15.05. – 24.05.2020

+++ Canceled +++ Erbstücke #2

Festival on heritage and tradition in contemporary art

In 2020 we will continue our search for traces in the field of traditions and heirlooms. Dealing with heritage has always had a global dimension. This is shown not only by a glimpse into August the Strong’s Chamber of Wonders, filled with “exotic” treasures, or into the Yin Yang sign on the gable of the Festspielhaus. Émile Jaques-Dalcroze and Heinrich Tessenow had it installed there at the beginning of the last century as a well-meaning symbol of a hoped-for healing from the horrors of industrialization through holistic, East Asian philosophy, healing art and body practice. Dance artists were also affected at that time – just think of the “oriental” pieces by Nijinsky.

In the festival, two pieces are dedicated to this explosive period of dance and world history: Jérôme Bel and Elisabeth Schwartz dissect in “Isadora Duncan” the career of one of the pioneers of expressive dance and feminism, while the South African choreographer Dada Masilo reinterprets with “The Sacrifice” a cornerstone of European modernism, the ballet “Sacre du Printemps” by Stravinsky and Nijinsky. In Masilo’s work, which is shown in HELLERAU as a European premiere, the violent postcolonial distortions of globalized society also come to light at the same time. Eisa Jocson from Manila also deals with this connection of artistic heritage with socio-political and power-political questions. Her “princesses”, borrowed from the Asian Disneyland amusement parks, stand both for a fixed comic-role-picture and for the often only, meager career opportunity for trained ballet dancers in Southeast Asia.

The Chinese artists Xiao Ke and Zi Han also move within this complex of hybrid forms and questions about identities and origins. In their Chiname project, they asked hundreds of Chinese-born people all over the world about their ideas about these roots. Where does the politically motivated construction of a clear identity begin, where does fiction begin? Simon Mayer has found his own form of these fluid states: In his extremely entertaining form of alpine folklore futurism as well as Gintersdorfer/ Klaßen with their West African mirrored version of the “Stories from the Vienna Woods” or Joana Tischkau, who scans the role models of pop history with tender caricatures. Even GDR dance showed surprisingly complex international influences and interrelations, as Saša Asentić and his team impressively demonstrate. The concept of artistic exploration is particularly important to us here – the relevance of traditions and heritage depends on constant questioning and reinterpretation. Art, especially theatre, seems to us to be exactly the right place for this worldwide debate.