the ease of observing
and doing a practice

rotating oneself
to see all
layers of existence

power of softness

one part as the whole
the whole as a particle

Text N°1


On Research, Hospitality and Practising with Tranquillity


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The Open Practice Sessions have a history that goes back almost twenty years now. This platform is motivated by the desire to give the Open Practice Sessions a time and a space other than that of the rehearsal spaces where they usually take place. It is an experimental encounter between a physical practice, a dance practice – something that necessarily belongs to the dynamic sphere of doing, experiencing, sensing and moving – and the more clearly defined and delimited space of the blank page, an attempt to translate and transform a practice through and into language, words and signs. In that sense this is also a reflection on the relationship between a practice and the language that produces, transmits, affects and documents it.

Reflecting the collective nature of the Open Practice Sessions, the editorial concept of this platform is a polyphonic interweaving of various voices: mine and Isabelle Schad’s in this text, the testimonies of other guest contributors in the rest of the publication and some impressions left by the participants after the sessions (see the rolling texts at the top of the page). In the spirit of the Open Practice Sessions, the act of documenting is to be understood as open and dynamic and will in future be enriched with new visions, materials, contributions and languages.

13. August 2019
Dear all,

For some time now I’ve been interested in researching spaces of contemplation within a practice around energetic principles where time and attention are given to freeing the inner self from jumping thoughts, psychological issues or personal matters. If we feel free in ourselves and in our movements we can more easily become an organisation, an organism, sculpting energies and movements without any purpose beyond the work itself. The upcoming Open Practice Sessions focus on body work based on principles from Zen related practices such as Zen aikido, Zen meditation and shiatsu. The work concentrates on continuous movement; on breathing and Ki (energy); the unity of body and spirit; understanding weight shift and axis rotation; on cellular consciousness; on relating body parts and organs to one another and to our centre of gravity, in our individual work, in pairs and in our work together as a group. We will also do some energy work with swords, which we will learn to hold and move with.

Unlike the Open Practice Sessions I’ve done in the past, I would like to dedicate the full three hours to training and movement research as such, without any further goal of producing choreographic materials. If research ideas for further pieces do arise, it will be through observing what happens and allowing the essence of our being to unfold.

Please bring clothes in shades of grey, green, blue (no stripes, no logos, no prints). The visual connection between us will promote our work on togetherness. There will be tatami mats in the space, offering a soft ground.

The sessions will take place at Wiesenburg-Halle in Berlin Wedding, close to the Humboldthain. The two sessions will last around three hours each, from 16:00 to 19:00 on 26 and 27 August 2019. You can come for one or both days. The sessions are free. It would be great if you could help to clear the space after the second session. This should be very quick if we all work together :-)

Please let me know if and when you would like to come so that I have an idea about the number of people to expect. Please contact me by email before 18 August at

Thanx a lot and warm greetings,

So how can a practice be documented? I asked myself this question while watching the most recent Open Practice Sessions, which were held at the Wiesenburg-Halle in Berlin in the late summer and autumn of 2019. The ontological friction and resistance that exists between dance and documentation seemed stronger than usual here, since the practice was not done to be seen or analysed; it was ‘practised’ for its own sake. The distance usually required to analyse things with any degree of objectivity didn’t seem entirely applicable. It felt paradoxical to write about this practice from a distance, without experiencing it, and so instead I consciously decided to put myself in the ambivalent position of being both inside and outside the practice, shifting between doing and documenting from a distance.

In both cases I became intrigued by language as a primary generator of the practice itself. While I was involved in the practice I was able to ‘feel’ the effect of language on my own body. While I was observing the practice I was able to visualize a progressive correspondence between the quality of the language and the body movements it engendered. Isabelle’s words accompany the Open Practice Sessions like a soft carpet of sound created by a sensitive, intuitive interweaving of pauses and silences that alternate with certain moments in which her guiding voice stimulates, triggers and suggests without directing or compelling.

Given the reciprocity of language and practice in the Open Practice Sessions, and thinking about the place where these two forms first met, it is necessary to take a step back from the dance floor and look for them in the emails that Isabelle sent out when she was inviting potential participants to join the sessions. It is here that the practice starts to crystallize and take shape, in the act of writing (and reading) these messages. These emails have been a feature of the Open Practice Sessions from the very beginning. They follow an almost ritualistic pattern. And while their content and focus may have changed over the years, they also reflect certain continuities and resonances.

Driven by a certain fascination with the founding myth of the Open Practice Sessions, I searched my email archive for the very first email I received from Isabelle.

11 April 2012
Dear all,

I’m happy to announce some more Saturday practice sessions, which I first ran at the Uferstudios a year ago. This time they’re at our new space at Wiesenburg, Wiesenstrasse 55, which we (Wiesen55 e.V. = a group of seven artists) renovated over the last few years. The sessions will be based on body practice (mainly around bmc / embryology) with some time for experimentation and research on ideas relating to my current work, which is concerned with notions such as:

an interest in looking into relationships between embryological processes and form, understanding foldings as transformation processes

an interest in looking into relationships between embryological processes and form, understanding foldings as transformation processes

pleasure in building those organisms out of a group experience (through practice)

crossing communities to become a community for the time spent together

a space for gathering and doing something together out of curiosity, learning desires, pleasure ...

The proposal is open to all HZT students, alumni, friends and colleagues from our scenes (feel free to forward this mail). Since the initiative is in co-operation with HZT, it is suggested that participants bring coaching papers, which I would sign at the end of each session. People from outside HZT will be asked to pay what they can. The same would apply for alumni.

Each session will run from 10:00 to 13:00 at the Wiesenburg-Halle. I’m attaching a map and a description of how to find it. Please come a bit early if you’re coming for the first time so you can call me in case you can’t find it. But it should be quite easy if you follow the description. The whole Wiesenburg complex (an old shelter for the homeless) is private, so please come directly to the hall as indicated in the description.

It would be cool to know who would like to come, so please send me a short message.
Hope to be dancing with you soon.


Back in 2012, when this email was written, the Open Practice Sessions still weren’t called ‘open’ yet. But I think it was precisely this quality of openness ante litteram that motivated me as a non-dancer to get involved, to participate. This openness was expressed on several levels: in the sentence ‘feel free to forward’, for example – a verbal gesture of radical hospitality that demonstrated a readiness to welcome an unspecified number of known, lesser known and potentially unknown people into your home; and in the concept of ‘practice’ itself, ontologically vague and thus open to multiple interpretations and applications. In my position as a curator (at the time I was working with Isabelle on a dance festival in Italy) this open invitation presented itself as an opportunity to familiarise myself with her work from a new and unusual perspective, to see backstage of the creative process, to gain some insight into the making of her work, to witness not just by watching (which is what I was used to) but by doing and experiencing.

For me, being part of the Open Practice Sessions was and still is comparable to visiting the studio of a visual artist: it gives you an intimate encounter with the creative process, with the tools, the instruments and the raw materials, and at a point when everything’s still in a state of potentiality. Attending the Open Practice Sessions is a very special experience that’s quite unlike any other process-oriented format.

Unlike an open rehearsal, where the process – however open it might be – is already influenced and guided by the idea of some final performance and the ghost of a future audience, the Open Practice Sessions are not produced for an audience, they are not frontal. In this sense they’re closer to the idea of a collective training or a workshop, though they’re not really comparable to that either, because the pedagogical framework and the boundaries between teacher and taught are not so obvious or clearly defined in the Open Practice Sessions. They are a space for collective ‘experimentation and research’ in an emergent and contingent community. The (bodily) knowledge, the energy, the visual power of the group has always been a precious source of inspiration, creative input and aesthetic and social enrichment for Isabelle’s research on movement and choreography.

It was probably during this group research on dance and somatic practices at the very first Open Practice Sessions, announced in the email above and held at the Wiesenburg-Halle, that the pillars of Isabelle’s pioneering work at the interface of these two fields were established, that the introspective substance of somatics was transferred to the outside world, where its social and aesthetic potential could unfold. When I ask Isabelle to recall her motivation for initiating the Open Practice Sessions, she stresses this urge to share:

I guess I started the Open Practice Sessions as a continuation of what we wanted to instigate with Praticable: a way of learning by sharing body practices for their own sake and not in ways that were purely product orientated. When I search my website for the words we used to define our project I find this paragraph:

Praticable proposes a specific model of working together between artists in the field of dance and choreography: it is a horizontal work structure, based on the sharing of body practices, which brings together research, learning processes, creation, production and distribution, multiplying circulations between them. This structure is the basis for the creation of performances that are signed by one or more participants of the project. These performances are grounded, in one way or another, in the exploration of body practices to approach representation. Praticable was created in 2005 by Alice Chauchat, Frédéric de Carlo, Frédéric Gies, Isabelle Schad and Odile Seit.

After several years practicing together we lost the sense of togetherness we’d had in that specific constellation, and each of us then followed our own pathway and process. I felt a strong wish to continue with some ideas about sharing in body work and research. After doing it in the framework of my group project Musik (Praticable) at HZT/Uferstudios on Saturday mornings, when studio 11 was often free, I organised similar sessions at Wiesenburg, where we introduced our own working space, a ruin that we turned into a fully equipped space between 2006 and 2010, roughly.

I still remember my first Open Practice Sessions at heute: VOLKSTANZEN, a project where I’d wanted to start doing research in a more open format. After that I worked on the group project DER BAU, as far as I remember. Then came Collective Jumps. The sessions were always extremely popular and really packed; sometimes I had to ask people not to come on both days so that people could alternate and everyone could ‘fit in’.

The longevity and the vitality of the Open Practice Sessions lie in the convergence of different interests and motivations: first the desire among members of the Berlin dance community, and of young dancers in particular, to meet Isabelle – a well-known choreographer who’d managed to make it on the tortuous paths of the independent dance scene – and get to know her work in an informal and familiar atmosphere. Then Isabelle’s own interest in using the Open Practice Sessions as a basis for research, for experimenting with new ideas and as a place for meeting new people and bodies, in ever new forms and constellations.

The Open Practice Sessions respond to a circular and autopoietic understanding of knowledge transmission, to the idea that new knowledge is produced and assimilated in the very process of transmitting knowledge. Interestingly, when I asked Isabelle how the Open Practice Sessions had developed over the years, she identified a significant recent change in the core meaning of this transmission:

I guess until the work Pieces and Elements the sessions were mostly connected to new productions or works, and for that I’d wanted to start a piece of research that would be open to the dance community. It was also a way of meeting and connecting with people. Basically I’d been waiting for people to find me, or the type of work I share, as a way to avoid auditions, which I never liked doing, in either role. After a while it became known in the scene that this was a way to meet me, and obviously many people still came with the idea of an ‘audition’ in mind, almost as though they were hidden auditions, which was right and wrong at the same time. Right because it was true; I was often looking for people. This was the case with VOLKSTANZEN or DER BAU for example. And wrong because that was not how I wanted those sessions to feel at all.

At the beginning of each session I would point out that I didn’t want it to feel like an audition, but it was really hard to stop that happening. In the last couple of years I’ve been trying to change that drastically. Separating the Open Practice Sessions from the production periods was crucial in order to be able to stick to the work itself and its essence. I think the failure of an application helped with this process: I was planning to do an Open Practice Session in the context of the next group work Reflection, then the HKF application failed. The Open Practice Sessions were happening anyway and it was very healthy to know there was no way to connect with anyone else other than by being there, because I had no ‘jobs’ to give to anyone. Now I’m really glad that the Open Practice Sessions changed and became even more special to everyone. It’s a much purer way of sharing the work, as training and practice, as things that we try out and as meetings on a human level.

Looking at the notes I made during the most recent Open Practice Sessions I find the phrase ‘practising with tranquillity’ and I recall that that was the prevailing feeling I sensed in the Wiesenburg-Halle on that occasion. The progressive process of being liberated from production mechanisms, from pressure and from the sense of the ‘hidden audition’ that Isabelle describes must be one reason for it. To do away with this conditioning is to eradicate the practice in the present moment and, at least partially, to participate in a way that goes beyond the specific roles that the ‘scene’ tends to give us, whether it’s choreographer, dancer, curator, dramaturg or performer.

The idea of being present in the moment is one of the pillars of meditation, and in recent times Isabelle’s research seems to have been more strongly motivated by an existential, almost spiritual urgency that penetrates her artistic research from a human and personal sphere. An intense practice of aikido, Zen and shiatsu in recent years has contributed a great deal to this shift. Movement principles from aikido concerning the shifting of weight in relation to gravity have been imported into her choreographic work and have become an important pillar in her research on movement. Precision, contemplative repetition, minimalism and simplicity are affiliated concepts that have come together with an understanding of technique as something far from mere formal execution. It seems that technique can only be fulfilled through the activation of an energy that comes from an inner attitude, from a deeper listening to and understanding of the body.

During the most recent Open Practice Sessions some time was spent learning how to hold swords and give each other massages according to shiatsu principles. While these exercises were being performed, and in order to evoke a certain quality of movement, Isabelle insisted on the word ‘coherence’ as something that appears

when it’s ‘right’ for someone, meaning not right or wrong in the intellectual sense, but when the movement or presence is most truthful and therefore also ‘true’ or ‘right’ in relation to the forces that exist. On our planet that force is gravity. The weight shift has a push–pull relationship. There is always one side of the body pushing, the other one pulling. These forces need to be understood and re-examined, but at the same time they’re the most ‘natural’ ones because they’re the ones that have to do with gravity.

This fascinating and perhaps utopian research on the essence of movement implies a concentrated and patient but also joyful and relaxed way of being with ourselves and others. This is what the Open Practice Sessions are about. They provide a protected and yet wide open space for practising with tranquillity.

Elena Basteri is a dance curator, writer and dramaturge based in Berlin.

Text N°2


Notes from 26/08/2019


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In August 2019, I had the chance to partake in one of Isabelle Schad's workshops entitled “OPS,” short for “Open Practice Session.” Isabelle is not the only choreographer using this term; in the same month in Berlin, for instance, her colleague Alice Chauchat offered an “Open Practice” prior to the premiere of her group performance “Ensembling.” But what does “Open” in “Open Practice Session” refer to, in the specific case of Isabelle's work? Is it the session that is “open,” open for everyone to join, accessible for professionals, amateurs, dance lovers of all kinds of backgrounds? Is it the practice that is “open,” open in a way that remains to be defined, or that defies definition, open in the way that it makes participants move, or the way that it makes them perceive, sense, experience? Perhaps, is a particular quality of the “open” not to be found with those who are engaging in the practice, but with those observing it?

If practice, these days, has become an influential factor in theatre, dance, and performance, this might be precisely due to some kind of promise of openness, a vague one perhaps, but a seductive and powerful one, powerful possibly to due and not despite its vagueness. This openness comes with different names: not only “OPS”, but also, to give one other example, “Extended Practices All Over”, which is the title of an initiative in Lisbon curated by Paula Caspão in 2019 and 2020. The openness of practice is open, then, to different denominations. Questions, however, do not only arise with regard to the possible names and meanings of openness, they also involve practice itself. What is practice, strictly speaking? What does practice signify, conceptually and genealogically, in theatre, dance, and performance from Europe and beyond? The term has become ubiquitous in artistic discourse, and yet the values, the senses, and forces of practice remain somewhat blurred, just like the openness that it is attached to. Can Isabelle's OPS help forge a possible understanding of practice?

In the following, I intend to trace, first of all, a rather remote, perhaps somewhat surprising meaning of openness in Isabelle's OPS; from there, I will risk a provisional definition of practice in its general composition. More specifically, I will focus, initially, on a particular spatial arrangement, which is the coming together of bodies in a circle, a part of Isabelle's practice that can reveal an openness of perception precisely for those who are not inside the circle. Surfacing at the border of the circle, at the spatial and literal edge or outside of Isabelle's practice, is a different mode of spectatorship, or indeed a mode of looking that is no longer spectatorial; through this way of seeing, practice shall become visible in one of its more fundamental dimensions. That said, I will not proceed by defining practice at the outset, instead I will treat it as a search word of kinds, a notion that will reveal its contours through a slow approximation.

In her invitation to the August Open Practice Session, Isabelle wrote that she intended to focus on “training and movement research as such, without any further goal of producing choreographic materials.“ Notice the specificity of Isabelle's choice of words: she did not imply that practice was incompatible with choreography, or the production of choreographic elements which might eventually be presented in the form of a performance. She only stated that, for this specific occasion, she preferred not to apply the aim of choreography to her practice. This declaration is noteworthy, because it is slightly, yet decisively different from a common assumption in contemporary artistic discourse, according to which practice and performance rather exclude each other. (At work in this latter rhetoric is often a prolongation of the critical economic debate of product versus process; practice, in this case, is summoned as the process that could undo the product-like position, the commodity status of a finished performance. Interestingly, in earlier iterations of the product versus process debate—in the neo-avant-gardes, but also in 1990s performance studies discourse—, performance was rather conceived of as the precise opposite of a product, it having been described, in its purest form, as a process without a trace. These days, the production circumstances of performance, the making of performance as a piece of work under strict economic guidelines has apparently made it that performance has lost its processual status, or at least the putative critical value of process. Instead, practice is now supposed to supersede performance as the more processual, the less economically affirmative, and therefore more open form of art, or un-form of art, for that matter. Unfortunately, such view obfuscates that practice, precisely in its processual quality as a typically continuous form of activity, is, to some extent, the symptom of an economy, which has itself become processual. This is why practice is not per se a critical instrument, but rather an instrument or a weapon that can be used for multiple purposes on the battle field of contemporary economy.)

In Isabelle's statement, performance, or the production and performance of a choreography, is not generally the opposite of practice, but a goal, a function, or a framework that can or cannot be aligned with practice. Practice and performance are then understood as different, yet not contradictory to each other, and it seems to be rather from this perspective that bits of a genealogy and concept of practice might successfully be mapped out—the openness of practice emerging perhaps from the very gaps that open up when practice and performance meet.

In the practice session that I was able to attend, practice and performance came together precisely in the form of a withdrawal of practice from performance, one though, in which practice still remained within the borders of the performance realm, or the performance space. Indeed, the question of practice and performance in Isabelle's OPS was a primarily a matter of space, at least on that one day in August.

The spatial constellation in question was formed at the very beginning of the session. We were in Wiesenburg Halle in Wedding, a studio space, whose floor was covered with green mats. Isabelle invited us, the 20 or so participants, to gather in a circle, sit down on the mats and face inwards. She then went on to start the day by guiding us through a number of exercises, tasks that focussed mostly on alerting our perceptual capacities and attuning ourselves to the energetic states within our bodies and the group. One simple exercise, for instance, consisted in applying light pressure to our bellies with our own hands, while having them rotate in a circular fashion. In between technical instructions, Isabelle evoked images of the cellular composition of the body and the freeing of the inner self.

I am less concerned, in this context, with the specifics of each individual exercise or Isabelle's particular conception of what she calls the inner self; instead, I want to stress the importance of the circle in Isabelle's practice, a spatial composition that resonates, interestingly, with Deborah Hay's early work, when she famously practiced her Circle Dances in the Vermont of the early 1970s. Practice and the circle—a contingent nexus, yet one with consequences for the relations of perception that practice can create. It is worthwhile to remember how Hay talks about the motivation behind her Circle Dances: “in 1971”, she once stated, “my Ten Circle Dances eliminates the need for dance audience. Fear finally leaves my experience as I have known it until now.” Her motor, at the time, was primarily the fear of facing the audience in a performance, an affect that resulted in the creation of dances in a circle, dances that simply eliminated, as she said, “the need for dance audience.” As with Isabelle's statement from earlier on, the choice of words also matters here: what the dances in the circle eliminated was not the audience per se, but the need for it. The Circle Dances did not necessarily exclude the fact that they were seen, but they were not necessarily bound to the presence of spectators as a prerequisite for the very existence and unfolding of the dance; they were able to maintain themselves without the function of the gaze of the spectator.

Precisely this is what I experienced in Isabelle's OPS: at first, I was in the circle with everyone else, participating in the exercises that Isabelle prompted us to engage in. At some point, though, I decided to step out to take notes, which was when I joined Elena Basteri, Isabelle's dramaturgical collaborator, in watching the group from the side. Stepping out of the circle and then looking at it from outside, I was able to realise how this practice in a circle does not need my outside gaze, my watching them; it does not need any spectator for it to be and do what it wants to do, the kind of body work with cellular awareness or energy dynamics that emerged within the circle. More to the point, this circle practice was not for me, not done for me as a spectator, although I was still able to look at it. It was done for and by those inside the circle, for the participants. It can therefore be said that, in the most basic and fundamental sense, the subject of the practice is the practitioner, not the spectator. Of course, those participants might have recognised Elena or me, as we were sitting outside the circle, in fact it is certainly possible that our presence changed their experience; but our presence was not necessary for them to have an experience at all, and their experiences certainly were not supposed to be directed to us as potential spectators.

In this regard, Isabelle's practice in the circle deviates strongly from the historical apparatus of theatre and performance, in which everything is ultimately done for the audience, for the spectators. Theatre, the place of looking or watching, is the place of the watching audience, it is the space that is essentially derived from the ritual, the space of a broken circle, metaphorically speaking, where those acting are not the same as those watching. The community is split, the functions of action and gaze are separated, the prerequisite of perception and experience is the non-involvement in the action, and the action has the function of showing itself to the non-involved perceivers.

Importantly though, theatre, in its history, already acquired quite some knowledge of different arrangements of perception, one of the most relevant examples being, in this context, Bertolt Brecht's “Lehrstücke.” His learning plays were experiments in a theatre without audience, and Brecht was acutely aware of the consequences of his early approach for the role and function of spectatorship. He once noted: “Das Publikum würde also, sofern es nicht bei dem Experiment mithilft, nicht die Rolle des Empfangenden, sondern eines schlicht Anwesenden spielen.” The spectators no longer have a necessary function within the theatrical arrangement, they are simply in the role of someone who is present, of the present one, or the attendant. My own situation in Isabelle's OPS, once I stepped out of the circle, was exactly this. Like Elena, I was an attendant of this kind, an attendant of the practice, not a spectator. It is appropriate to infer that, on at least one level, and potentially more than one, there is a genealogical connection between Brecht's learning plays and certain contemporary practice approaches, or at least there is one with respect to the situation of practice in a circle that characterised Isabelle's work on that day. The specific arrangement of the circle might serve as an exemplary and condensed motif of the more general conditions of doing and attending in many contemporary practice experiments.

Since the spectator, in the learning plays or in circle practices, essentially no longer exists, that is, since anyone not participating in the designated action becomes superfluous to the event, it seems only logical to shift one's attention to the participants and ignore the attendants. However, I would like to think that the position of the attendant, who no longer has any necessary part to play in the scenario in question, might be a place from where a different, perhaps more open kind of looking could start to emerge. Looking at someone, at a group that does not need you, at people that do not do things for you, and therefore being in a relationship without necessity, you might see things otherwise, and you might see things that otherwise you did not see before. You still find yourself in an overall theatrical setting designed to make thing visible, a theatre, a studio like Wiesenburg Halle, or potentially a “Pädagogium,” as Brecht once called the institution he imagined for the learning plays, but what you see within this setting does not have the theatricality of the action of showing. In a way, you see something in a performance space that is not of a performance kind. Here, at the edges of performance, a different seeing might emerge.

What I was able to see, very concretely, after I had left the circle in Isabelle's OPS, was the facticity of practice. As the participants in the circle did not address me, as they did not aim to show me what they did, and how they did it, I often had trouble grasping the internal logic of the specific practice, or simply put, what it was that they were doing. But I did see them do, I did see them engage, I did see them being busy with something, even if I did not know what that something was. And is not that how practice, when ripped off its specific manifestations, might be described, that is, as a way of being busy with something? Or better yet, when taking into account the continuous and processual nature of the involvement, is not practice, at least on some basic level, a way of staying busy with something?

Seeing practice as a way of staying busy with something is certainly not entirely exclusive to the attendant. The practitioner too can experience practice in its facticity from their position of an insider, which a way of saying that no distance is needed to experience it that way. But they will always make this experience at the same time that they practice the practice, at the same time that they are concerned with the what and the how of the practice; and as such, it will be already be a different experience. In the same way, a spectator in the theatre might also be shown and see the practice of the performer in front of them, they might be shown by the performer precisely the practice of showing; but in perceiving the facticity of the practice of showing while being at the same time addressed in the process of showing, it will always already be a different kind of seeing than the seeing of the attendant. None of these forms of seeing is superior to the other, but they are different; and the seeing of the attendant is perhaps best described as the looking of someone, who is simply given in the situation, at something in its givenness.

Georg Döcker is a PhD student at the Department of Drama, Theatre and Performance, University of Roehampton, London.

Offen für alle, die den Weg zu ihr finden


Exzerpt aus der Laudatio Isabelle Schad bei der Verleihung des Deutschen Tanzpreises 2019 in Essen

[…] Isabelle Schad hat sich, mit der sie auszeichnenden leisen, aber äußerst kraftvollen Beharrlichkeit vier Jahre lang buchstäblich mit ihren eigenen Händen einen Raum gebaut – gemeinsam mit anderen (natürlich, wie man fast sagen muss). In der Wiesenburg im Berliner Wedding, einem ehemaligen Obdachlosenasyl: als Schad dort begann, eine baufällige Ruine – heute ein lebendiger Kulturort, der fest im Kiez verankert ist. Sie hat sich damit einen Ort geschaffen, an dem sie kontinuierlich arbeiten, forschen und entwickeln kann – und den sie für andere öffnen, mit anderen teilen kann. Was sie tut. Hier finden auch regelmäßig ihre „Open Practice Sessions“ statt, in denen sie andere einlädt, mit ihr gemeinsam zu üben. Diese „Sessions“ sind tatsächlich offen, richten sich nicht nur an professionelle Tänzer*innen: jede*r ist eingeladen zu kommen, sie freut sich, wenn es sich mischt und arbeitet seit vielen Jahren schon auch mit sogenannten ‚Laien‘. Auch, um ihre Erfahrungen und ihr Wissen weiterzugeben – an alle, die den Weg zu ihr finden. Ich selbst hatte kürzlich die Gelegenheit, im Rahmen des diesjährigen Tanzkongresses in Hellerau an einem Workshop von Isabelle Schad teilzunehmen, der gleichermaßen aus professionellen Tänzer*innen wie ‚Laien‘ bestand. Und tatsächlich, das gemeinsame Tun, das Üben in und mit der Gruppe hat eine transformierende Kraft. Es verändert – subtil, aber nachhaltig – wie man selbst, wie man in und mit der Welt ist, man begegnet sich und den anderen anders. Mein erster Gedanke danach war: Es würde der Welt besser gehen, wenn alle einmal einen Workshop mit ihr machen würden. Zweifellos meint sie es mit dem ‘Teilen’, dem ‘Öffnen von Räumen’, dem ‘gemeinsamen Tun’ ernst. Man könnte Schad nun leicht Großzügigkeit attestieren – aber dann übersähe man die stille Radikalität, die eben nicht nur ihre künstlerische Arbeit, sondern ihr Handeln überhaupt seit nunmehr über zwanzig Jahren auszeichnet. Denn ‘Großzügigkeit’ setzt voraus, dass man etwas hat, das einem gehört, das man besitzt, und das man deshalb ab- oder weitergeben kann. Und genau hier habe ich meine Zweifel, ob diese Kategorien bei ihr überhaupt sinnvoll angewendet werden können. Es ist eine persönliche These, aber ich würde vermuten, dass “Haben” für sie keine Rolle spielt. Die Konsequenz, mit der sie ihre Suche vom „inneren Sein“ zum „Mit-der-Welt-Sein“ betreibt, läßt für Besitzdenken eigentlich keinen Platz.

Annemie Vanackere ist Intendantin und Geschäftsführerin des HAU Hebbel am Ufer, in Berlin.

impressions impressions impressions


If you wish to be informed about upcoming OPS write an e-mail to:

More information on:


Texts by:
Elena Basteri, Georg Döcker, Annemie Vanackere

Edited by:
Elena Basteri and Isabelle Schad

Designed by:
Lupo Burtscher

Wiesen55 e.V.
Buttmannstrasse 19
13357 Berlin

I would like to thank:

Everyone who has been following the OPS invitation so far, for dancing, sharing and being present with so much joy, openness and clarity; Claudia Tomasi for assisting and being at my side for every concern; Elena Basteri for her support, observation and advices throughout our common processes; Heiko Schramm for his patience and help in all kind of production matters; Volker Hüdepohl for being at my side and helping me in so many matters at play. My teachers Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen, Gerhard Walter, Harald Gierl, Jochen Knau, Heiko Schwarzburger, Mariana Skarlatova and Mooji for showing pathways which understand inside and outside as unity. Pathways that help overcoming duality and separations between body and mind, reason and feeling, origin of movement and form; Laurent Goldring for all the years of fruitful collaboration, the inexhaustible work on detail which brings seeing and perceiving together; Everyone following the invitation for contemplation within a practice around energetic principles, in which time and attention is given to freeing the inner self from jumping thoughts, psychology or personal matters. To be in the perception of consciousness in each moment, in each movement, in action and doing requires a certain inner attitude and a freeing from conditioning. It is in the same time an attitude of resistance against patterns that define hierarchies, opinions and power relationships. The sharing of these practices is so important - for everything we do - and to feel that gives me joy every day. It is this force that helps us to overcome cultural and political borders and that invites a more universal notion of how to be together.

Thank you! 
Isabelle Schad