In its “docufiction performance with an old lady”, Cie Drift addresses the overlapping history of Swiss and German expressive dance. At the centre of its project is the testimony of Ulla Kasics; born in 1926 she was, together with Ruth Berghaus, one of the first four pupils of the German expressive dancer Gret Palucca in the period immediately following the Second World War. She subsequently studied under Rosalia Chladek in Vienna and at the Folkwangschule under Kurt Jooss, and met Mary Wigman and Harald Kreutzberg at the summer courses in Zurich. Kasics thus knew many pioneers of expressive dance personally, and continues to teach daily at her studio in Zurich. The choreographers Béatrice Jaccard and Peter Schelling use contemporary documents and photographs from Ulla Kasics’ archives along with stories and interviews. In addition to Kasic’s interpretations, a young female dancer will also fill the gaps in the memories. The film-maker Kaspar Kasics and the Munich-based composer Helga Pogatschar are also involved in the concept.
The premiere will be taking place on February 21st 2014 in the Tanzhaus Zurich.
Swiss dance history: between tradition and renewal
The Swiss Dance Archives are conducting an oral history project on the dance scene from the 1960s to the 1980s. By means of video portraits, celebrated dancers, choreographers and teachers such as Jean Deroc, Ulla Kasics and Irène Wydler from German-speaking Switzerland offer an insight into those times; a further three personalities from French-speaking Switzerland will also be taking part. The chosen figures from the world of dance exemplify the diversity that characterises the Swiss dance scene to this day. The project aims partly to capture the various biographies in conceptual form so as to provide an overall view of the statements, but also to take account of individual experiences and developments. The interviews are conducted using a partly standardised questionnaire. The recordings will then be available as historical source material in the Swiss Dance Archives. A compilation on DVD, a brochure on the historical context and, in late 2014 or early 2015, a concluding event are set to follow.
Anne Davier, the literary scholar and journalist who is also responsible for the Journal de l’adc in Geneva, and Annie Suquet, a French anthropologist with a doctorate in contemporary art who is also the author of books on dance, are producing a publication on contemporary dance in Switzerland. It aims to portray the development from the early days back in 1980s right up to the present. Their approach is not chronological, but sets out instead to illuminate various phenomena from a cultural history perspective. The source material is complemented by interviews with up to 15 leading figures from throughout Switzerland. Photographs are also to be taken of the “histoires de corps”. The research is being created with the support of the dance studies programme at the Institute of Theater Studies (ITW) at the University of Bern, the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Geneva, the Institute for the Performing Arts and Film (ipf) of the Zurich University of the Arts, the Swiss Dance Archives and the Swiss arts council Pro Helvetia. The book is scheduled for publication in two languages in summer 2015 as part of the ITW series from Zurich’s Chronos Verlag, and will, if finances permit, be accompanied by electronic material.