Small Space, Big Dance: Kastanienallee 77
Dance Mecca in the backyard
It must have been 1998. Right after Christmas, I came up to Berlin to do a workshop with Ka Rustler. After bumbling my way from Glaßbrennerstrasse, and finally finding Kastanienallee 77, I made my way through the two Hinterhöfe. I can’t say that I remember the walking up the stairs or the jam, but I remember encountering the floor.
The floor at K77 is a little hard. It doesn’t have quite the spring of the floor in the dance barn at Earthdance in in North Hampton. It has just enough give for falling and rolling, but is hard enough to keep you on your toes, so to speak. K77’s floor has a tad more stick than the floors at Tanzfabrik and at ODC’s old studio in San Francisco. It’s the right amount of stick so that I can slide well but not too much stick to cause my foot to rotate more slowly than my knee. Bad for the meniscus, that.
The floor changes with the seasons, tighter, more slippery in the colder months of the year; softer, more giving in the warmer months. Sometimes there is a gentle layer of grit near the edges of the space, where the Putz has been rubbed off because someone slid down the wall. Beads of sweat sink slowly into the pores of the planks, leaving behind traces of the people who come to dance in the studio. The different knots and shadings in the floor fade in and out of memory, popping back in when my eyes alight on them during a dance. Each little feature in the floor reminds me of different rehearsals, jams and performances I have experienced. It’s a small space, but its history and wonderful floor make K77 one of my most cherished studios in Berlin.
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Alain Platel / Steven Prengels, Berlinde De Bruyckere, les ballets C de la B:
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