Phillip Adams: Tanzmesse Report


Our artistic director, Phillip Adams, has called Germany his office for the past few weeks. See below a quick interview on the most exciting performances/experiences/places he's seen, had and been! 

BL - Phillip, what's been interesting and what really got you?
PA - Travelling to a foreign arts scene is a new translation, and this is exactly what I have come up against in Berlin attending Tanz Im August. There is a real sense of immediacy with "live performance" here, of both entering and leaving the space. A trend is the artist’s questioning of the validity of what it means to be alive, allowing the audience to apprehend the moment (such as the shamanist performance by Benoit Lachambre entitled Snakeskins - a fake solo). 
With travel map in hand I’ve been guided through the old West Berlin area of Charlottenburg with site-specific performance art pieces from a hive of Berlin-kids-next-generation-dance artists.  These young dancers are reclaiming the West as the new position/place to make dance (rather then the East). From the studio, a solo work from Jefta van Dinther - Blackness Blackness Blackness – an excellent collaboration in light and sound art – connect, confuse and move effects.
Another wow show was - (MI)MOSA.  Audiences are eventually convinced by trailer reference to The Judson Church and Paris is Burning drag company cabaret long execution. But we all loved the captivating performances from Bengolea, Chaignaud, Harrell and Freitas.  In part they are cool but as a whole evening … hmmm: has queer performance taken the lead amongst the Euro click? I should think so.  The best of the best is The Nature Theatre of Oklahoma at Kampnagel in Sommer Festival in Hamburg - I am very impressed with the ensemble from New York navigating their way through a theatrical terrain of the earlier folks from back home. Lastly, I want to comment on a new work in development I saw at the Internationale Tanzmesse NRW – Bodycartography ( Like taking the lid off nature in 70s-animal-print, it comes off as almost strange at times.  Tanzmesse is cluttered by a lot of old-world-school-dance but in the mix you can find a few gems. 

BL - What's been the most fun?  
PA - A Melbourne tribe is on force here:  Matthew Day, Lilian Steiner, Rebecca Jensen, Sandra Parker and Derrick Amanitidis (who lives here now with his dashing filmmaker beau, Simon). The Berlin location rubs us all the right way and we feel right at home. The flock gathers between performances doing foyer work, staying out way too late, and comparing this that and the other. Not much different from home really except we're here. 

BL - Are you all networked out?
PA - Networking is ridiculous; passing out my business card is like scoring my next pimp to hook me up with a new client. Sleeping with a new type font we can afford. The Tanzmesse is a conference for the addicted networker and the best thing to do when having one of these terrifying presenter moments whilst abroad is indulge: " Oh that sounds amazing, here why don't you take my vimeo, dvds, badges, card, program flyer, press information, Facebook,  twitter and tumblr site, memory sick, free lollies on the deck, logo drink bottle all into your carry bag and meet me for another meeting to discuss my work conversation to suggest meeting another presenter who should see your work and did you see her showcase last night it was amazing.”  Don't get me wrong folks -  I love it.  Had a great time here at Tanzmesse preparing for more networking mania before we are company-in-residence at Centre de Création Chorégraphique Luxembourgeois (TROIS C-L) Banannefabrik.
In concluding, not many things transport me except perhaps those fleeting connections with life when you think you might have a good idea or you happen across that one performance that inspires the devil within and makes it all worthwhile. I can safely say doing the circuit of the German Summer Festival season has done me justice. What a relief to know there are other fools out there as silly, bored, excitable, burnt out, that eat too late and are as creatively risky as me. Thanks everyone, and oh - there is no better way than to get to know yourself than by travelling. “Answered prayers cause more tears than those that remain unanswered.”  (Saint Teresa of Ávila) From my Dusseldorf hotel room 41 playing devil-may-care with the TV remote. 

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