Isabelle Schad

The work of Isabelle Schad focuses on the materiality and processuality of the body and on its possibility to be experienced. At exactly this intersection, she deals with the relationship between body, choreography and (re)presentation and issues of community building and political engagement.
As a dancer, Isabelle Schad first studied ballet at the John Cranko School in Stuttgart. After working in various classical ensembles for six years, she moved on to contemporary companies, including Ultima Vez led by Wim Vandekeybus in Brussels.
From 1999 onwards she initiated her own projects. In her search for new research methods and options for working together, she co-initiated several collaborations. In 2003 she founded the “Good Work” international artist network with Bruno Pocheron and Ben Anderson. She also collaborates on a continuous basis with the visual artist Laurent Goldring, with whom she created “Unturtled #1–4” (2008–2011), “Der Bau” (The Burrow, 2012/13) and “Collective Jumps” (2014), the latter of which is now part of a trilogy together with “Pieces and Elements” (2016) and “Reflection” (2019).
In many of her works, the choreographer creates awareness for the fact that each performer has his or her own rhythm of moving within a commonly shared form. The bodies may share a common synchronicity, but they do not have to function synchronically. “Sensing“ the body is of central importance for this kind of group work. A specific attitude in dealing with energy is an important clue for this work, which the artist also understands as a form of collective resistance. Schad focuses on a form of energy which does not operate forcefully, but which results from a differentiated self-awareness of one’s own body. “You have to move yourself in order to move someone else“, she quotes a common saying from the practice of Aikido, a quote which she also comprehends as a political metaphor.
Isabelle Schad has a close connection with the Theater HAU Hebbel am Ufer in Berlin as a performance venue. Her works are performed at international festivals, including ImPuls Tanz Wien, Tanz im August (Berlin), Montpellier Danse, International Arts Festival (Beijing). She was invited to appear at the Venice Biennale in 2016 and in 2019 was elected choreographer of the year by four critics in the German magazine Tanz. Her works are frequently selected for the Tanzplattform Deutschland (German Dance Platform), and she has collaborated with the Goethe-Institut on several occasions. She teaches regularly at TEAK Helsinki and HZT Berlin, among others, conducts workshops worldwide and is committed to the independent dance scene in the Balkans. (Gabriele Wittmann)

Video-Interview by Tanzforum Berlin