Header Image KARIN WAEHNER (1926-1999) – EIGENSINNIG IN ZWISCHENRÄUMEN (Wilful in Spaces)

Photo: JO BABOUT | © Karin Waehner Archive


Karin Waehner was born in what is now Poland in 1926. She trained as a dancer, choreographer and teacher with Mary Wigman in Leipzig after 1945. In 1953, she moved from Argentina to France where she founded her dance company Les ballets contemporains Karin Waehner in 1959.

Although she is seen as a founder of modern dance in France, her name and works are relatively unknown in Germany.

The dramaturge and theatre scientist Heide Lazarus, the former dancer Bruno Genty (today a leading administrator of Karin Waehner’s estate), and the dancers Annette Lopez-Leal and Michael Gross wanted to change this with their TANZFONDS ERBE project.

Three historical aspects that link Karin Waehner as a historical figure served as the starting point for their artistic research: the cross-generational transfer of modern dance practice and dance knowledge, the transnationalisation and internationalisation of artistic and pedagogic work, and the migratory movements in artistic activity in the first half of the 20th century.

The project linked past and present: one of Waehner’s last pieces, the solo celui sans nom (the nameless one) was not only reconstructed and passed on but expanded into a trio. It was also form part of a lecture performance investigating the choreographer’s artistic principles and discussing artistic migratory movements within and outside of Europe. The lecture was taking place with the approval of the Karen Waehner – Les Cahiers de l'Oiseau association.

Click here for more information on the programme.

Click here to watch the trailer of the performance WEGEHEN.


Executive dramaturgic and organisational management – Heide Lazarus
Executive choreographic management – Bruno Genty
Dance, choreographic assistance – Annette Lopez Leal
Dance, choreographic support – Michael Gross
Financial management – Anja Vogel
Photography and documentation – Solaja Rechlin
PR work – DOCK 11 EDEN*****, GTF–Gesellschaft für Tanzforschung (Dance Research Society), Heide Lazarus
Graphics – Kirsten Seeligmüller
Organisational Assistance – Katja Karouaschan

Dance research and biographical support – Dr. Josephine Fenger (DE); Dr. Laure Guilbert (FR); Dr. Claudia Fleischle-Braun (DE); Heide Lazarus (DE); Jean Masse / Association Karin Waehner – Les Cahiers de l’Oiseau (FR); Stephan Dörschel / Archive of the Academy of Arts, Berlin

Starting choreography

celui sans nom (the nameless one), solo
Choreography – Karin Waehner
Idea, dance – Bruno Genty
Music – Thierry Estival
Premiere – 1990, Théâtre Boris Vian (FR)


Production – DOCK 11 GmbH (non-profit entrepreneurial company)
Rehearsal space – Institute of Dance Arts (IDA) at the Anton Bruckner Private University in Linz
Guest performance –TANZWOCHE Dresden

Other partners – Gesellschaft für Tanzforschung (Dance Research Society); Archive of the Academy of Arts, BerlinCentre Lafaurie Monbadon; the “Karin Waehner, une artists migrante. Archive, patrimoine et histoire transculturelle de la danse” research project at Paris 8 University with Isabelle Launay and Sylviane Pagès, Mélanie Papin and Guillaume Sintès 



Media sources on Karin Waehner

“Karin Waehner – L’Empreinte du sensible” (2002)

Direction and screenplay: Sylvia Ghibaudo and Marc Lawton
Executive producer: Aladin
Co-producers: Ante, Muzzik and Mezzo
Funded by: Procirep, DMDTS, Ministère de la Jeunesse et des Sports, Fédération française de danse, Association Karin Waehner and CNC

New publication on Karin Waehner in German by Josephine Fenger – >Mitteilungen von Mensch zu Mensch<. Der Briefwechsel von Mary Wigman und Karin Waehner (EN: Person-to-person Messages. The Exchange of Letters between Mary Wigman and Karin Waehner), in: Jungmayr, J. & Schotte, M. (Ed.): Opera minora editorica. Editorische Beiträge zur Kulturwissenschaft (EN: Editorial Contributions to Cultural Studies). Berlin: Weidler Verlag, 2017 (in print).


Interview with the participatings artists (German)
Performance Dates
  • 14 March 2018 | DOCK 11 Theater, Berlin – premiere with an introduction at 6pm and a post-performance discussion with the audience
  • 15 March 2018  | DOCK 11 Theater, Berlin – with an introduction at 6pm
  • 17 March 2018  | DOCK 11 Theater, Berlin
  • 26 & 27 April 2018 | Theaterhaus RUDI – within the frame of TANZWOCHE DRESDEN 2018 (TANZFONDS ERBE funding for guest performances)


Framework programme (for detailed information, see the programme announcement)

  • 12 March 2018 | Alexanderplatz, Berlin
    Outdoor performance on Karin Waehner’s 92nd birthday with extracts from celui sans nom in the original version from 1990 (without music)
  • 15 March 2018 | DOCK 11 Theater
    Panel discussion “Kunst Migration Heimat” / “Art Migration Home” (Part 1)
  • 16 March 2018 | DOCK 11 Theater
    Panel discussion “Kunst Migration Heimat” / “Art Migration Home” (Part 2)
  • 17 March 018 | DOCK 11 Theater
    Lecture by the dance expert and editor Josephine Fenger (Berlin): 
”Karin W..….er? Die Tanzvermittlerin/ La passeuse de danse” – Biografische Einführung mit Textpassagen aus Briefen von Karin Waehner und Mary Wigman / “Karin W..….ho? The Transmitter of Dance/ La Passeuse de danse” – Biographical Introduction with Text Passages from Letters from Karin Waehner and Mary Wigman
  • 17 March 2018 | DOCK 11
    Panel discussion “Geschichte(n) erben?” / “Inheriting history/histories” in co-operation with the gft WORKSHOP-FESTIVAL
  • In Cooperation with Gesellschaft für Tanzforschung (gtf):
    16 – 18 March 2018 | DOCK 11
    Workshop Festival with workshops, performances, talks



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