Along with Montpellier Danse (France) and ImPulsTanz (Austria), Berlin’s Tanz im August international dance festival is one of Europe’s leading avant-garde festivals, presenting many German debuts of work by top class choreographers. The main venues are three theaters of the festival’s co-organizer, HAU (Hebbel am Ufer)
, the Berlin Arts Academy, the Volksbuehne theater, the Sophiensaele theater, etc., and workshops, concerts, symposiums and the like are held concurrently at other venues around Berlin. The artistic director until 2017 is the Finnish dance curator Virve Sutinen.
Since Sutinen took the post of artistic director, the programs have featured many works that combine dance and visual art. The opening program for this year’s festival featured a remake of the piece Available Lights
choreographed by Lucinda Childs that premiered in 1983 as the maiden performance for the new space at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. This is a legendary piece created in a collaboration between Childs, the architect Frank Gehry and the composer John Adams. Also, in the main venue, HAU 1, one of German’s biggest contemporary art collectors, the Sammlung Haubrok Foundation, organized an exhibition with works by artists such as Andreas Slominski and Olafur Eliasson.
The program also included a feature of the works of Rosemary Butcher. Butcher, who was influenced by the Judson Group that Childs was a member of, has now been active as a choreographer and visual artist in the UK for more than 40 years, and for the festival this time four works were chosen from her archive project “Memory in the Present Tense.” Other participating artists included France’s Marie Chouinard, Argentina’s Constanza Macras, China’s TAO Dance Theater, the Philippines’ Eisa Jocson, South Korea’s Jeong Guemhyung, and others.
Tanz im August is Germany’s largest contemporary dance festival and is held every year in August. The festival was launched in 1988 by the initial artistic director, Nele Hertling, after which it came to be jointly planned and run by Hebbel am Ufer (HAU) and TanzWerkstatt Berlin, and organization founded in 1988 with the aim of providing a new international approach to support of contemporary dance. Since 2013, the festival has adopted a new system by which a single festival director curates the program for that year’s festival.