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

Teaching for SOLID GROUND in Munich

Working with a wonderful group of students coming from different European universities within the dance academy camp SOLID GROUND at Tanzwerkstatt Europa Munich.

Within the workshop we first dedicate ourselves to a daily training. Based on movement principles deriving from ’somatics’ and from Asian techniques such as Aikido, Shiatsu, stretching and breathing techniques, the choreographic practice unfolds: It becomes materiality that can be sculpted in space and time. Here we develop sketches and elements that are part of the research of some of my recent group works or that simply stand for themselves. The central question here is the notion of subjectivity within a collective moving body that can only function as a whole: how can we perceive ourselves as part of a larger whole, and what does that mean as a choreographic practice, as well as a stance to take?

Grateful to Joint Adventures for making this joyful and intense experience possible.
See the whole program here

pic. by Isabelle Schad, all rights reserved

Published 30 July

Bea Kiesslinger

Bea Kiesslinger
09.02.1964 - 31.05.2022

Wir trauern und halten inne.
Für unsere geliebte Bea.

Liebe Bea,

Ich wollte Dir sagen, wie froh ich bin, daß wir uns kennenlernen durften und wie dankbar ich Dir bin. Dein Wesen, Deine mitreißende Energie, Dein genaues Hinschauen auf die Dinge, Deine Freude beim Tanzen oder beim Zusehen haben mich immer mitgenommen und fasziniert.
Wir beide haben viele tolle Zeiten und Momente miteinander gelebt, die ich nie vergessen werde: Wie wir zusammen Schwatzen und Tratschen waren in dem einen oder anderen Restaurant, wie wir Politik im Allgemeinen und für den Tanz im Besonderen diskutiert haben, wie wir Pläne geschmiedet haben, was es zu bewegen, verändern oder einfach zu TUN gibt. Wie Du zu der einen oder anderen Feier in die Wiesenburg kamst und Dich so sehr gefreut hast - über die Stimmung im Garten, die Musik und alles…einmal standen wir da, Arm in Arm beim Blues Konzert am Ende eines Abends - es war, als wären wir alle verzaubert gewesen.
Aber auch wie wir in den Kontakt durch tiefe Berührung gegangen sind beim Shiatsu, sowie die kleinen Abenteuer bei den POSITIONEN TANZ in Essen im Rahmen der Tanz-Preisverleihung.
Ich werde diese wertvollen Erfahrungen, die vielen, schönen Begegnungen nicht vergessen.
Ich weiß noch, wie Du meine kleine Danksagung zum Anlass der Tanz-Preisverleihung im Vorfeld gelesen hattest und mir sagtest: ‘da kann aber noch mehr rein. Du hast doch auch etwas in der Gesellschaft bewegt und verändert durch Deine Arbeit, kann das nicht irgendwie rein?’
Ich habe daraufhin alles nochmals umgeschrieben, dann warst Du erst zufrieden.
Liebe Bea, jetzt danke ich DIR von ganzem Herzen. Du hast unfassbar viel für mich und uns alle getan: für unsere kleine Tanz Community, die vielleicht doch nicht so klein ist, und die von dort aus etwas in unserem kollektiven Bewusstsein - und somit im Bewusstsein der heutigen Zeit dieser Welt - bewegt.
Dieses Bewusstsein wird in den vielen Verbindungen, die Du mit Deiner Art Bewegung in die Dinge zu bringen geschaffen hast weiterleben und weiter danach drängen, positive Entwicklungen zu durchleben.

In Liebe und Dankbarkeit,

Published 22 June

Wiesenburg Sommerfest.ival 2022, 1-3 July CHECK THE PROGRAMME!

Wiesenburg Sommerfest.ival 2022 will take place July 1-3 at Tanzhalle and Werkhalle Wiesenburg.
Among others The Shift of Focus by Isabelle Schad will be presented.

Have a look at the programme here.

All events are for free. A donation of 5-10 € is welcome. Limited places available for The Shift of Focus
Please register at:

Looking forward to see you at the Wiesenburg and celebrate summer together.

pic. Isabelle Schad, all rights reserved

See online : Tanzhalle Wiesenburg

Published 16 June

New article about Reflection

Happy to share a new review about Reflection by Bettina Schulte, appeared in the Badische Zeitung. Read here.

Published 3 June

Harvest at PURPLE Festival

Harvest is to be seen these days in the frame of PURPLE International Dance Festival for a Young Audience Berlin.

Few tickets still available!

1 / 2 JUNE - 10 a.m.
4 JUNE - 11 a.m. + 3 p.m.
Tanzhalle Wiesenburg

Info and Details:

Pic. by Dieter Hartwig, all rights reserved

Published 2 June

28.05: REFLECTION at Theater Freiburg for PERFORMING DEMOCRACY

Reflection will be presented in the frame of Performing Democracy, an exciting festival of the "Theater Freiburg".

When: 28.05.2022 at 7:30
More info and details here:

pic. by Dieter Hartwig, all rights reserved

Published 27 May