The company Sasha Waltz & Guests was founded by Sasha Waltz and Jochen Sandig in Berlin in 1993 and in the season 2018/19 celebrated its 25th anniversary. To date, more than 300 artists and ensembles from the fields of architecture, visual arts, choreography, film, design, literature, fashion and music from 30 countries have collaborated as »Guests« on over 80 productions, »Dialoge« projects and films. Sasha Waltz & Guests works in an international and national constantly evolving network of production and guest performance partners, showing its current repertoire of 12 active pieces in about 70 performances each year. In Berlin, the company cooperates with a wide range of municipal theatres, opera houses and museums and has contributed to the establishing of new cultural institutions such as Sophiensaele (1996), St. Elisabeth Kirche (2004) and radialsystem (2006).
2013, the company has been named »European Cultural Ambassador« by the European Union. In 2014, Sasha Waltz & Guests was awarded the »george tabori ehrenpreis« by the Fonds Darstellende Künste.
Apart from Berlin stagings, national and international guest performances and the continual work on the repertoire, Sasha Waltz & Guests has been increasingly committed to educational and social projects. In 2007, the Children’s Dance Company (»Kindertanzcompany«) was founded and since 2016 the interdisciplinary and open exchange platform »ZUHÖREN« serves as a »third space for art and politics«. Alongside these initiatives, the company continues to propose diverse offers in the field of knowledge transfer. Sasha Waltz & Guests is funded by the Senate Department for Culture and Europe.
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.
Sasha Waltz & Guests is funded by the Senate Department for Culture and Europe.
Sasha Waltz’s Biography
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 interdisciplinary 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. Following her return to Europe in 1988 she began an intensive phase of collaborations with choreographers, artists and musicians such as Tristan Honsinger, Frans Poelstra, Mark Tompkins, David Zambrano and Voré. In 1992 she came to Berlin with a grant by the Künstlerhaus Bethanien, where she developed the improvisational format »Dialoge« driven by the spirit of her interdisciplinary and international work. 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 more, nowadays a center of the independent dance and theatre scene not only in Germany. From 2000-2004 she was one of the directors of the Schaubühne at Lehniner Platz. In the season 2019/20 Sasha Waltz was director of the Berlin State Ballet together with Johannes Öhman.
During her first decade in Berlin she created internationally renowned and influencial dance pieces such as the trilogies »Travelogue« and »Körper« as well as the immersive dance installation »insideout«. In the following years she applied the language and strategies of contemporary dance to vitalize and explore historical and new operas and ballets. With »Dido & Aeneas« (2005), »Medea« (2007) and »Matsukaze« (2011) she realized three pieces about women and at the same time established the genre of the choreographic opera. In 2007 she directed »Romeo et Juliette«, interpreting the dramatic symphony of Hector Berlioz, for the Opéra national de Paris. From this followed »Sacre« in 2013 set to the Music of Strawinsky commissioned by the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, and in 2014 »Tannhäuser« at the Staatsoper Berlin conducted by Daniel Barenboim. Simultaneously Sasha Waltz has been pursuing the sharing and teaching of dance knowledge and promoting dance as a medium of social and sociopolitical communication. As part of this endeavor, she founded the Berlin based »Kindertanzcompany« (Children’s Dance Company) in 2007 and, following an invitation from the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, developed a choreography with over 100 pupils to dance Schtschedrin’s Carmen-Suite. In 2016 she founded the event format »ZUHÖREN« with which she opened a »third space« for art and politics. She expanded the »Dialoge«-concept to incorporate danced responses to architecture wherein the audience is invited to act as an equal part of the choreographic happening. Examples of this are »Dialoge 09« performed in the still vacant interior of the Neues Museum in Berlin after the renovation by David Chipperfield (2009) and the choreographic installation »Figure humaine« for the inauguration of the Hamburg Elbphilharmonie (2017). In her present choreographic work, Waltz is focusing on the intensification of collaborative processes, such as the synchronic development of choreography and music. In collaboration with Soundwalk Collective and the costume designer Iris van Herpen (among others) she created the choreography »Kreatur« (2017) followed by the work »Exodos« (August 2018), both premiered at radialsystem in Berlin. In March 2019 her latest project »rauschen« received its world premiere at the Volksbühne Berlin.
In 2020 Sasha Waltz reacted to the challenges of the Corona pandemic with different projects on- and offline. From March to June 2020 the dance company Sasha Waltz & Guests published an online »dance diary« in which dancers presented their interpretations of solos from choreographies by Sasha Waltz from the security of their homes. In August 2020 Sasha Waltz developed the open air project »Dialoge 2020 – Relevante Systeme«, which was performed at the Berlin radialsystem. For this evening Waltz developed an adaptation of her choreography »Sacre« creatively dealing with the limiting conditions and circumstances of our current situation, and premiered a choreography to Maurice Ravel’s »Boléro« as well as solos to Georg Friedrich Haas‘ »I can’t breathe«. In September Waltz opened the festival Romaeuropa with the open air project »Dialoge Roma 2020 – Terra Sacra«. In December Sasha Waltz concluded the year 2020 with a series of improvisations with the title »Dialoge 2020 – Relevante Systeme II«, streamed live from the radialsystem in Berlin.
In 2009 the choreographer was awarded the French cultural order »Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres«. For her special services in 2011 Sasha Waltz was granted the German Federal Cross of Merit. Since 2013 she is a member of the Academy of Arts Berlin.