Joy of Life – that’s the name of the dance work that is reopening Hebbel am Ufer’s main stage this week, and it’s the perfect message to celebrate the relaunch of Berlin’s performing arts scene. As you approach the doors of HAU 1 on the banks of the Landwehrkanal you can already hear lively music coming from the stage. On show is a dance work from director Ersan Mondtag, who is known for his experimental and interdisciplinary works and has gathered professional dancers, actors and young talents from Berlin’s Kinder Ballett Kompanie for their first choreographic piece together. It is a committed performance which touches on topics such as migration, climate change and how new generations are fighting for their future. The narrative draws on testimonies of Fridays for Future supporters and the tales of young people who have made torturous journeys from Africa to Europe across the Mediterranean.
The dance is in constant evolution with the narrative arc, going from simple, exercise-like, movements to harmonious choreography. The fascinating scenery with a turning stage, video projections, floating background and colorful props transport you to the same limbo as felt by the dancers, leaving you thinking and reflecting on your own beliefs. You don’t have to be a dance lover to feel the emotions conveyed in the performance; it encourages you to ask yourself what brings you joy – and one of the first answers must surely be the theater.
Text: Harmony Leveque / Photos: Armin Smailovic
Harmony Leveque works as a project and production manager in the field of contemporary dance in Berlin, Bielefeld and her home country of France.