a blend of choreography, observational humor and documentary, and he tells SIEGESSÄULE it touches on “how sexual minorities can inform musical practices” as well as “fetishes – how queer bodies invent new ways of practicing sexuality.” Preparation includes a day-long queer theory workshop with the choir members.

Those are quite progressive ideas, but lesbihonest, the body producing them appears to be white, male and conventionally able. Probably even cis! Yawn. But don't get the wrong idea about Every Body: “One of the festival's main concerns is showing a greater diversity of bodies onstage,” curator Anna Mülter tells us. A trailblazer within the male-dominated German theater scene and artistic director of Tanztage, she says, “Especially within contemporary dance, there is still a very limited body ideal, even if contemporary dance should actually be open to different kinds of bodies. We are also dealing with society as a whole, because the bodies we see onstage or in the media influences our ideas of normality.”

Indeed, whether in content or form (or both), these four pieces indeed help achieve this goal. “Ravemachine” by Doris Uhlich manipulates the sounds of a choreographed electric wheelchair to create a barrage of techno beats, while “Bondage Duell” features ballerina and shibari enthusiast Dasniya Sommer engaging in power play with her comparatively small counterpart Silke Schönfleisch. And following her appearance at the Utopian Realities festival in January, Brooklynite Jen Rosenblit is back in Berlin with “Swivel Spot”, together with Geo Wyatt. Originally commissioned by The Kitchen where it premiered in March, their piece finds inspiration in existential pivot points, mental wastelands and plastic wrap. Fresh!

Joey Hansom

Every Body
May 18-21


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