Sasha Waltz

ARTISTIC DIRECTOR OF THE STAATSBALLETT BERLIN

Sasha Waltz is a choreographer, dancer and director. After her first studies at the School of New Dance Development in Amsterdam, she joined the postmodern oriented New York City dance scene that worked in close exchange with the other arts. In 1986 and 1987 she danced in the New York based companies of Pooh Kaye, Yoshiko Chumo & School of Hard Knocks and Lisa Kraus & Dancers. Driven by the spirit of that scene, she developed the improvisational format Dialoge in the early 1990s in Berlin. She chose the young German capital as the center of her activities where she practiced new choreographic approaches in self-developed infrastructures. Together with Jochen Sandig she founded the dance company Sasha Waltz & Guests in 1993 and in 1996 the Sophiensaele as a venue for dance and more, nowadays a center of the independent dance and theatre scene not only in Germany. From 2000 until 2005 she was one of the directors of the Schaubühne at Lehniner Platz. During this first decade in Berlin, she created internationally renown and influencial dance pieces such as the trilogies Travelogue and Körper as well as the immersive dance installation insideout.

In the following years she applied the language and strategies of contemporary dance to vitalize and explore historical and new operas and ballets. With Dido & Aeneas (2005), Medea (2007) and Matsukaze (2011) she realized three pieces about women and at the same time established the genre of the choreographic opera. In 2007 she directed Roméo et Juliette, interpreting the dramatic symphony of Hector Berlioz, for the Opéra National de Paris. From this followed Sacre in 2013 set to the music of Igor Strawinsky commissioned by the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, and in 2014 Tannhäuser at the Staatsoper Unter den Linden conducted by Daniel Barenboim.

Simultaneously Sasha Waltz has been pursuing the sharing and teaching of dance knowledge and promoting dance as a medium of social and sociopolitical communication. As part of this endeavor, she founded the Berlin based Kindertanzcompany (Children's Dance Company) in 2007 and, following an invitation from the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, developed a choreography with over 100 pupils to dance Schtschedrin's Carmen-Suite. In 2016 she founded the event format ZUHÖREN with which she opened a »third space« for art and politics. She expanded the Dialoge-concept to incorporate danced responses to architecture wherein the audience is invited to act as an equal part of the choreographic happening. Examples of this are Dialoge 09 performed in the still vacant interior of the Neues Museum in Berlin after the renovation by David Chipperfield (2009) and the choreographic installation Figure humaine for the inauguration of the Hamburg Elbphilharmonie (2017).

In her present choreographic work, Waltz is focusing on the intensification of collaborative processes, such as the synchronic development of choreography and music. In collaboration with Soundwalk Collective and the costume designer Iris van Herpen (among others), she created the choreography Kreatur (2017) followed by Exodos (August 2018), both premiered at Radialsystem V in Berlin. In 2019 she choreographed her latest work rauschen for the Volksbühne Berlin. In parallel with the artistic direction of her dance company for which she creates pieces on a regular basis, Sasha Waltz will take over the direction of the Staatsballett Berlin in 2019 together with co-director Johannes Öhman.

For her special services Sasha Waltz was granted the German Federal Cross of Merit. Since 2013 she is a member of the Academy of Arts Berlin.