PHOTO: © Stiftung Humboldt Forum im Berliner Schloss / Giuliani von Giese

Handarbeit. Isabelle Schad, in Zusammenarbeit mit Nora Mertes, Josephine Findeisen, Claudia Tomasi & Frauen aus Bitterfeld-Wolfen

In the organizer's words:

What can hands tell us about life, work and action? What have they helped me with? What did they carry? Who did they hold? Can people create a common landscape out of hands?

Hands that push, hands that pull. Hands that grasp. Hands that fold. Hands that hold each other. Our life story shapes our bodies. Personal and collective experiences are inscribed in our posture and movements. Can these experiences also be expressed through dance?

In collaboration with visual artist Nora Mertes and dancers Josephine Findeisen and Claudia Tomasi as well as women from Bitterfeld-Wolfen, choreographer Isabelle Schad explores the tense relationship between self and world in dance:

The central question here is the concept of subjectivity within a collective moving body that can only function as a whole: How can we perceive ourselves as part of a larger whole and what does this mean as a choreographic-visual practice as well as an attitude one adopts?

Based on movement principles such as weight shifting, stretching and breathing techniques, professional and amateur dancers initially develop small sketches that focus on their own perception of the hands and, in resonance with their own history, tell something about society, being human and ageing.

The video camera does not record images, but rather movement in the personal context of the dancers and during the joint rehearsals. It takes part as if it were an acting hand itself.

Gradually, a choreography and videography unfolds in the field of tension between inside and outside, intimacy and community, hand and work, grasping and letting go, miniature and overall sequence. The resulting sculptures and landscapes are made of interwoven hands and images in order to face the events of our time in forms of connectedness.

Concept, choreography and realization: Isabelle Schad

Concept and realization video and space: Nora Mertes

Conceptual and choreographic support, realization: Josephine Findeisen and Claudia Tomasi

Performance Humboldt Forum: Johanna Ackva, Christine Baßin, Heike Faber, Dorothee Fischer, Rita Gehlhar, Veronika Heisig, Katrin Jarczewski, Christine Koschmieder, Katrin Stephan, Gudrun Trommer, Claudia Tomasi, Bärbel Verhooren, Sieglinde Walkow, Diana Wesser, Edda Westphal

Performance Bitterfeld-Wolfen: Christine Baßin, Heike Faber, Josephine Findeisen, Dorothee Fischer, Rita Gehlhar, Katrin Jarczewski, Christine Koschmieder, Katrin Stephan, Gudrun Trommer, Claudia Tomasi, Bärbel Verhooren, Sieglinde Walkow, Diana Wesser, Edda Westphal

Camera: Alberto Stievanin

Lighting design: Max Krispin

Sound: Damir Simunovic, in collaboration with Ivan Bartsch, Nora Mertes and Isabelle Schad

Live Sound Mixing: Ivan Bartsch

Technical management Humboldt Forum: Ivan Bartsch


The dancer/choreographer Isabelle Schad studied classical dance in Stuttgart and worked with numerous choreographers before starting to develop her own works in 1999. Her research focuses on the relationships between self, perception and experience, choreography and (re)presentation.

She sees artistic practice as a place for learning processes, community and political participation. Her innovative projects are shown internationally in various contexts at festivals, museums and theatrical spaces. She teaches worldwide, is a Shiatsu, Reiki and Aikido practitioner and co-organizer of the workspace Tanzhalle Wiesenburg in Berlin. Schad received an award for outstanding artistic developments in contemporary dance as part of the German Dance Award 2019. Her work Harvest (2021), a collaboration with Theater o.N. /Offensive Tanz für junges Publikum, was nominated for the Ikarus Prize 2022.

Josephine Findeisen, born in Dresden in 1990, studied dance, context and choreography at the Inter-University Center for Dance in Berlin. In her practice, she examines socio-economic realities and researches the entanglements of class, gender and the body. Since 2016, she has produced various physical research projects on class issues, including A Work that doesn't Work or We might as well be on Crystal, SCHWEIßARBEIT, Working Class Dance Group and AUTOSCOOTER. Josephine Findeisen organizes the open meeting "Arbeiter:innentöchter Vereinigt Euch!" at historical workplaces and monuments in Berlin.

Claudia Tomasi works as a freelance dancer and choreographer in Berlin & South Tyrol. She studied dance, context and choreography at the HZT Berlin. Since 2007 she has been working on her own pieces and in various collaborations as a choreographer, dancer and artistic assistant at the interface between contemporary dance, sound art and visual art.

Her current focus is on the exploration of traditions and rituals, inner/outer impulse work and working with amateurs, e.g. by bringing her decades of experience as a stage artist back to her home country. Through her intensive involvement with movement since her youth, then through yoga and with the subtle body, later with the Axis Syllabus, the Asian path arts on the one hand and craniosacral work and shamanism on the other, a further focus lies in the observation and promotion of process work of the human being as an artist beyond pure stage art.

Nora Mertes starts from classical questions of sculpture and plastic art in order to artistically investigate contemporary phenomena of body-space relationships. She is interested in the significance of movement and pictorial space in sculpture and everyday life - for example, she has been working on a "digital archive of manual knowledge" with a video camera since 2022.

She studied fine art with a focus on sculpture at the Alanus University of Arts and Social Sciences in Alfter near Bonn, at Hiroshima City University and the Berlin University of the Arts. She has shown her work in countless exhibitions in Germany and abroad and has been honored with prizes and grants. Since 2023, Mertes has been teaching and researching as Professor of Fine Arts (research focus professorship) in the Interior Architecture course, Department of Building and Design at Kaiserslautern University of Applied Sciences.

PARTNER: A production by Isabelle Schad co-produced by Festival OSTEN/Kulturpark e.V. and the Stiftung Humboldt Forum im Berliner Schloss. In cooperation with Frauen helfen Frauen e.V. / Frauenzentrum Wolfen.

- Theme day special: Tickets are now available at a reduced price of €4.00. Please book your ticket in advance online or at the box office in the foyer.

- Duration: 30 min

- Language: German

- Hall 1, ground floor

- Belongs to: Without end palace

This content has been machine translated.


Humboldt Forum Schloßplatz 10178 Berlin

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