The film recording shows the performance from 30 September 2017 at Sophiensaele Berlin


Reproduction of Sleep Walkers (aka Zoo Mantras) by Simone Forti

The choreographer, visual artist and author Simone Forti, who was born in Florence in 1935 and grew up in the USA, is a central protagonist in American post-modern dance. As co-founder of the legendary Judson Church Dance Theater, which in the 1960s conducted cross-disciplinary experiments with radical new and open cross-disciplinary working methods, and which still has an enormous influence on the international dance scene, Forti was continuously looking for her way between and with different forms of artistic expression.

Fascinated by animal movement behaviour, in the late 1960s she began developing a series of performances in which she investigated the possible use of animal movements in choreography. She was above all interested in integrating the instinct-driven behaviour of zoo animals in her dance work.

The artist has offered to convey her 1968 piece Sleep Walkers (aka Zoo Mantras), a signature piece of animal choreography, to the Berlin-based choreographer Martin Nachbar, who intended to use his reproduction of this key work to provide a methodical and historical foundation for the current examination of the relationship between humans and animals in contemporary choreography. Antonia Baehr, Miriam Jakob, Krõõt Juurak and David Weber-Krebs were being invited to take part in an accompanying programme of events, and they were working with Nachbar to develop a laboratory on comparative animal choreography. The French choreographer and improviser Claire Filmon – a close associate of Simon Forti – was also involved in the work process throughout the entire duration of the project. All participants were given carte blanche to invite guests from the academic world who have made a considerable contribution to their artistic work to a public discussion. Master classes with the Inter-University Centre for Dance Berlin and Tanzfabrik Berlin were realised in order to make Forti’s work and the examination of animal choreography effective also in the future.

The entire research process as well as the laboratory work was documented on an on-going basis and the resulting material (photos, videos, reports, commentaries, etc.) will be made available in the long-term to a wide audience on the dedicated website even after the project has ended.

Detailed programme
Interview with Martin Nachbar & Claire Filmon

In the interview, Martin Nachbar and Claire Filmon talk about Simone Forti's importance for German dance history and about their work together to restage Sleep Walkers.

Martin Nachbar

is a choreographer in the fields of contemporary dance and performance. He is one of the 50 dance artists active in Germany listed by the Goethe Institut. Since graduating from the SNDO in Amsterdam in 1996, he has worked for various companies and choreographers as a dancer and performer. Among others, he was a founding member of the collective B.D.C, with whom he developed the piece affects/rework – a reconstruction of Dore Hoyer’s Affectos Humanos (1962). Nachbar has choreographed more than 20 pieces since 2004. In his piece Repeater, for instance, together with his 70-year-old father he rendered visible his family ties in and through movement on stage. His Animal Dances (2013) examine the relationality between human and animal. Martin regularly writes and publishes on his works. He also regularly teaches at institutions such as PARTS Brussels, SNDO Amsterdam, SEAD Salzburg, HZT Berlin, TRINITY LABAN London or FU Berlin.

Claire Filmon

is a dancer, improviser, dance pedagogue and artistic director of the Asphodèle Dankes Envol in Paris. She has studied Horton technique with Bella Lewitzky, improvisation with Anna Halprin and has collaborated with the Trisha Brown Dance Company. Filmon has developed her own improvisations since 1995, and has been involved in collaborations with Barre Philips, Julien Hamilton, Nancy Stark Smith and Lisa Nelson, among others. She has worked in close collaboration with Simone Forti on many occasions. She teaches internationally at dance institutions and festivals in France, Switzerland, Korea, Japan and the United States.


Project documentation

The project documentation offers insights into the rehearsal work for the reproduction of Zoo Mantras with Simone Forti and also provides information about the supplementary programme for the Tierforme/l/n project.

Performance Dates
  • 21 July 2017 | FFT Düsseldorf (Juta) – premiere
  • 29 September 2017| Sophiensaele Berlin – Animal Dances / Sleep Walkers
  • 30 September 2017 | Sophiensaele Berlin – Open Lab / Striding Crawling & Sleep Walkers
  • 1 October 2017 | Sophiensaele Berlin – Animal Talks
  • 1 October 2017 | Sophiensaele Berlin – TIERFORME/L/N impro

Not open to the public:

  • 19 & 20 July 2017 | FFT Düsseldorf –  Masterclass
  • 25 – 30 September 2017 | Sophiensaele Berlin – Masterclass
  • 25 – 29 September 2017 | Sophiensaele Berlin – Lab



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