Impulstanz Who Why What Where

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Video - Panta Rei Danseteater 'Lullaby'

Norwegian dance company Panta Rei Danseteater, late last year, conducted a little experiment whereby three dance makers created two pieces with the same name based on the same idea, featuring three male dancers and two musicians, to see what the outcome was.

June 2nd, 2016

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by Article19

ImPulsTanz has been running since 1984. The annual festival in Vienna attracts almost 4,000 participants to its workshops and classes and 30,000 members of the public to the vast array of performances that are on offer during a five week run. Article19 figured that we needed to know more and our readers certainly wanted to know more.

So Vienna that’s in Italy right?

No that’s Venice. Vienna is the capital of Austria and is the country’s largest city. It is also the cultural centre of the country and a major cultural centre for Europe. The city is also the home of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, Vienna State Opera and numerous art galleries, museums and universities. Vienna was also home to none other than Johan Strauss and Joseph Haydn was born close by in Rohrau.

ImPulsTanz, what’s it all about then eh?

It’s a yearly festival running from July 9th to August 10th. The festival has rather a unique setup because it acts not only as a performance platform for some of the worlds top companies and choreographic newcomers but also an extensive teaching and research resource for about 4000 participants. Karl Regensburger, one of ImPulsTanz’s directors told us;

“Some performance festivals may be bigger than ImPulsTanz but there are only a few worldwide who compliment their presentation activities with such a strong workshop programme. Also it is one of our major goals to create an atmosphere [that is] as democratic as possible, where every student or audience member is not only able but also relaxed enough to talk to his/her idol teacher/choreographer. To enhance the possibilities of exchange between choreographer, students, teachers and audience we are programming the performances always with a day in between two shows, so the artists stay in Vienna for longer, the performers can take classes etc.”

During the festival all of these elements are thrown into the mix and what you end up with is thousands of professional dancers, choreographers and teachers from all over the world mixing and working together in one city for 5 weeks. Which we are sure you will agree adds up to quite a spectacular experience.

It certainly sounds like it. When did all of this begin?

The first festival was in 1984 and was a purely workshop based event. In a recent interview Karl Regensburger said;

“When we founded the festival in 1984 we were driven by the intention to provide Vienna with further education in dance on an international level, which at that time had not existed….. ImPulsTanz came to life as a reaction to the existing Tanzbiennale curated by Dr. Gerhard Brunner, a very important event in Vienna‘s recent dance socialisation. While the Tanzbiennale was mainly focusing on the presentation of major ballet works among others, we felt the space and need for smaller contemporary dance productions.”

Four years later the performance element was introduced and featured work by none other than Wim Vandekybus amongst many others. As the festival has grown and developed over the years it has taken on a mainly contemporary dance oriented theme especially in the workshop and class elements.

19 years later some of the world’s best known dance companies, choreographers and teachers converge on Vienna for the five weeks that the event runs. Anything that lasts 19 years in contemporary dance has to be doing something right.

Previous years have included performances from Jiri Kylian, Les Ballets C. de la B., Steve Paxton, Anna Teresa De Keersmacker, Jonathon Burrows, Ultima Vez amongst many, many, many, others.

Who’s coming to perform this year then?

The final programme is not yet confirmed but the festival is planning to show work form La La La Human Steps, Akram Khan, Anna Teresa De Keersmacker, Meg Stuart and Damaged Goods amongst many others. The full programme of work should be confirmed by mid March. The ImPulsTanz website has an update newsletter you can subscribe to which will provide you with up to the minute reports about who will be appearing.

What about the teaching and research side?

If this is the element of the festival you are interested in you will be able to work with an enormous range of teachers and choreographers from across the world. The diversity is really quite amazing and there is something for everyone and we feel sure there is something on offer that you have probably never tried before.

As the festival lasts for five weeks many of the teaching and research programs are detailed and extensive so they provide plenty of opportunities for the participants to get some real work done. The complete line-up is not yet fully confirmed but the names we have so far include;

With Zvi Gotheiner, Howard Katz Fireheart, Mia Lawrence, Louise Lecavalier, Chrysa Parkinson.

Mathilde Monnier, Ko Murobushi, Josef Nadj, Meg Stuart, David Zambrano, Wendy Houston.

As with the performance side these names are not yet confirmed participants so you should subscribe to the ImPulsTanz newsletter to find out the final listings. Having worked with both David Zambrano (his name sounds like a magician and he looks like a magician) and Wendy Houston (who doesn’t look or sound like a magician at all) in a workshop environment we can certainly say they are tremendous fun and there is a lot to learn form both of them.

OK! I really want to go to this thing how do I do it?

Well you are in luck my dear reader because ImPulsTanz has 50, count em’, scholarships available so you can attend the festival almost 100% free of charge.

If you get one of the scholarships you will receive, amongst other things; access to the master classes and research process, access to special projects, free admission to every single performance that is a part of ImPulsTanz and a lot more besides. As if that wasn’t enough they will also cover your accommodations costs for the duration of the scholarship programme while you are in Vienna.

Blimey! How do I apply for all that?

Well they have made that process very simple. The application form is available right away from the Dance Web Europe website which you can find by clicking on the link at the end of this article.

You have to hurry though because the deadline is February the 28th so get your skates on and like we said there are only 50 scholarships available and there is almost certainly a huge demand for places. Application is open to professional dancers only and particularly those between the ages of 22 – 28 years old. The website also includes a lot more about the specifics of applying for a place and also about the selection process involved.

Even if you don’t get a scholarship you can of course still attend the festival, there is a lot of detailed information available on their website so all is not lost.

Is their website any good?

Well in a world where modern dance related websites are laughed at without exception ImPulsTanz’s website is nothing short of stunning. There is a massive amount of information and imagery available from previous festivals and regularly updated news bulletins on what is happening with ImPulsTanz and many other dance events across Europe. They also provide access to detailed research documents from previous workshops and creative classes. Karl Regensburger said about the festivals web presence;

“We consider technology, the internet, new media in general as an important tool to enhance and promote the presence of contemporary dance, which is why we are putting a lot of effort in making our website a year round platform for the contemporary dance interested and launched the event database (currently featuring more than 600 dance events worldwide), the photo and video database, the monthly updated news section with its “juice letter”, a vast selection of dance links etc.; at the same time we are having numerous talks with TV makers to convince them of our Impuls Camera & Dance format featuring the 8:tension artists.”

The video featured on the site is extensive in both its range and quality, featuring long movie clips by some of the top companies in the world today.

Unlike so many dance related sites around the internet ImPulsTanz have gone to great lengths to provide working, watchable video for the online audience. Even on a slow connection the video is still very usable although you do need a little patience. This type of commitment to the online audience is a massive boost to the dance community on the Internet.

So over all ImPulsTanz is a good thing?

What more could you ask for? You get the opportunity to mix with thousands of dancers and choreographers, take class with some of the world’s best teachers and most innovative choreographers and you get to see dozens of performances by not only the top companies but the new talent emerging every year from dance schools and colleges around the world.

All that combined with the possibility of being accepted onto the scholarship programme and the fact that you get to stay in Vienna for five weeks, this is as close as it gets to dance nirvana! There is literally nothing else like it anywhere in the world and even if there was we here in the Lab are not sure that 5 weeks in rainy, grimy Birmingham would be quite the same thing. Do you?


Well there you go then!

We will have a full interview online with Karl Regensburger next week. In the meantime for more information follow the links below.

[ Impulstanz Website ]

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