Sasha Waltz & Guests was founded by Sasha Waltz and Jochen Sandig in Berlin in 1993. By now, over 300 artists and ensembles – architects, visual artists, choreographers, filmmakers, designers, musicians, singers and dancers – from 25 countries have appeared as »Guests« in over 80 productions, »Dialoge« projects and films. Sasha Waltz & Guests works with an international, constantly developing network of production partners and guest performers. The company shows approximately 70 performances worldwide every year, drawn from a repertory currently consisting of 20 productions. In Berlin, it cooperates with a wide range of institutions such as theaters, opera houses and museums. It has also contributed to the creation of innovative production spaces for a dialogue of the arts, such as Sophiensaele (1997) and Radialsystem V, Space for Arts & Ideas (2006).
The company’s work is centered on the following four areas:
(1) Dialogic forms of artistic research and production with composers, conductors, visual artists and academics
(2) Conveying the artistic results to a diverse international audience in Berlin and on tour around the world
(3) Intercultural dialogue, which can be experienced both on stage and backstage due to the heterogenous composition of the participants of different cultural backgrounds
(4) Promoting the next generation via continuing education and transfer projects.
The company was named an official »cultural ambassador of the European Union« for the anniversary year of 2013. It received the 2014 »george tabori« prize of the Fonds Darstellende Künste.
Sasha Waltz & Guests is supported by the Berlin government’s department of cultural affairs and the Hauptstadtkulturfonds (Capital Culture Fund).
1992-1999: The founding of the company and the Sophiensaele
Sasha Waltz received a scholarship to come to Berlin in 1992 and work as an artist-in-residence at the Künstlerhaus Bethanien. During that year, she showed her work in various spaces in Berlin, including Tanzfabrik, Kunsthaus Tacheles and the Hackesche Höfe.
Sasha Waltz founded the Sasha Waltz & Guests company with Jochen Sandig in Berlin in 1993. The »Travelogue« trilogy was created in 1993-1995 with various different guests; it was performed in over 30 countries. The majority of the dancers from this period are now choreographers themselves, such as Thomas Lehmen from Berlin and Nasser Martin-Gousset from Paris. After the trilogy was completed, Sasha Waltz decided to work with a new generation of dancers. She replaced all of the members of the ensemble except for Japanese dancer Takako Suzuki, who has worked with Sasha Waltz continuously since 1992. Dancers such as Luc Dunberry, Juan Kruz Diaz de Garaio Esnaola, Laurie Young, Nicola Mascia and more joined the company.
Their first collaboration, »Allee der Kosmonauten« (1996), coincided with the opening of sophiensæle, a new production and performance space run by Sasha Waltz and Jochen Sandig. The sophiensæle soon came to fill an important gap in Berlin’s cultural landscape. Today, 20 years after its founding, it is one of the most important independent theaters in Europe. »Allee der Kosmonauten« was invited to the 34th Theatertreffen, and the film version of the piece by arte won the Adolf Grimme Prize as a pioneering production in the category of dance on television. »Allee der Kosmonauten« also went on tour around the world, with great international success.
The piece was followed by »Zweiland« (1997) and »Na Zemlje« (1998), for which Sasha Waltz added six Russian dancers to her ensemble. In 1999, she developed two large-scale »Dialoge« research projects with 20 dancers each, which were studies of the relationship between dance and architecture and of the topic of the human body. »Dialoge I/’99« took place in the emptied-out ballroom of the sophiensæle, while »Dialoge II/’99« explored the as-yet empty spaces of the Jewish Museum by Daniel Libeskind, two years before its official opening.
1999-2004: Schaubühne am Lehniner Platz
Sasha Waltz and Jochen Sandig were enlisted to join the artistic direction of the Schaubühne am Lehniner Platz in the fall of 1999, which thus became the first ensemble and repertory theater in Germany to place contemporary dance on an equal footing with acting. International artists such as Emio Greco/Pieter Scholten, Christine de Smedt, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and Benoît Lachambre were invited to the Schaubühne to develop guest choreographies. Major choreographers such as Alain Platel, Meg Stuart, Jérôme Bel, Gilles Jobin and William Forsythe gave guest performances or participated in co-productions. Furthermore, Sasha Waltz and Jochen Sandig hosted a yearly choreography workshop at the Schaubühne, which was an experimental forum to promote young talent. The dancers of the ensemble had an opportunity to present their own pieces alongside guests such as Constanza Macras and other independent choreographers.
Sasha Waltz’s premiere of »Körper« in January 2000 inaugurated the Schaubühne under its new artistic direction. The premiere of »S« followed in November 2000. In addition to these repertory productions, research projects entitled »Dialoge« continued to play an important role in the work of Sasha Waltz. »17-25/4 / Dialoge 2001« utilized all the in- and outdoor spaces of the Mendelsohn Building at Lehniner Platz. This research project resulted in the piece »noBody« (premiere 2002), which completed a trilogy on the human being and its body. The choreographic installation »insideout« premiered in Graz in September 2003. It was a co-production with the city of Graz, the European Capital of Culture that year. 2004 saw the creation of »Impromptus« to the music of Franz Schubert. Luc Dunberry developed two productions for the Schaubühne, »The rest of you« (2000) and »Seriously« (2001). Pieces such as »My Dearest … My Fairest« (2000) and »Colours may fade …« (2004) by Juan Kruz Diaz de Garaio Esnaola and Australian musician Joanna Dudley as well as »d’avant« (2002) by the choreography collective of Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Juan Kruz Diaz de Garaio Esnaola, Luc Dunberry and Damien Jalet were also created during this period.
2004 – now
Since the summer of 2004, the independent company Sasha Waltz & Guests has once again become the main focus of Sasha Waltz, Jochen Sandig, and the artists and choreographers that they collaborate with regularly, such as Luc Dunberry, Juan Kruz Diaz de Garaio Esnaola and many others.
The company’s renewed independence was launched with the opera production »Dido & Aeneas«, which was developed in the winter of 2004-05 in collaboration with the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin and in coproduction with the Grand Théâtre de la Ville de Luxembourg, the Opéra de Montpellier and the Staatsoper Berlin. This first choreographic opera became an international success. It was followed by co-productions and tours, as well as an ongoing collaboration with the Staatsoper Berlin.
The Schaubühne am Lehniner Platz continued to show the productions which were developed there, i.e. »Körper«, »S«, »noBody«, »Impromptus« and »Gezeiten«, on a one-off basis throughout the following years.
Jochen Sandig and Folkert Uhde founded Radialsystem V in 2005 as an open space for dialogue between the arts. The Sasha Waltz & Guests company rehearses and works there regularly.
The company first participated in the spielzeit’europa festival at the Haus der Berliner Festspiele in 2010. It has since shown current productions there every year, by now also independently of the festival.
From 2010 to 2014, the company was composed of 14 permanent dancers. Together, the team gave up to 80 performances per year around the world. Many years of collaboration yielded artistic relationships across several generations, as well as a shared artistic language, between artists and coworkers from Argentina, Australia, Canada, China, Columbia, Costa Rica, Cuba, the Czech Republic, the Dominican Republic, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Lithuania, Madagascar, Mexico, Mozambique, New Zealand, Portugal, Rumania, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Uruguay, the USA and Venezuela.
In 2014, the company reacted to the increasingly disproportionate relationship between its continuously developing cultural output and stagnating funding. Public funding from the state of Berlin and the federal government reached a yearly sum of 1.85 million Euros at the time, and financed approximately 50 percent of the company’s budget. Sasha Waltz & Guests generated the remaining 50 percent, a comparatively high ratio, independently by touring and participating in international co-productions. However, this limited the company’s ability to plan ahead, increased business risks excessively, and intensified its dependence on external decisions, e.g. with respect to the availability of rehearsal time at different theaters and performance spaces.
Although the Berlin government’s department of cultural affairs recognized the company’s need for an additional 970 000 €, the Senate and Parliament decided not to contribute to a further institutionalization of the company. Thus, to stabilize its finances, Sasha Waltz had to dissolve her permanent ensemble and let go of approximately one third of the permanent employees in 2014. The company has since employed the dancers as independent contributors for approximately 70 performances per year and 20 repertory pieces, performed internationally.
Sasha Waltz’s Biography
Sasha Waltz was born in Karlsruhe, Germany. She studied dance and choreography in Amsterdam and New York. In 1993 she co-founded her company, Sasha Waltz & Guests, with Jochen Sandig in Berlin. In 1996 she opened the critically acclaimed Sophiensaele, a theatre she co-founded with Sandig. In 2000, Waltz was named one of the artistic directors of Berlin’s Schaubühne am Lehniner Platz where – amongst others– she created the trilogy »Körper« as well as the choreographic installation »insideout«. In 2004 Sasha Waltz & Guests once again became an independent company, with Jochen Sandig as artistic director. In January 2005 her first opera-choreography »Dido & Aeneas« had its world premiere at Staatsoper Unter den Linden, Berlin. In 2007 Sasha Waltz presented, among other works, two music-theatre choreographies: »Medea« with music by Pascal Dusapin and text by Heiner Müller had its World Premiere in Luxemburg in May. The Opéra de Paris presented the choreography by Sasha Waltz to Hector Berlioz’ dramatic symphony »Roméo et Juliette«. The music-based choreographic project »Jagden und Formen (Zustand 2008)«, music by Wolfgang Rihm, developed together with the Ensemble Modern was premiered in Frankfurt am Main in 2008. 2009 Sasha Waltz & Guests presented the project »Dialoge 09 – Neues Museum« in the New Museum in Berlin, reconstructed by David Chipperfield. In the same year Sasha Waltz received an artist’s grant for Villa Massimo in Rome. In the following, »Dialoge 09 – MAXXI« by Sasha Waltz inaugurated Rome’s new museum for contemporary art, built by Zaha Hadid, in November 2009. In 2010 her choreography »Continu« was premiered in Zurich, Switzerland, followed by her next choreographic opera »Passion« composed by Pascal Dusapin, at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, Paris. In 2011 the opera »Matsukaze« by Japanese composer Toshio Hosokawa with choreography by Sasha Waltz premiered at the Oper La Monnaie in Brussels. In 2012 the choreographic concert »gefaltet« by Sasha Waltz and Mark Andre was presented as a world premiere in the context of the festival Mozartweek by Stiftung Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria. Furthermore she was invited by the Berliner Philharmoniker to choreograph the dance project »MusicTANZ – Carmen« for their Education programme, with over 100 pupils performing to Rodion Schtschedrin’s Carmen Suite. In 2013 among other projects, Sasha Waltz created a choreography on Strawinsky’s »Le Sacre du Printemps«, a collaboration between Sasha Waltz & Guests and the Mariinsky Ballet, St. Petersburg. »Sacre« premiered at the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg in May 2013 under the musical direction of Valery Gergiev. The German premiere followed in October 2013 at Berlin’s Staatsoper under the musical direction of Daniel Barenboim and performed by the dancers of Sasha Waltz & Guests. Together with Peter Weibel Sasha Waltz curated the exhibition »Sasha Waltz. Installationen. Objekte. Performances«, which presented her work for the first time in the context of visual arts. Within four months the new exhibition format attracted about 60.000 visitors. In April 2014 Sasha Waltz continued her artistic collaboration with Barenboim by staging Richard Wagner’s »Tannhäuser«, a production of the Staatsoper im Schiller Theater Berlin. In September 2014 the new production of Sasha Waltz & Guests, Claudio Monteverdi’s »Orfeo« choreographed by Sasha Waltz premiered in Amsterdam at the Dutch National Opera. In 2015 her choreography »Roméo et Juliette« – for the first time danced by Sasha Waltz & Guests – had its German premiere at the Deutsche Oper Berlin. In 2016 Sasha Waltz develops the new format »ZUHÖREN« and opens up a »third dimension« for art and politics. Accompanied by the artistic program of dance and music the company hosted encounters and conversations with international notable persons in view of the current situation concerning the need for asylum and civil society engagement and the artistic strategies.
Sasha Waltz was awarded the »Caroline-Neuber-Preis« as well as the french cultural fraternity »Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres« in 2010 and the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany in 2011. Since June 2013, Sasha Waltz is also a member of the Academy of Arts, Berlin. For its anniversary year 2013 the company has been named »European Cultural Ambassador« by the European Union. Most recently Sasha Waltz & Guests was awarded the »george tabori ehrenpreis« 2014 by Fonds Darstellende Künste.
More on Sasha Waltz in the German Press
Sandra Luzina: »Wer ist Sasha Waltz?« Der Tagesspiegel, 14.11.2010
Michaela Schlagenwerth: »Die Erforschung von Mensch und Raum«, Berliner Zeitung, 24.10.2013
Deike Diening: »Die bewegte Frau«, Der Tagesspiegel, 25.10.2013
Kathrin Bettina Müller: »Ein Lebenstraum begraben.« taz, 13.12.2013
Peter von Becker: »Sasha Waltz gehört nach Berlin!« Der Tagesspiegel, 24.05.2014
Children’s Dance Company Berlin
The Children’s Dance Company Berlin started out as an initiative by Sasha Waltz, Hanna Hegenscheidt and Livia Patrizi. They took over a group started in 2005-6 by a project called “TanzZeit – Zeit für Tanz in Schulen” (DanceTime – time for dance in schools). At the time, the children had the opportunity to train their movements and develop their talent once a week. By now, the Sasha Waltz & Guests company has three dance groups for young talent (ages 5-7, 7-9 and 9-12), focused on engaging them in dance through play. Led by dancers associated with the company, the children and adolescents explore themselves and each other through movement. They regularly develop small pieces with their groups and present their work at Radialsystem V.
The piece “Der Kleine Mann” about the topic of dreams for the future was developed under the leadership of Gabriel Galindez Cruz in 2009. In 2010, the children worked “Monster”, a topic that they chose themselves. Live musicians often take part in the development of the pieces, most recently in the case of “The Wild Things”. In that piece, the dancing is accompanied by a four-member chamber orchestra performing contemporary compositions by the Japanese composer Hideki Kozakura.
Children’s Dance Group 1, 5-7 years
(Led by Davide Camplani, Mata Sakka, Andreas Kern)
The children’s dance group for younger children gives them a first taste of dance and joy in the movements of their own bodies. The children develop a playful basic repertoire of movements in small groups. Two ensemble dancers of Sasha Waltz & Guests, Davide Camplani and Mata Sakka, lead the 3-hour intensive workshop once a month, together with concert pianist Andreas Kern.
Children’s Dance Group 2, 7-9 years
(Led by Gabriel Galindez Cruz)
The group of 7- to 9-year-olds meets once a week for an intensive workshop of movement and play, led by choreographer Gabriel Galindez Cruz.The children develop an individual repertoire of movement and expression using improvisation and group games.
Children’s Dance Group 3, 9-12 years
(Led by Gabriel Galindez Cruz)
Meets once a week for 1 ½ hours.
Registration, Admission and Prices
Admission: according to availability. Any free spots will be advertised on our website.
Prices: 120 EUR for one school term. No classes during school vacations or on bank holidays.
Location: RADIALSYSTEM V, Studio A
Project Director Kindertanz / Administration
Sasha Waltz & Guests GmbH
Tel: +49 (0) 30 24 62 80 70