The project documentation gives an insight into the rehearsal work for Abendliche Tänze and explains Winkler’s idea and concept for the work.

Christoph Winkler:
Abendliche Tänze

“The dance piece has its time, no different to the dancer himself who is caught in the timeframe that allows him to use his body confidently as an instrument. That is fate in dance.” Mary Wigman

Using memory as an attempt to see the world in a new way: Abendliche Tänze (Evening Dances) is both the name of a 1924 choreography by the legendary expressionist dancer Mary Wigman, and the title of a 1979 ballet by Tom Schilling. While Wigman’s work emerged in the context of the Weimar Republic, Schilling was part of the GDR political system and founded the dance theatre at Berlin’s Komische Oper. He even danced with Wigman as a young man but knew nothing about her work with the same name.

Christoph Winkler’s version of Abendliche Tänze was neither a third new dance piece with the same name, nor was it a remake or reconstruction. Instead, the choreographer looked at a specific form of memory located in choreographic practice itself.

The use of historical concatenations in Winkler’s work posed many questions regarding dance as an art form. The piece took a critical look at his own dance tradition, as well as how history is understood in dance today, and made it clear that references and developments do not follow a linear path.

Winkler also created autobiographical references. Coming from a small town near Leipzig, he looked back on his own youth, the GDR, weight training, ballet training, conflicts and techno, and repeatedly on his numerous encounters with Wigman’s and Schilling’s works. Working with seven dancers and actors, the result was a subjective, remembrance choreography that sought to reflect on the history of German dance beyond reconstruction.

The full performance can be viewed at

Lecture with Mirko Winkel (in German)

In his lecture performance, which was part of the overall project, Mirko Winkler talks about “remembering and forgetting”, “memory lies”, “memory gaps” and “the whole truth”, and in doing so gives a very entertaining introduction into memory concepts from the fields of cognitive psychology, neuroscience and philosophy.

Mirko Winkel

Mirko Winkel was born in the GDR and now lives in Berlin and Vienna. He studied fine art and performance art with Marina Abramovic and Christoph Schlingensief and completed an MA in Solo/Dance/Authorship at the Berlin University of the Arts and the Ernst Busch Academy of Dramatic Art.

His research-based, mainly collaborative works are both performances, videos, lectures and texts, as well as spatial concepts, ideas and improvement suggestions. He is a co-founder of the Freie Klasse Braunschweig (Theaterformen 2004, Elektropopklub 2005) and the agency Mysafir (9th Istanbul Biennale), and he was part of a one-year theatrical experimenton the complete works of Heiner Müller (Jenseits des Todes – HM3, Vienna 2006). With Doreen Uhlig, he developed the Theses on Performance Art (Life Art Festival Peking), with Alex Gerbaulet he created a filmabout young neo-Nazis in an East German prison, and with Anat Eisenberg he developed a walk-in installation in a luxury Istanbul flat, which was then adapted as Radikal jung 2014 for the Münchner Volkstheater. As co-director with Martin Schick, he developed a casting show for the Konzert Theater Bern in which Switzerland’s biggest problems competed against each other. He is currently creating a film about the development of the Brandenburg parliament in the shape of the Potsdam City Palace, and with Protein, he launched a magazine about ageing. For the past three years, he has been teaching at the Institute for Performing Arts and Art atthe Braunschweig University of Art.

Since 2008, he has been working invarious capacities in Christoph Winkler’s productions.


The trailer gives a first impression of Abendliche Tänze.


ABENDLICHE TÄNZE – Protocols of a disposing memory

The dance piece Abendliche Tänze – based on Christoph Winkler’s memories in relation to the works of the German choreographers Mary Wigman and Tom Schilling – described his situation as a dancer and choreographer at moments when he came into contact with both artists. At the start of the rehearsals for Abendliche Tänze, Winkler spent several days talking about everything he could remember. Mirko Winkel then asked the dancers, at different times, to relay what had remained in their own memories. These recollections, which were filmed, then formed the foundation for the dance piece. A seven-channel video installation was created from the recordings and shown before and after the performances. The version shown here is a re-edit of this work.


Concept – Christoph Winkler
By and with – Chris Daftsios, Emma Daniel, Karima El Amrani, Karolina Kraczkowska, Pietro Pireddu, Claire Vivianne Sobottke and Ahmed Soura
Creative consultant – Mirko Winkel
Music – Tian Rotteveel
Costumes – Lisa Kentner
Costume support – Marlene Modéer
Lighting and technology – André Schulz
Production dramaturgy – ehrliche arbeit – freies Kulturbüro
Assistant – Franziska Ruhnau
Music – Franz Schubert Piano Trio in E-flat major, Notturno – Hansheinz Schneeberger, Jörg Ewald Dähler and Thomas Demenga
Music, vocal arrangements, piano – Tian Rotteveel
(Ständchen and Der Tod und das Mädchen)
Other music – Holly Herndon

A production by Christoph Winkler and ehrliche arbeit – freies Kulturbüro. In partnership with the Sophiensaele performing arts theatre, Berlin. Funded by TANZFONDS ERBE – an initiative of the Kulturstiftung des Bundes and theGoverning Mayor of Berlin – Senate Chancellery – Cultural Affairs. With support in kind from Phase 7.

Performance Dates
  • 08 May 2014 | Sophiensaele, Berlin – premiere
  • 09 – 11 May 2014 | Sophiensaele, Berlin




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