A Life in Objects In den Dingen - ein Leben
From October 2013 until June 2014, Mobile Dance Company worked on the project A Life in Objects (In den Dingen - ein Leben), funded by the Berliner Projektfonds kulturelle Bildung. The project had the following strands of activity:
1) The creation of two new pieces for young audiences from the age of 8 by Mobile Dance Company
2) The presentation of the two pieces for classes from four Berlin schools accompanied by workshops and a moderated discussion
3) Teacher training workshops
4) A weekly intergenerational open class for dancers of all ages and abilities
The project worked with 14 dance artists, 8 teachers, 14 performers from MDC, 120 pupils and 45 open class participants.
In the first phase of the project MDC reworked Fruit Pieces (Frucht-Stücke), an installation piece created by Jo Parkes in 2009. From 1962 until the end of the German Democratic Republic (east Germany), the Bundesrepublik Deutschland (west Germany) paid for the release of political prisoners in hard cash and also in various goods. On 19 August 1964 the first delivery of oranges was agreed. Fruit Pieces investigates the worth of a human being in oranges. The piece was originally a series of four solos for audiences of one. In the schools version of the project 12 dancers recreated and developed the four exisiting solos to be performed to audiences of 30, listening to the soundtrack through headphones.
To see the trailer for Fruit Pieces (Frucht-Stücke) (text in German) please click here.
In the second phase of the project MDC worked with three dancers to create a new piece A Life in Objects (In den Dingen - ein Leben) investigating the history of their lives through objects which have value to them. In our comsumer society which objects have value? We worked with two generations of dancers: Alex B who has lived an itinerant life as a performer, Fidan Sirin who came to Germany at the age of 8, the daughter of a Kurdish refugee and Ben Hassan AL-Rim whose father is Syrian and his mother German. The younger dancers were chosen becasue their stories and concerns reflected those of the classes who we had worked with in the first phase of the project. The 40-minute peice was received with enthusiasm by the young audience members.
To see the piece please click here.
Lina Morgenstern School - Kreuzberg
Carl von Ossietzsky School - Kreuzberg
Peter Petersen School - Neukölln
Nelson Mandela School - Wilmersdorf
Feedback from the teachers taking part in the project:
First Phase: Fruit Pieces
„...I found the workshop very successful and the performance very impressive. All of the pupils were enthusiastic and are looking forward to the next sessions. In particular, I found the workshop-leading by the dancer impressive. He even managed to engage the pupils who were very sceptical about the whole thing...
Teacher - Nelson Mandela School March 2014
Second Phase: A Life in Objects
With the young ones, with Ben and Fidan, those are basically tabu subjects for our pupils. This "Am I muslim?"...to ask this question is really difficult. Or for the Arabian or Turkish girls to ask the question: "Should I not marry?". These are themes which we cannot discuss or perhaps one gets very stereotyped answers...I had the feeling through this concentrated dancing and the concentrated listening from them all that the pupils were in a position perhaps to think about these things differently. Also simply through the people who they saw here who are positive identification figures for them...
Teacher - Lina Morgenstern School, June 2014