Who Sasha Waltz is and why you should care

Updated: Nov 11, 2019

Sasha Waltz

There is an evident and elated buzz in the White Bird office whenever Sasha Waltz or Körper, her piece coming this October, is mentioned. One of my first memories of my office mate, Matthew Bade, our Director of Revenue, Artistic and Community Partnerships, was when he excitedly told me how important it was that Sasha Waltz & Company was coming as a part of our Dance Series. I hate to say it but if you have been sleeping on Sasha Waltz you are missing out on one of modern dance’s most influential faces from the last couple of decades.


Körper

Sasha Waltz has been a stand out choreographer within Europe and has cemented her company, Sasha Waltz & Guests, as a strong and leading voice within the modern dance community. The added ‘& Guests’ is a good fit for the company seeing as over 300 artists from 30 countries have collaborated on their works since its formation in 1993. Sasha Waltz’s impact on the dance world is undeniable so I think it is worth taking a look at how she got here and what she is up to now.


Sasha Waltz started her training in Amsterdam at the School of New Dance Development and moved to New York City to begin her professional career. While state-side Sasha danced for Pooh Kaye, Yoshiko Chumo & School of Hard Knocks and Lisa Kraus & Dancers in the mid-80’s. After that she relocated to Berlin where she really began to find her choreographic voice and eventually started Sasha Waltz & Guests with Jochen Sandig. It has amassed 20 pieces in its repertoire and continues to tour with about 70 performances each year. Sasha has made an impact beyond her company and uses dance as a means of social and sociopolitical communication.


Sasha started the Berlin-based ‘Children’s Dance Company’ in 2007 with the goal to engage kids with dance and allow them to explore the world and themselves with movement. The program is facilitated by company dancers and has four different targeted age groups. She then continued her activism by creating a space for art and politics in 2017 with a new event format named ZUHÖREN.


Sasha has recently taken over as co-artistic director role for the Berlin State Ballet (Staatsballett) with Johannes Öhman. She will continue running Sasha Waltz & Guests with plans to bring back old repertoire and have guest choreographers create new pieces while she works on changing and modernizing (pun intended) Staatsballett Berlin. Sasha Waltz has created quite the impact over the past 25 years with her company and will continue to do so in the dance world as a whole.


Körper

Despite Körper being nearly 20 years old, it is not dated in the slightest. Perception of the work has changed as our perception of the world around us has, but there is still a resounding sense of awe with this piece. It is possible to see this shift in perception when looking at reviews of Körper from when it first came out to ones written within the last few years. Below are some articles that I have linked, old and new, reviewing Körper and representing it as an ageless piece that evolves with society.


It gets under your skin

Body Art

The Body Is Everything for Sasha Waltz & Guests

Sasha Waltz & Guests, Körper, at Sadler’s Wells


Individual tickets for Körper go on sale August 16th on White Bird’s website.

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