“Unheard Of” is online!

Unheard Of premiered June 9th-12th 2016 in Studio 14, Uferstudios Berlin. I am really proud of the cast and crew, and very thankful to Peter Erdmann for taking some great photos of the show: have a look!

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Trailer can be viewed at http://www.tanzforumberlin.de/trailer923.php, full video is available on request.

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Falsnaes&Schaffer PRESENT: “Ride the Wave”!

I wrote a song with Christian Falsnaes for his performance called “Opening (Kareth Schaffer)”

The song is called “Ride the Wave”. Listen to it, share it, heart it, and of course: DANCE to it!

Ride the Wave
written and produced by Christian Falsnaes & Kareth Schaffer
lead guitar by Mathias Hauser (SHRIDUNA)

The music video for “Ride the Wave” is an excerpt from the video “Opening (Kareth Schaffer)” by Christian Falsnaes (2015)

Produced with support from:

Musée départemental d’art contemporain de Rochechouart
PSM, Berlin

Christian Falsnaes: http://falsnaes.com

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Final Presentation Tanzrecherche #15

Boglarka Börcsök and I will present our findings from our 8 week residency here at the Hans-Peter-Zimmer Stiftung in Düsseldorf. Hope to see you there on the 20th of November at 18:00!


Our presentation will examine the translation of foley artistry (the cinematic post-production technique of synchronizing sound to movement) into a staged situation. We ask how choreography becomes a tool for navigating a performance in which time is
constrained by the imperative of filmed material and space is delineated in a trajectory of everyday objects. We hope to enter into a dialogue with audience members about what we’ve learned during our time here and its potential for development.

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There’s a cloud at the top of the mountain and other notes on the contemporary

Note: This is a blog post I originally wrote as a way of sorting through the thoughts that arose during my participation in the Research Academy for Dance and Choreography 2014, a 10-day intensive programme hosted by the Zürcher Hochschule der Künste. I like it, so I’m posting it here too.


The researchers line up according to the question ‘How contemporary are you?’.

I remember reading a story by Doris Lessing where she describes an alien race that can travel through time as human beings can travel through space: backwards, forwards, and sideways. Within the clearly demarcated boundaries of their lives (they, too, are born and then die), the aliens may decide when it is they spend their lives. Of course, this alien civilization experiences the same terrors as ours does: sometimes they get sick, sometimes they kill each other, sometimes they experience grief, pain, chaos, uncertainty. The aliens are aware of these times and situations but they choose not to dwell in them, they fast-forward into peace or they retreat towards their childhoods.

It is a paradox condition of our present–contemporary–era that time itself has lost its forward-moving linearity: look at the dance stages of the now and we find a multiplicity of pasts, a variety of presents, and more than a few glimpses of the future. Timeless-ness (not an aesthetic quality but a lack of being bound in time) is symptomatic of the contemporary. Imagine it as a cloud at the top of the mountain:  modernity rewrote human history as relentless upward progress, but all the while it was driving its monsters before it up the slope. And now we, too, have arrived in a mysterious landscape, the summit is obscured by a fog, and we move through and with rifts and valleys of traditions, beings from other worlds, we dance with ancestors and time-travellers. We are in a a state of constant re-appropriation, the emergent value of which we are too small to recognize. Many are  the fata morgana, swirling in the cloud.

Like the alien race, we now choose when and where to live. In examining the times and spaces available to me, I make contemporary performance. ‘Contemporary performance’ is a term I choose to inhabit, and in drawing the borders of a definition (although this is a cloud–I can see what is next to me but not far beyond that, and though I stake my claim the edges will always be contested, blurry) I recognize that there is indeed an agglomeration of questions, aesthetic practices, and economic principles that connects me more closely to some artists than to others.

Where are these borders? I choose to make a list, that anachronistic tool (too linear, too meticulous!), to sketch a topography:

1) In contemporary performance, reflexive and contextual practices make up a substantial part of the process and the performance.

2) Contemporary performance most often originates in conditions of precarity because  the market demands a speed of production that makes the creation process formulaic; if a process is formulaic, it is not inventing situation-specific techniques and means. If it is not questioning its own techniques and means, then reflexive and contextual practices are not a substantial part of the creation process and performance (see 1).

3) In contemporary performance, technique is a means of putting a body into a staged situation and not the end goal of a performance itself. Technical demonstration inhabits a realm of spectacle and virtuosity that certainly exists and sometimes calls itself contemporary. However, most traditional dance technique requires a completely different relation to time than contemporary performance-making: it is accumulated through repetition, it is embodied labour. It is a miraculous thing. It is not what I do: my technique is navigation, on any given day I might do yoga, sing, take a ballet class, write, discuss, improvise, make sounds with random objects, edit a video. A contemporary performer’s greatest skill is often her ability to surf the cloud, to acquire and shed techniques as necessary. Versatile performativities, hybrid bodies.

4) In contemporary performance,  presence is expanding and fading, making way for bodies remarkable for their hyper-referentiality: to pop culture, to other dance techniques and times, to gender norms, to other art disciplines, to the experience of the audience. It is a time of Wikipedia, we always refer to everything else! In this hyper-referentiality (forget Merce! The body was never just a body), contemporary performance embodies more than ever that incredibly ancient notion that the theater is a reflection of the world, that everything one can find in the microcosmos is pointing towards the macrocosmos in a way that shifts our perception, makes us see things differently. Contemporary performance reflects a society where flexibility is obligatory, where precarity is a given, where absolute truths are regarded with mistrust and where the outcome is uncertain.

I should write a conclusion–

but in contemporary performance, the endings are always temporary. They may not even be real.

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Atelier Photos

Jana Mila Lippitz from PACT Zollverein in Essen took some really great photographs of the dress rehearsal of Closer to Us Than We Are to Ourselves. 

More information on the quartet can be found here.


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‘Closer to Us…’ at PACT Zollverein Essen this Friday, 14th of March!


We will perform a brand-new (shorter and sleeker) version of ‘Closer to Us Than We Are to Ourselves‘ at PACT Zollverein Essen this Friday, March 13th. Anyone in the neighborhood is welcome to come by! The quartet is being danced by some new faces (Diethild Meier and Julia Rodriguez) who are joining old hands Verena Sepp and Julek Kreutzer. We are busy with rehearsals and fairly vibrating with excitement!

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As Easy As 1, 2, 3 now online and on the site

As Easy as 1, 2, 3 explores the bare minimum needed to tell a story on the stage—a minimum amount of light, words, images, movement, and time. Try not to blink, you might miss us: the afterglow should tell you if we are more than a flash in the pan. As Easy As 1, 2, 3 opened the 23rd edition of the Berlin Tanztage to critical acclaim and confusion:

“Langeweile konnte zumindest bei Kareth Schaffer gar nicht erst aufkommen. Ihr Stück „As Easy as 1, 2, 3“ hat gute Chancen auf den Titel „Kürzeste Choreografie 2014“…..Von ihr möchte man jedenfalls mehr sehen….” (Sandra Luzina, Tagesspiel 06.01.2013)
“Kareth Schaffer zeigt also Blitzlichter einer Geschichte, einem Daumenkino nicht unähnlich, durchaus witzig und charmant und mit 3 Minuten Länge perfekt…” (Frank Schmid, kulturradio, 06.01.2013)
“Und Kareth Schaffer? Sie stand in ihrem dreiminütigen, vorwiegend im Dunklen spielenden Duett „As easy as 1,2,3“ viel zu kurz auf der Bühne….” (Michaela Schlagenwerth, Berliner Zeitung, 05.01.2013)

Concept, Choreography: Kareth Schaffer
Performance: Anna Lena Lehr, Kareth Schaffer
Costume: Stine Frandsen
Light Design: Max Stelzl
Thanks to: HZT Berlin, Ana Laura Lozza

Filmed on 04.01.2013 by Walter Bickmann of Tanzforum Berlin
First presented in Frascati Amsterdam as a part of Précis, 13 mini-choreographies from HZT Berlin

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