We mentioned before about the series of interviews that Diego Agulló conducted in 2016 with various people connected to dance, choreography, movement, and performance, in Berlin and nearby.
As part of that series, Diego also talked to Stephanie Maher, in the valley at Ponderosa, about all kinds of questions related to community, art, exploration, decision-making, personal beliefs, and more.
Stephanie is one of the facilitators — alongside Peter Pleyer and Maria F. Scaroni — of the second module of P.O.R.C.H., in August — the P.O.R.C.H. Performance and Choreographic Synthesis Module. And, she will also be one of the teachers in the first P.O.R.C.H. module, in June — the P.O.R.C.H. Improvisation and Training Module, facilitated by Kathleen Hermesdorf.
There are a couple of remaining places available for both modules (and for the full-season immersion of the P.O.R.C.H. Summer Package), so if you’re curious about some of the sorts of ideas that Steph is talking about here — and much more besides — then send along a CV and a letter of interest, and jump on in.
The full interview is right here, and it’s totally fascinating. 🌺
One of the most memorable performances that ever happened at Ponderosa — and one of the most serendipitously-timed — was the performance, with improvised elements, Songs of Innocence and Experience, which was presented outdoors in 2011 by the group of participants in Kathleen Hermesdorf’s 2011 workshop.
Over the course of the twenty minutes that the piece ran, the weather changed — dramatically. And so, what began as an outdoor collective performance in the summer sunshine finished with a soaked-to-the-bone group — still committed to carrying through their work — as the rain poured, the wind whipped, the thunder bellowed, and, occasionally, the lightning cracked around their heads.
The documentation of the full piece is embedded here below. It is not just fascinating viewing, but it also gives an idea of the kinds of ideas that Kathleen and the group were working with — and if you’re interested in similar improvisatory craziness, and explorations of articulation and agency, form and function, materiality and imagination, then take a look at the details of Kathleen’s upcoming workshop, this summer, Corpo-reality, which will be happening over two weeks from June 4. to 8., and 11. to 15., this summer. You might not end up performing in the middle of a thunderstorm, but who knows? Crazier things have happened here...
Songs of Innocence and Experience, Kathleen Hermesdorf and group, 2011
Empathix: Bending Binaries, Bodies, and Building Bridges is a workshop, facilitated by queer movers of colour, which will dig into serious physical research in togetherness, play, love, visibility, coexistence, trust, empathy, and more.
Let’s have all the details, at a glance:
Empathix: Bending Binaries, Bodies and Building Bridges — with Sarra Bouars and Kristianne Salcines
Facilitators Sarra Bouars and Kristianne Salcines will structure Empathix around a series of movement practices and related discussions. As they describe it:
“We will be doing everything together for each other. There will be facilitated discussions around participants’ experiences to build trust and intimacy, which we hope will allow us to work towards a community. Everyday, we will begin with breathing together, practicing qigong, taiji, and meditation practice, then leading to physical exercises and practices that focuses on play, love, visibility, coexistence, trust, empathy and serious sweaty beautifully-ugly inducing moving. Come join us to sweat and heal together.”
Some of the driving questions that have motivated Sarra and Kristianne’s work with Empathix include:
Read more about it all in the full description of Empathix, on our full program page.
The work that has led to the presentation of Empathix emerged in part out of the experiences of Queeries into Collective Feminisms, the residency that occurred at Ponderosa (with related showings in Ausland Berlin) in 2016.
And maybe, just maybe, you’ll get to be able to learn how to sashay down a Berlin street in true empathix style.
Ok, first things first — we have a new logo! Check it out!
It was designed by Gabi Altevers, the long-time designer of Ponderosa flyers, posters, and other visual representations, and it has lots of pink bubbles — a variable amount, depending on what mood we’re in — and we like to think of them as representing all of the various interlocking entities, and parts, and groups, and people, and things, that make it possible for Ponderosa to exist.
And the first use of the new logo is on the brand-new, freshly-printed flyer for the upcoming 2018 season:
What’s that? You wanna see the rear side as well? Ok then:
And to launch the new logo, and the new flyer, and the new tote bags with the new logo, and the pink cocktails, and all the other new things, we had our launch party, at Vétomat, last night. All our heads are still sore. But, ever mindful of our documentarian duties, here are some photo and video reports from the front lines!
And so! Now that everything is all launched — and is freshly flying, through perfumed clouds, on wings of gossamer purity — perhaps now might be the perfect moment for you to peruse our full program, and have a think about paying us a visit sometime in the upcoming months. Come out and get pink and bubbly.
It’s April now, and the summery climes of August might seem like they’re a million miles away, but they’re coming our way, soon — and with them, the Ponderosa Tanzland Festival!
And, as part of the kaleidoscopic smorgasbord of performative prisms presented by the festival, there will be workshops. To be more exact, there will be three interlocking workshops, facilitated by Benoît Lachambre, Frederic Gies, and Robert Steijn and Ricardo Rubio — all vastly experienced teachers, all offering a fascinatingly diverse array of particpatory possibilities.
Let’s get to the all-important details right away:
All three of these workshops will be delving far into fascinating encounters with bodily awareness, performative explorations, and somatic encounters — and we wanted to give a small glimpse into some of the recent work and thoughts of these teachers and practitioners. Let’s jump in...
Robert Steijn and Ricardo Rubio have developed a far-reaching, comprehensive collaboration which often explores elements of trust and intimacy. As they describe it:
“Ricardo Rubio and Robert Steijn found each other in a poetic universe in which silence coexists with the rhythm of life, seriousness finds its alter ego in humor, and nature-culture is questioned from an intimate perspective. They ask themselves if they can redefine male intimacy, detached from the imprint of our cultural upbringings, and if they can redefine tenderness as another way of thinking, behaving, and perceiving reality.”
One of the recent outcomes of this work is their piece Prelude on Love (A research into male intimacy and tenderness). The trailer below gives a sense of the work. It overlaps with the themes of their workshop, which they describe, in part, by saying: “we try to practise tenderness in everything we do, working from the embracing quality of the heart — and we will investigate how to provoke the magic to happen in what we do.”
Benoît Lachambre is returning to Ponderosa in 2018, after last year’s epic month-long workshop. This year, he will be continuing his work exploring the materialisation of presence and relational memory.
Benoît’s work often involves a heightened awareness of the dynamics of fluids, aiming to reconnect with the innermost sensations of the body.
Much of the recent documentation of these approaches is online in French only — such as this interview, below, that Benoît undertook with Corpuscle Danse.
The work of Frederic Gies has often considered the parallels between the ancient, corporeal roots of all dance and movement, and the automated pulse of contemporary techno and club culture. His work from 2016, Dance is Ancient, is one of the works that has investigated this paradoxical overlap. There are longer excerpts from the work available on Frederic’s Vimeo page, and the trailer is seventeen seconds of joyous juxtaposition.
All three of these workshops promise to be transformative encounters, and we’re very much hoping that we’ll be able to see you out here for one — or all — of these events. You can sign up to participate in any and all of them right here. And if you have any questions or comments that you’d like to let us know about, please get in touch. Hopefully we’ll see you out here in the summer!
In 2016, Diego Agulló conducted a series of interviews with dance-related artists and practitioners in Berlin, for a project called Measuring the Temperature of Dance in Berlin. One of these interviews was with Peter Pleyer, and it happened in the garden at Ponderosa, on a glorious summer day.
Peter and Diego discussed what it means to be working with dance in Berlin, how community and artistic commitment overlap, what to do with dreams and visions, and much more.
Peter’s upcoming workshop at Ponderosa, Magical Release Ensemble (25.–29. June), will be an investigation of some of the starting-points outlined in this talk. The early-bird deadline for booking a place is 18. May, and Peter describes it, in part, as being grounded in what is left half-hidden in considering dance history.
As he explains, the workshop bases itself on “the foundation laid out by fierce and magical women and queer men in dance-history, for us to grow into unknown shapes and stories — individuals that are not afraid of their differences, and who are willing to risk to share themselves physically in the dance.”
Take a look at the full details, and check out the interview below.
Hello, dear amazing members of the Ponderosa Verein! (And everyone else!)
This is a quick update for you all — which some of you will have already received by email — about Ponderosa, about your membership of the Ponderosa non-profit association, and about our future dreams. :)
It is only through having an active membership that it is possible to keep Ponderosa moving forwards, growing, exploring our future artistic and social possibilities in all their technicolour strangeness. You make it all possible!
Ok, and now the practical details — here are all of the ways that you can update your membership:
A note on membership fees:
In 2017, as part of our call-for-members campaign, we asked for an annual membership fee of €36. This year, we are asking for a contribution of €50 — which is the total that all newly-joining members will pay, and which is accompanied by our return gift of our hand-made new free cotton tote bags.
If any member would prefer to continue paying €36 per year, and not €50, this is an option that we can provide for these members. However, in this case, we cannot also additionally provide a gift. If you would prefer to keep paying €36 per year, and not €50, please contact us and we can arrange the necessary steps directly with you.
Why are we asking for €50? This is for a couple of different reasons.
The first one is that we want to offer the possibility of different tiers of support, starting at €5 per year for basic support, and then also offering €50 per year for full membership, €500 per year for those fortunate souls who can afford a deeper commitment, and €5000 per year for all the local millionaires. We will have more information about these tiers of support online soon, and we’ll be posting more about them then.
The second one is that we want to offer a membership that broadly corresponds with the equivalent fees proposed by similar Verein organisations. In general, €50 per year is a common and widespread total for membership fees, and we would like to align our longer-term planning with the conventions followed by similar organisations.
Thirdly, we ask for this new total in order to be able to do more things at Ponderosa — we want to be able to present a more diverse and widespread array of teachers, facilitators, and artists, we want to allow for the place to be more accessible while also remaining sustainable, and we want to ensure that there will be plenty of amazing and cool things happening here in a viable and ongoing way. Your support makes this possible!
On Saturday, April 7., the much-fabled Poodle Bar returns to Berlin, to turn a new page in the Ponderosa story, at Vétomat, in Friedrichshain, Berlin.
This will be a launch event for the whole Ponderosa 2018 program — and the brand-new Ponderosa logo! And also, we will launch the Ponderosa 2018 membership call — now with super-cool free hand-made screen-printed cotton tote bags! And that, of course, is not all — there will be performances, there will be DJs, there will be laughing, and singing, and revelry, and merrymaking until the wee small hours.
Here are all the vital details:
Ponderosa 2018 Launch — Poodle Bar #17
Yes, Berlin’s poppiest pop-up bar will host Stolzenhagen’s floppiest superstars, at Vétomat in Friedrichshain, for a one-night-only cataclysm of transformation — from old to new, from winter to spring, from purple to pink.
Why, you say? Well. So much to tell. We will be launching the whole Ponderosa 2018 program — and the brand-new Ponderosa logo! And also, we will launch the Ponderosa 2018 membership call — now with super-cool free hand-made screen-printed cotton tote bags!
And that, of course, is not all — there will be performances, there will be DJs, there will be laughing, and singing, and revelry, and merrymaking until the wee small hours.
With performances and offerings from:
…and a special open-mic moment for spontaneous contributions.
Remember, also, that you can become a member of the Ponderosa e.V., or renew your membership, right here on-the-spot — and get your personal super-cool tote bag right away! So bring your purse with you and look for us with a pile of bags...
All accompanied by effervescent sounds from our crack team of beat scientists — DJ Hug, DJ Fabrikant, and DJ Modh Coinníollach.
The doors open at 7pm, with performances from 9pm, and DJs and party until late.
Some words of poetic context, from Stephanie Maher:
A big pink bubble
The beginning of the end?
The end of the beginning?
Dead end ponderosa?
live on switches & butches ?
shining the keys?
launching that old rocket?
Reclaiming her vegan pagan sprouts?
ponderosa claims her space in the oasis of the Odertal valley
otherwise known as stolzenhagen----
a place where we still dance
help us celebrate the 2018 season and launch our new look
by refining our space.
ponderosa is the seed of everything
you need us and we need you!
About the Poodle Bar
Poodle Bar is a pop up bar, art(ist) space, dance floor, DIY disco, and instant gallery, happening in Berlin on no set schedule.
This event is presented by both Ponderosa and the Poodle Bar — this event will be Poodle Bar #17.
Poodle Bar is a meeting space to share practices and artistic work, as well as dances, songs, new experiments and culinary fantasies. Poodle Bar has been in slumbering hiatus since early 2017, but it returns to life now in order to give a little whoosh to Ponderosa’s 2018 plans.
If you’re curious to dig deeper, take a look at more here.
Vétomat is a project space in Friedrichshain, Berlin. It’s a little bit difficult to summarise neatly (a characteristic that it shares with Ponderosa).
One of the Vétomat team, Alex Upatov, made a short introductory video about Vétomat, which is on their website in both German and English — take a look. Likewise, the video that they made to introduce their crowdfunding campaign last year also gives a great overview — it’s here below.
In short, though, Vétomat is a place for film, music, art, and much more (and it is one of those stubborn corners of independent culture that still makes Berlin such an occasionally amazing and mind-blowing city, despite all the gentrification and churn). ❤️
This year, Color Block will be returning to Ponderosa for its third annual iteration. This unique event creates a space held by and for people of color — to work and play and experiment around ideas of performance, improvisation, and activism. Color Block invites you to move and dance, to discuss and examine, to explore possibilities. Joy Mariama Smith and Hana Tefrati will be proposing strategies for resistance, and support, and practice, and healing.
And this year, in the run-up to the start of Color Block, there will be two further events — the Freedom|Moves Symposium (hosted by Thomas F. DeFrantz, Jaamil Kosoko, and Jennifer Polins, with Joy Mariama Smith and special guests), and the Freedom to Move Caucus, hosted by Joy Mariama Smith. All three events are happening from 15. to 29. June. (15.–17. Jun: Freedom|Moves Symposium; 18.–22. Jun: Freedom to Move Caucus; 24.–29. Jun: Color Block).
The video that Chani Bockwinkel created, last year, gives a sense of the 2017 Color Block event at Ponderosa — it hopefully gives a taste of what can await you in 2018.
Before Color Block, the Freedom|Moves Symposium will be a weekend of movement, discussion, and collaboration, exploring the possibilities of the idea of freedom — the elusive freedom of dancing, the implications of freedom as it applies to black, queer, mixed, trans, visible, invisible, cis-, bi mutabilities, and beyond. Take a look at more here.
The Freedom to Move Caucus is a five-day event comprising talks, happenings, performances, screenings, experiments, workshops, and food, hosted by Ponderosa, and curated by Joy Mariama Smith, with guest mediators Jen Polins and Kathleen Hermesdorf. It presents opportunities to engage with this theme, and how it relates to various disciplines such as improvisation, porn, ritual, storytelling, intersectional feminism, self-defense, and beyond. Read more about it all right here.
All three of these upcoming events are bound to dig deep, to ask incisive questions, to allow new possibilities. Now is the time to start planning to participate — the early-bird rates are available until May 11., and the events will be filling up quick. Let us know if you have any questions, and hopefully see you here in June!
Here are some words from Stephanie Maher and Peter Pleyer about the second P.O.R.C.H. module in 2018 – the P.O.R.C.H. Performance and Choreographic Synthesis Module, coming our way in August.
Of course, it can be a little bit difficult to describe everything that P.O.R.C.H. encompasses in just a short introduction – so instead, we didn’t try to give an outline, but more a sort of fragmentary series of connected thoughts about the upcoming module. Possibly like some of how P.O.R.C.H. itself can be on occasion! Take a look.
And, also! If you are thinking about possibly coming to Ponderosa to be a participant in P.O.R.C.H. this summer, remember that you are not limited to just one of the two modules. If you want to come for the whole summer long, you can do that too! It can be a comprehensive, all-summer-long deep dive into your own artistic potential and creative capacities. If you have any questions about it, please let us know, and hopefully see you here soon...
The Ponderosa Blog is an ongoing experiment in putting one foot in front of the other, and one word after another, to transfer ideas in ones and zeroes to minds around the world and beyond. A rumble from a ruined speaker to maybe bring the gov’t. down, one sorry heart at a time. xo