Interview with Ludger Orlok (Tanzfabrik Berlin)
Interview with Ludger Orlok (Tanzfabrik Berlin)

The concept of the curator has become in recent years more and more influential. Therefore, apap decided to put more focus on the curators involved in the network and entice a discussion about their views on the role of contemporary performance in art, society and economy.
We already talked with Sven Åge Birkeland, artistic director of BIT Teatergarasjen and Barbara Boninsegna, artistic director of Centrale Fies in Dro / Italy about this topic. In terms of Performing New Europe we are continuing the short Q&A with Angela Glechner, artistic director of SZENE salzburg / Austria and with Omar Rajeh and Mia Habis, artistic directors of our associated partner Maqamat/Beit El Raqs and BIPOD Festival in Lebanon, Beirut.

This time Ludger Orlok,  artistic director of Tanzfabrik Berlin / Germnany answers the questions.
Tanzfabrik Berlin works as an internationally known centre on themes and issues of Contemporary Dance since 40 years. As a production and performance venue as well as a school for contemporary dance techniques, with studios in Tanzfabrik/Kreuzberg and additional spaces in Tanzfabrik/Wedding with the apap production studio Berlin: a remarkable unit open to host apap artists for residencies and all different formats of presentation.
This year Tanzfabrik Berlin celebrates 40 years of activity marked by several transformations and one call that never changed: supporting, advocating and developing contemporary dance in Berlin. According to the theme »Remembering the Future« it’s an invitation to not have a nostalgic look on this rich history, but to build on it imagining a different tomorrow.

As a performing arts curator, what do you feel the role of contemporary performance is nowadays in art, society and economy?

As I work in the field of contemporary dance I relate more to that form of art in performance and to the choreographic art. Contemporary dance and choreography are questioning our relation to each other and to the world, experimenting with techniques and inventing methods how to do so and what it does to us. As „experts for the relational“ this form or art offers a wide range of possibilities. It has an enormous potential since in times of social media and algorithms questions of how to connect with each other. Questions of the Me, the You and the Us are not trained in the daily life and in relation to what we do not know or may be intererested in.
On the other and more banal side the english speaking artist communities are maybe accessible „only“ for English-speaking people but oftentimes also accessible for everybody.

How does the context of Performing New Europe and Tanzfabrik with the apap studios produce an added value and impact for the apap network?

The apap production studio is located on one side on a campus with different partners and a University with 70 students, free-lance artists and offices for artists and other structures working in the field of contemporary dance.
The studio offers space and time within an area in Berlin Wedding which is not yet gentrified but shaped by working class people with roots from the arabic but also turkish world. Artists being guests in the studio have to relate to that but also have the possibility to use the calmness of the big space to reflect. And time for reflection is the one necessary thing before a constructive action.

How do you feel audiences should engage with contemporary performance?

When experiencing contemporary performances it is often seen that expectations make it not possible to perceive in an innocent way, driven from the curiosity about the unkown. Relating to the me and the you and the other contemporary performance and dealing with the audiences, one could use this art form as an exercise to train their own curiosity and impartiality.

Under the title „Remembering the Future“ Tanzfabrik Berlin - the pioneering project from the 1970s - celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. How does the title relate to the beginnings and events of this year?

Our motto „Remembering the Future“ was created out of the desire not to stay in the historising moment or even glorification of the past but to think in another way, maybe more like Donna Haraways notion about the force of the present for a better future. Staying with the trouble means in that sense to find ways relating and embracing the past as well maybe even without having experienced that like the young generation relating with calmness to the now and to think and create tools for the living together in the future.

Short Biography Ludger Orlok

Ludger Orlok was born in 1965. He is trained as a gardener, studied medicine, holds a BA sc Psychology and is educated as a dancer. He has worked at various German state and municipal theaters as a choreographer as well as a dancer and performer with Peter Zadek, Companie C. de la B., Lynda Geaudreau, Katja Wachter, Lenz Rifranzioni and Ralf Jaroschinski, amongst others. He conducted work residencies in New York and Italy and was a guest professor at the Korean National University of Arts in Seoul. Orlok has conducted further training in cultural management, social competence and multimedia work. He has worked since 2000 as project manager for event series at Tanzfabrik Berlin as well as the biennial Tanznacht Berin and "Berliner Ermittlungen". He has worked on the boards of Tanztendenz Munich, ZTBerlin e.V. and as the artistic director of Tanzfabrik since 2007 as well as the director of artistic projects and project development at Tanzfabrik and for the European network APAP (Advanced Performing Arts Project) within this context. He has initiated exchange projects with artists in South Africa (Cross Currents), South Korea, Serbia and Bulgaria. He has been a jury member for the International Contemporary Dance Festival in Seoul for the years 2011, 2012 and 2013, has given speeches for the Mercedes Benz Foundation, Hanguk Performing Arts Center, Seoul; Szin Szin Dance Education, China 2011/2012 and has worked as a consultant for the Movimentos Festival, Autostadt Wolfsburg. This year he was guest of honour at Artisthouse Lukas in Ahrenshoop.

Jubilee Highlights Tanzfabrik Berlin

apap production studio Berlin