The Berlin Wall fell the night of November 9th, 1989. The very same night the Iron Curtain had fallen that separated not only the GDR from the FRG, but also huge parts of the whole world during the Cold War. On the 20th anniversary of this historic date many events and exhibitions will celebrate the culture of remembrance of unified Germany: documentaries show caravans of “Trabis” in this famous November night, photo books introduce civil rights activists, feuilletons argue on the so called “Unrechtstaat”.
Today´s generation of twenty-year-olds has not taken part in the events and does naturally not remember what happened. At the same time, due to commemoration this generation is faced with a period of history which is unknown, but has left marks in contemporary life. So it is even more important to ask questions about what has happened that night. How did parents and grandparents experience life in divided Germany? Do “Ossis” and “Wessis” still exist? Are opinions and requests of the peaceful revolution still relevant or are they rather suitable as objects in museums or subjects of debates on the mental state of western and eastern citizens? Is the GDR of any importance at all?
The project Dancing to connect is the attempt to examine these issues with artistic means. Dancing to Connect is a project joined by the Heinrich-Boell-Foundation Brandenburg, FIPP e.V. and the New York Battery Dance Company. Through one week of intensive workshops, one hundred students from different schools in Berlin and Brandenburg work collectively under the careful guidance of the teaching artists towards the creation of their own choreography considering the Fall of the Wall. The 14-20 year old students were not even born in 1989, they know the GDR only from stories. Students from schools in Beelitz, Wilhelmshorst and the Bildungseinrichtung Buckow work together with peers from Berlin-Wedding and Berlin-Weißensee. Young people from urban and rural areas as well as from east and west come together in order to dance and they dance in order to connect.
The Battery Dance Company was founded by its Artistic Director Jonathan Hollander in 1976. Battery's choreographies include elements of music, dance, performing and visual arts. Based in Lower Manhattan, Battery Dance Company has produced and performed nearly 100 original dance works all over the world in collaboration with a diverse array of composers, designers, and dancers. Dancing to Connect took place for the first time in 2006 in the cities of Berlin, Breisach, Frankfurt, Freiburg and Stuttgart. In 2009 the initiative returns to Germany, where the „Fall of the Wall“ is going to be performed in Berlin/Brandenburg among other planned projects in the lands of Sachsen and Nordrhein-Westfalen. While devising their choreography, the students will not only gain creativity and self-esteem, but also take position on current German issues. German high school students will also improve their English fluency during the workshops, as, beside the universal languages of dance and music, English is the lingua franca. Final performances of “The Fall of the Wall” have taken place in the cities of Potsdam and Berlin in October 2009.
We are most happy to cooperate with the Battery Dance Company and are able to accompany Dancing to Connect 2009 in Brandenburg, that hopefully will contribute to the improvement of tolerance and intercultural understanding.