Press Release: Sasha Waltz & Guests

For Immediate Release: September 19, 2019

Contact: Beth Whelan 

5620 SW Edgemont Place, Portland, OR  97239  

(503) 245-1600 | elizabeth@whitebird.org

www.whitebird.org

WHITE BIRD IS PROUD TO  HOST THE PORTLAND DEBUT OF ONE OF EUROPE’S MOST CELEBRATED CHOREOGRAPHERS, SASHA WALTZ, WITH HER BERLIN-BASED COMPANY, SASHA WALTZ & GUESTS.  COMPANY WILL PERFORM HER MASTERWORK KÖRPER (BODIES) IN A THREE-SHOW PORTLAND RUN.

WHITE BIRD PERFORAMANCES ARE THE ONLY OPPORTUNITY TO SEE THIS ICONIC GERMAN CHOREOGRAPHER IN NORTH AMERICA THIS YEAR.  

Who: Sasha Waltz & Guests, Körper (Bodies)

Presented by: White Bird

When: Thurs- Sat |  October 10-12 | 7:30pm

Where: Newmark Theatre, 1111 SW Broadway, Portland, OR

Sponsors: Gary Nelson & Minh Tran 

Media sponsor: The Oregonian

CONTAINS NUDITY

Tickets: Starting at $30, available at whitebird.org and Portland’5 Box Office, 1111 SW Broadway with NO added fees. Or, call 503-245-1600 ext. 201 (note: Addition $3 per ticket charged for processing over the phone). Discounts available for groups/students/seniors and professional dancers

"Dance is a universal language- an ambassador for peace, equality, tolerance and compassion"

-Sasha Waltz 

White Bird is thrilled to be the sole North American presenter in 2019 of Sasha Waltz & Guests from Berlin , featuring choreographer Sasha Waltz’s masterwork Körper (Bodies). This is the first German company presented by White Bird in its 22 years. Revered alongside Pina Bausch as Germany’s two most prominent choreographers, Sasha Waltz has an international reputation as a creative genius, who creates a unique form of dance-theatre as a medium of social and sociopolitical communication. She is recognized as one of the world’s most important figures in contemporary and post-modern dance. Körper, a 90-minute work with no intermission, demonstrates the fundamental substance of human bodies as dancers are thrown about, piled up and ultimately liberated. With Waltz’s unique visionary approach to movement, performed by 12 of the world’s most gifted dancers, Körper allows for bodies of all shapes and sizes to appear in ways rarely if ever seen in a single dance work. 

Through a sober recognition of the body’s materiality, this piece tries to understand the fundamental split imposed on us by our physical nature. It interrogates cultural templates for movement, brutal forms of pleasure, enhanced performance and cosmetic improvement: the body regarded as a resource. Bach Track refers to the work as "a challenging treatise on our perceptions of body (and also gender) norms with closely-aligned thoughts about mortality.” The sparsely clothed dancers are all on stage for the duration of the performance, allowing a raw (but staggeringly non-sexualized) viewing of the human condition. 

The music, composed by Berlin musician and composer Hans Peter Kuhn, mixes electronica, muffled accordions, horns, drips, shushing sounds that can menacingly accelerate in speed and volume like an onrushing train, and percussion that includes the slaps of dancers’ bodies when they hit the floor. Also featured within the work is a massive three-story wall, which travels with the company from venue to venue. The wall’s presence plays a key role in the cumulative and twisting development of the work, which leads to a climactic “moment of reckoning” (San Francisco Classical Voice) within the work. Though audience members will interpret in multitudes of ways, Körper’s mystery remains central to its core.  At 20 years old, with many of the original dancers still touring with the piece, Körper is a “multifaceted gem as well as an enigma,” (San Francisco Classical Voice). 

Körper is a production of Schaubühne am Lehniner Platz Berlin presented by Sasha Waltz & Guests and a coproduction with Théâtre de la Ville, Paris. Sasha Waltz & Guests is funded by the Senate for Culture and Europe and the Capital Cultural Fund. The performances of Körper are presented as part of the Year of German-American Friendship 2018/1, Wunderbar Together; a comprehensive and collaborative initiative of the Federal Foreign Office, the Goethe-Institut, and with the support of the Federation of German Industries (BDI). Three US cities are participating in Wunderbar Together pop-up events, celebrating German culture, business and food: Atlanta, Chicago, and Portland. White Bird is proud to present the three performances of Sasha Waltz & Guests in partnership with Portland’s Wunderbar Together Festival, taking place in Pioneer Courthouse Square on October 9-12. 

The company Sasha Waltz & Guests was founded by Sasha Waltz and Jochen Sandig in Berlin in 1993. To date, more than 300 artists and ensembles – architects, visual artists, choreographers, filmmakers, designers, musicians, singers and dancers – from 30 countries have collaborated as guests on over 80 productions, projects and films. Sasha Waltz & Guests work in an international and constantly evolving network of production and guest performance partners, showing its current repertoire of 20 pieces in about 70 performances around the globe each year. In 2013 the company was named European Cultural Ambassador by the European Union. In 2014 Sasha Waltz & Guests was awarded the george tabori ehrenpreis by the Fonds Darstellende Künste. 

Sasha Waltz (Direction / Choreography / Set Design)

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 performance, which has become a center of the German and global independent dance and theatre scene. Since founding her company, Sasha Waltz has created internationally renowned and influential dance pieces, while also applying the strategies of contemporary dance to operas and ballets. Waltz also actively supports the sharing and teaching of dance knowledge and promotes dance as a medium of social and sociopolitical communication. 

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White Bird’s 22nd season (2019-20) is supported by the Regional Arts & Culture Council, including support from the City of Portland, Multnomah County and the Arts Education & Access Fund; James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation, , M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust, National Endowment for the Arts, Ronni Lacroute, Oregon Arts Commission, Starseed Foundation and WESTAF (Western States Arts Federation).