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Still of the Production Studies on Post-Colonialism

2016, Series

This series of short choreographies highlights white hegemony in a genre lauded for its internationality. Yet while post-colonial structures are just as present in contemporary dance as in other art forms, they are often more difficult to discern. Why has there recently been so much talk of African contemporary dance, while we never use the term "European contemporary"? Tacitly, Western concepts are declared the norm. These pieces cheerfully, but critically reveal the various ways that contemporary dance is marked by dominance and privileges grounded in white experience.


Still of the Production 'Studies on Post-Colonialism'
Still of the Production 'Studies on Post-Colonialism'

About the Piece

Achille Mbembe’s “Critique de la Raison Négre” is a succinct reappraisal of last century’s colonial tragedies. Inspired by the recently published German translation of this important contribution to the debate on critical whiteness, Christoph Winkler endeavors to apply the analysis to contemporary dance. Most techniques, styles and practices that dominate what we call “contemporary dance” today, originally developed in Europe and the USA during the 1960’s. Many dancers base their current practice on categories such as “trust”, “responsibility” or “emancipation”. They strive to work in structures that question hierarchies and favor collective dynamics. However, the artistic practices that spawned these widespread approaches are rooted in “white” experience (unlike urban dance). So while, contemporary dance remains a central point of reference for many, its appropriation finds expression in bodies unaware of their origins.

Studies on Post-Colonialism is a series of dance pieces, lectures and performances to be developed in collaboration with dancers from Europe, Africa and Asia throughout 2016 & 2017.


Concept, Choreography: Christoph Winkler | Dance, Choreography: Raha Nejad, Dominique Rosales, Ahmed Soura, Aloalii Tapu, Naishi Wang | Set and Costumes: Lena Mody, Valentina Primavera | Head of Tech:  Martin Pilz | Production: ehrliche arbeit – freelance office for culture. 

A Christoph Winkler and ehrliche arbeit production, co-produced by SOPHIENSÆLE and Hamburg. Made possible by the Governing Mayor of Berlin - Senate Chancellery - Cultural Affairs and the National Performance Netz (NPN) Coproduction Fund for Dance, which is funded by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media on the basis of a decision by the German Bundestag. Media partner: taz.die tageszeitung.

Individual Studies

Dancing Like a White Guy

The Lion and the Dragon

Can Asians Dance

Seeing Alvin Ailey

Persisches Haar


Ein Trendthema zu bedienen und zugleich dem choreografischen Chic zu trotzen: das ist die Stärke von Christoph Winkler, der seit 1998 unermüdlich Stück um Stück auf die Berliner Bühnenbretter zimmert. Mit “Five Studies on Post-Colonialism” schließt er, wie schon mit dem von ihm erdachten “Witch Dance Project”, zeitgemäß an die Weiterung der westlichen Wahrnehmung an, die mit dem Projekt Postkolonialismus zu begreifen lernt(e), dass die US-europäische Weltsicht nicht die einzig gültige ist. Gespür für Zeitgeist und formaler Eigensinn kennzeichnet auch die “Five Studies”. In drei der fünf Halbstünder wird ‚nur’ getanzt – erfrischend in der eher Performance-lastigen Berliner Tanzszene. Die anderen beiden Stücke spielen in Comedy-Manier mit verbalem Stereotyp-Schlagabtausch, und doch steht auch dort die Bewegung im Zentrum.
Kalauernder Klischee-Kontest – Elena Philipp,


  • January 2018, 20 LOFFT – Das Theater Leipzig

    „PERSISCHES HAAR“ im Rahmen des Festivals "ZURÜCK IN DIE ZUKUNFT"


  • December 2016, 6 – 10 Sophiensaele

    December 6th, 2016 at 7 pm, Studies 1 to 5December 7th/9th, 2016 at 7 pm, Studies 1 to 3December 8th/10th, 2016 at 7 pm, Studies 4 & 5Sophiensaele, Sophienstr. 18, 10178 Berlin Tickets: 030 283 52 66 |


    Study 1: Can Asians Dance? with Naishi Wang | Study 2: Seeing Alvin Ailey with Dominique Rosales and Ahmed Soura | Study 3: Persian Hair with Raha Nejad | Study 4: Dancing Like a White Guy – The Goldberg Variations (dedicated to Steve Paxton) with Aloalii Tapu | Study 5: The Lion and The Dragon with Naishi Wang + Ahmed Soura.