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“Valeska, bitch-witch, transformation, Hexe…” After a semester with the choreographer Meg Stuart, rather than standing behind the desks as researchers, the students of Tanzwissenschaft Department of Freie Universitaet Berlin shifted their positions and performed Valeska Gert on moving stages in the huge room facing the famed Brandenburger Tor – a space that Gert would love to experience but also heartedly hate as Stuart mentioned in the artist talk.

Two Valeskas simultaneously whisper in the ear of another Valeska – reminiscent of the game hearsay –  and that Valeska speaks out loud a mixture of what she is capable of hearing out of the stutters; another Valeska annoyingly smiles by showing all her teeth, when the other Valeska dances in a way that would drag Valeska Gert’s movements into our present; other Valeskas walk around as waitresses with trays serving videos of Valeska Gert on iPhones, despite the quite puzzled audience (performance has broken the 4th Wall long time ago, but could the audience?) ; in the meantime Valeska assembles a tent just before when all Valeskas gather for loud guffaws  (as if she were a bitch-witch)!

Inevitably, the transtemporality of Stuart’s opus and previous moments from her choreographies came into existence – Blanket Lady knocked the door as, say, The Tent Lady and the runway in Sketches/Notebooks said hello – and (unfortunately) the researcher-performers almost wore the movement vocabulary of Stuart’s. Well, no doubt, Valeska Gert’s chic transgression transferred through the subtly punk stage-assamblage.

Meg Stuart and Tanzwissenschaft Students of FU Berlin: Valeska’s Blind Date. 08.02.2017, Akademie der Künste, Berlin.

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