Parades and Changes by Anna Halprin at BAM

My personal research around community-forming practices and its relation to representation - in dance history has began by witnessing and documenting the last couple of days of the working process towards the new version of Parades and Changes by Anna Halprin performed at the Berkeley Art Museum 15.-17.2.2013.

The scoring method created by Anna and Lawrence Halprin was an effort to bridge the divergent creative languages of the poets, environmental designers, psychologists, visual artists, dancers and others who gathered on her Mt. Tam dance deck in the late 50s/early 60s. Inspired by the non-traditional scores of composers at the San Francisco Tape Music Center, they set about making visible process-oriented, rather than product-oriented, methodologies.
Scores describe the process leading up to the final thing itself; they don’t necessarily correlate to the final action itself. They can be applied to many different disciplines and should extend and morph over time. The scoring method involves: 1) identifying and collecting resources (human, material, and environmental). 2) evaluating and analyzing resources to select possible actions. 3) Creating a graphic representation of the process that documents its parameters, instructions, and decisions. These can be open (variable) or closed (fixed). 4) performing/executing the action. This cycle operates in any direction and can start over at any point and move in different directions. It constitutes a way of dealing with ideas, theory, and concepts in an active environment.



For the Halprins, scores are not goal-oriented; they are meant to improve results by breaking down unoriginal habits and hierarchies, spreading around the creative decision-making power. The graphic representation of a score hopefully makes visible elements and deciding factors in a creative process, preventing hidden agendas and providing the tools for future revision. It is composed of a system of symbols that guide interactions between its constituent elements. Of course, architectural building plans, concrete poems, mathematical algorithms, football plays, choreographic labanotation, and urban street maps can be considered scores, but their success revolves around the intentions of maker and participants: what is controlled by the score vs. what is left up to chance and personal choice. The difference between scores used as a mechanism of communication versus those used to control behavior is very significant. When a score is primarily determined by a composer, the Halprins called it "closed." When it is determined by the performers/enactors, it is "open."

Parades and Changes was the second formal piece of choreography that utilized the Halprin’s scoring process. Anna determined the initial resources for the dance (dancers, environments and generalized tasks), but through arduous workshops she and the participants selected more specific actions that were incorporated into the final score. It was decided that the score would be composed of a series of cellblocks, where each collaborator wrote a series of actions on a set of index cards. For example, composer Morton Subotnick’s cell blocks might say 1) live music on a horn with a single sustained sound, 2) electronic sound, 3) percussive rhythms, and 4) Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto. Anna’s choreographic cell blocks read 1) dress and undress, 2) stomp dance, 3) embrace, 4) costume parade, 5) move with scaffold, and 6) paper dance. They were mutually developed so that they could be reassembled in infinite combinations, cell blocks could be added or removed depending on what worked best with a specific theater or audience, but they would be re-mixed in advance to derive a totally different result on every occasion of the performance. The Parades and Changes score is closed, in that it is predetermined, but the ways in which the performers select materials, interact with one another, react to the changing environment, and transition from section to section incorporates possibilities for chance and personal choice. Thus, the event is continuously composed during the actual performance, but is also rigidly structured.
(Scoring Parades and Changes as related by Dena Beard)

Published 23 February 2013

Research @ Tanzhalle Wiesenburg


Currently Laurent Goldring and I are working on a new piece in Tanzhalle Wiesenburg. The research deals with the hands and the face.
We are working on images which will be seen in the frame of an exhibition lateron and on a performance, both being presented, soon, most probably in September21 in Berlin.
image: L.Goldring. all rights reserved.

Published 23 March

Knotting / Film / online

I am happy to announce the film-premiere of Knotting. The work was filmed a few days before the planned premiere in November 2020 and will now be available from March 12-21, 2021 on the Sophiensaele website (https://sophiensaele.com/) and on Tanzforum Berlin (https://www.tanzforumberlin.de)

The film for the performance Knotting documents the research for the piece in excerpts and was shot as an experiment five days before the planned premiere. The choreographic portrait is inspired by the fluid, elastic, expansive movements of the dancer Francesca d’Ath and deals with the physical understanding of the knot. A deep blue surface creates references in the set between heaven and earth, between reality and dream. A lucid space is created that makes parts of the body appear like cut-outs, referencing, among other things, the sensual and soft forms of painter Henri Matisse’s works. The choreography is a powerful, ongoing play with repetition and change – with movement that never begins, never ends.
pic: I.Schad. all rights reserved.

See online : Sophiensaele

Published 12 March

SODA Intensive @ HZT Berlin

Between 25 and 29th of January 2021, I have had the pleasure to teach at SODA, HZT in Berlin Uferstudios. It has been an intense, rich and wonderful experience...

What is universal in as much as movement, self awareness, togetherness, empathy, community are concerned? What links us beyond background, culture, nationality, gender, aesthetics ?
Understanding your own compositional strategies for making work can be seen as a way to formalise / analyse your choreographic practices. In this context I would like to share my own personal approach to body work, choreographic practices and how they relate to warm-ups, to material that is lived, formed and organised for and within you / others. My practices will then mingle, intervene with those coming from you and your own experiences.
We will do warm-ups / trainings together, which will introduce into different types of movement techniques around the energetic body, using principles deriving from Aikido, acupressure (Zen-Shiatsu), breathing techniques (Qi-gong and its relating theories); as well as other somatic practices such as Body-Mind Centering. The questions at stake are concerned with the notion of form and being. And what ‘in-forms’ a form - and the self: We are dealing with inner-outer relationships, the relation to oneself, and - as we are taking the opportunity to train in a group - also the relation of oneself to one another.

pic:I.Schad. all rights reserved.

Published 1 February

Harvest - research at Wiesenburg


This January 2021, we have started the research around the new work for kids from 3 years on: Harvest - at Wiesenburg.
Together with Jan Loris, Aya Toraiwa, Manuel Lindner and Emma Juliard, I have spent 3 intense weeks of working with the branches from our own harvest at Wiesenburg.

pic: I.Schad. all rights reserved.

Published 31 January

Embryology as Choreography

I have just been asked to write an essay about my artistic practices for the Magazine of the Muzeum Susch, which will be published soon, when I have taken the opportunity to revisit an older text of mine from 2013 entitled ’Embryology as Choreography’.
It has been a good moment for me to realise, which aspects are still present in my today’s approach, and at which point they have changed.
You will notice once the new essay will be published and I will be happy to share it with you.
But here comes the one from 2013.

PDF - 114.4 kb

The text ‘Embryology as Choreography’ first appeared in: Brandstetter, Gabriele; Klein, Gabriele; Foster, Susan Leigh; Haller, Melanie; and Luken, Heike (ed), Dance [And] Theory (2013)

Published 23 January

Turning Solo @ Humboldthain

On 28th and 29th November 2020, together with Jasmin İhraç, we have experimented with an Open Air Version of the Turning Solo in public space. We have installed the work as an ongoing meditation practice allowing for witnessing Jasmin spinning when passing by. Everyone who has been enjoying the Humboldthain at this day and at this time of the day could discover a personal practice of spinning and sculpting time....
It has been an enriching experience for all of us.

pic: I.Schad. all rights reserved.

Published 23 January