Trajal Harrell, Meg Stuart, Lisbeth Gruwez – this is the illustrious prelude to the performance programme of ImPulsTanz 2021: from the Akademietheater, it’s off to the Volkstheater for the long-awaited premiere of Meg Stuart / Damaged Goods’ new major work, CASCADE. As well, VIOLET (2010), one of the signature pieces by this most influential choreographer of her generation will be presented at Volkstheater – as will unforgettable [ImPulsTanz Classics] such as Maguy Marin’s Umwelt (2006 and 2009 at ImPulsTanz) and the world premiere of the new staging of Alain Platel’s Gardenia – 10 years later (2010 at ImPulsTanz), or No Paraderan by Marco Berrettini (2006 at ImPulsTanz) at the Akademietheater. An excitingly unusual version of the Goldberg Variations choreographed and danced by Michiel Vandevelde will be seen at the Odeon, and for the first time in Austria the great Maria Tembe from Mozambique will perform a solo at the Kasino am Schwarzenbergplatz. Furthermore, ImPulsTanz performances will seduce us at least to the Muth, the Leopold Museum and the mumok – Museum moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien.

Photocredit: Michiel Vandevelde / Platform-K & Philippe Thuriot
The Goldberg Variations © Tom Callemin

Trajal Harrell (US)

ACT – Art, Climate, Transition – this is the title of the framework programme within which Trajal Harrell’s new Catwalk piece Maggie the Cat was created in 2019. In the world of this brilliant choreographer, now based in Europe, who once set out from Georgia, USA, via New York to ultimately renew our notion of dance, “transition” translates into his re-encounter with the Deep South: Inspired by Maggie, the dazzling lead character in Tennessee Williams’ The Cat on the Hot Tin Roof (in the 1958 film, Liz Taylor), Harrell shifts the perspective away from the wealthy white family to the African-American servants. In an intimate stage setting that both reveals and deconstructs the social fabric of a segregated society, a fantastic ensemble dances and vogues in celebration of the South to a night-on-the-town soundtrack that is as at home in the nightclub as it is in the theatre.

Photocredit: Tristram Kento

Meg Stuart / Damaged Goods "CASCADE" © Martin Argyroglo

Meg Stuart / Damaged Goods (DE/BE/US)

CASCADE too is about change: Meg Stuart and seven dancers look for ways to resist the arrow of time. Meeting in structures of rhythmic complexity, they propel their bodies and imaginations into a new temporal space, envisioning a new earth and rebalancing inevitable outcomes. In a game of refusal and care, disruption becomes a driving force. Hovering at the edge of uncertainty, the dancers wonder what kind of dream they need to give up in order to keep dreaming, what kind of body they need to acquire to keep going. For CASCADE, Meg Stuart has gathered collaborators from all over the performing arts field: Set designer and theatre maker Philippe Quesne created a visionary set and Brendan Dougherty composed the live music.

Photocredit: Martin Argyroglo

Compagnie Maguy Marin "Umwelt"  © Hervé Deroo

Compagnie Maguy Marin (FR)

Already back in 2003, the great French choreographer Maguy Marin presented her exceptional piece with the evocative title Umwelt, whose radicality shook the foundations of performance to the core, plunging the audience deep into a turbulent vision with bodies wrestling with time and struggling with their sense of self amidst an unstable and chaotic environment. Today, nearly 20 years later, this vibrant choreographic reflection on power, religion, love and the peril of our world has lost none of its impact. To the mighty sound of three electric guitars, something like a kaleidoscope of ever new ephemeral beings unfolds through the bodies of the nine dancers, who will continue their quest to the end of all possibilities. Umwelt explores the future of our environment – in all its vulnerability and poetry.

Photocredit: Hervé Deroo

Dada Masilo "The Sacrifice" © John Hogg

Cie. Dada Masilo (ZA)

The internationally acclaimed young South African choreographer was already celebrated by Viennese audiences in 2014 (Swan Lake) and in 2017 (Giselle) at a completely sold-out Volkstheater. Now she returns to Vienna with The Sacrifice: with 15 dancers from her Johannesburg based company, she dedicates herself to Igor Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring. But instead of merely showing “how a chosen one dances herself to death” (Masilo), the highly committed choreographer is concerned with more. Masilo weaves together the rhythmically complex, expressive vocabulary of Tswana dance from Botswana, where her roots lie, with highly dynamic elements from contemporary dance and ballet. A magnificent South African musical trio live on stage – master percussionist Tlale Makhene, violinist Leroy Mapholo and singer and vocalist Ann Masina – completes this new milestone of dance.

Photocredit: John Hogg

Wim Vandekeybus / Ultima Vez "TRACES" © Danny Willems

Wim Vandekeybus / Ultima Vez (BE)

In his new work TRACES, Wim Vandekeybus follows the traces he has left and returns to the impulsive, immediate energy of his first works. He does so today with heightened attention to the increasingly complex and chaotic reality of our bodies. The result is the rediscovery of a vitality as powerful as it is vulnerable in a world of technological and ecological (and now pandemic) threats. TRACES takes us to the primeval forests of the Carpathians, this untouched wilderness in the heart of Europe with its unique plant and animal populations. Together with eleven dancers and to music composed by Trixie Whitley, Marc Ribot, Shahzad Ismaily, Ben Perowsky and Daniel Mintseris, Wim Vandekeybus takes us on a timeless and highly topical search for an overwhelmingly repressed nature.

Photocredit: Danny Willems

Van Laecke, Platel, Prengels – NTGent & les ballets C de la B "Gardenia – 10 years later" © Luk Monsaert

Frank Van Laecke, Alain Platel, Steven Prengels – NTGent & les ballets C de la B (BE)

Inspired by Sonia Herman Dolz’ documentary Yo soy así, in which the closing down of the La Bodega Bohemia club in Barcelona offers insights into the lives of a group of aging transformistas, Gardenia is created by directors Frank Van Laecke and Alain Platel together with composer Steven Prengels in 2010. This most intimate piece about hope and lost illusions delves deep into the lives of seven remarkable people, accompanied by a “young man” and a “real” woman – the famous actress Vanessa Van Durme. It is the birth, in the words of the critics, of an immensely touching great moment of theatre. After over 200 performances worldwide, the protagonists were beautifully portrayed in the award-winning documentary Before the Last Curtain. Now, 10 years later, the cast of eight survivors is reunited in Gardenia – 10 years later. What unites them are the traces their lives left in their souls and the irrepressible will to shine and conquer the stage once again – knowing that the price is incredibly high. Even today.

Photocredit: Luk Monsaert

Akram Khan Company "Outwitting the Devil" © Jean-Louis Fernandez

Akram Khan Company (UK)

In 2001, as a very young man, Akram Khan was celebrated in Vienna with his first solo Rush as part of the [8:tension] Young Choreographers’ Series. Today, the artist, who was awarded Choreographer of the Year 2020 by tanz magazine for Outwitting the Devil, remarks: “I have awakened to a new way of dancing. That is to dance my ideas through the bodies of others, including older dancers, who carry their histories and complex emotional experiences within them. But what remains unchanged is my passion for exploring old and new myths in the context of our times.” Hence, the plot is inspired by a chapter from the Babylonian epic of Gilgamesh, discovered only in 2011, about the brutal destruction of a vast cedar forest, home to wild creatures and spirits. This angers the gods, who bitterly punish the young king. For this, Khan brings together a fantastic ensemble spanning continents, generations and dance styles (including dance legend Dominique Petit). Outwitting the Devil – a choreographic hymn to diversity and a disturbing, brilliantly danced version of this “world’s first environmental poem” that could hardly be more on time.

Photocredit: Jean-Louis Fernandez

Geumhyung Jeong (KR) - Spa & beauty © Tae Hwan Kim

Geumhyung Jeong (KR)

The at the same time tender and disturbing films, sculptures, installations, and performances of the South Korean artist Geumhyung Jeong are often poetic studies of a kind of animism paired with robotic technology. Viennese audiences will have been fascinated by her hilarious lecture-performance Oil Pressure Vibrator, shown in 2014 as part of [8:tension], about her affair with a (real) excavator as her object of desire. Since then, her career has taken off enormously – with award-winning shows from Seoul and Basel up to New York. At the Leopold Museum in 2021, three of her exhibitions with performances – Homemade RC Toy, REHAB TRAINING and Spa & Beauty will be presented over three weeks. On stage there will be a reunion with the dazzling character in love with the excavator as well as an encounter with the Austrian premiere of one of her early works, 7Ways.

Photocredit: Tae Hwan Kim

mumok – Museum moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien: Sergiu Matis (DE/RO)

Amidst a fantastic soundscape of bird calls, cries and songs, three magnificent performers tell, sing and dance the stories of these species. The surprising sound is based on recordings of extinct and endangered bird species from the archives of the Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the Xeno Canto Foundation. Thoroughly researched scientific narratives are interwoven with myths, folk songs and dances are brought to life. Romanian dancer and choreographer Sergiu Matis, who started his career with Sasha Waltz amongst others, considers Extinction Room (Hopeless.) not least as an engaged exploration of our Western understanding of nature and its representation in artistic and cultural works, at a time when climate scientists give us every reason to panic.

Photocredit: Dieter Hartwig

[8:tension] Young Choreographers’ Series: Astrit Ismaili (NL/XK)

Astrit Ismaili, queer visual arts shooting star of the Kosovar and meanwhile international scene, created together with Magdalene Mitterhoffer and Ivan Cheng the pop operetta MISS: a (r)evolutionary musical for three performers. From the evolution of plants about 100 million years ago to the revolutions of 1989 ff., the three characters embody something like a human-non-human panorama of creativity: “First Flower” sings of the evolution of flowering plants and their new sexuality that will revolutionize the ecosystem. “Cicciolina” goes though the transition from porn to pop star and finally to politician and a member of the Italian Parliament. And “Miss Kosovo” is a fictional character with autobiographical features. She sings about the Kosovo war, the reconfiguration of Yugoslav borders, the construction of new national identities, about resistance and the struggle for freedom.

Photocredit: Alwin Poiana



Design: CIN CIN Vienna / Photos: Ulrich Zinell / Performer: DaDa JV / 3D Make Up: Ines Alpha

Workshop catalogue available for download

For professionals, beginners and dance enthusiasts: all workshops and research projects are included in our new catalogue. DOWNLOAD

© Maja Preckel


Fashionable goodies of the last festivals are available HERE

© Karolin Miernik


Everything about our previous festivals you find HERE

Public Moves 2020 ©


Sneak previews of our current performances or sweet memories of our workshops and past festival events can be watched HERE.

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Date: 21.04.2021, 03:57 | Link:
© ImPulsTanz - Vienna International Dance Festival