Urban Soul Café

Urban Soul Café

2016, solo

about the piece

At 18, New Zealand hip-hop dancer Aloalii Tapu participated in Royston Maldoon’s Sacre project and subse¬quently decides to study dance. Then, he discovers Pina Bausch’s “Café Müller” and focuses his training on contemporary dance. Coming from a Polynesian background, these life choices surprised his friends: “You are dancing like a white guy” they said, when they met again at their favorite hang-out, the Urban Soul Café in Auckland. Meanwhile, Lii has a degree in dance and is traveling down his own artistic path.

The piece therefore begins in Pina Bausch’s “Café Müller” – only to rewrite it into a place, in which the real and the fictive mix and merge: the Urban Soul Café. A stage for the dancer Aloalii Tapu to tell his own coming-of-age story. Where he deals with the work of people, who inspired him – such as Pina Bausch, Yvonne Rainer or Steve Paxton – in order to question them from a non-European, non-white perspective. But also without inhibitions of mixing in his own (pop)cultural influences – Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber and not to forget: rugby.

For in the end, gazing up at the lofty heights of dance history is much like looking at a menu – the mere variety is confusing enough. But while there is always someone to advise you on what to order at the café – „ask staff for more variety“ – a young dancer must learn to make his own choices.

Aloalii Tapu was awarded the prestigious German “Der Faust” prize as “Best Dancer of the Year 2016” for his role in this production.



Concept: Christoph Winkler | By and with: Aloalii Tapu | Tech: Florian Guist | Scenography: Lena Mody & Velntina Primavera | Production: ehrliche arbeit – freelance office for culture | Camera: Walter BickmannTanzforum Berlin

A Christoph Winkler and ehrliche arbeit – freelance office for culture production in cooperation with Ballhaus Ost. Funded by the City of Berlin – Department for Cultural Affairs.



(...) bit by bit the dancer transforms into a warrior, dancing terrifying grimaces in his Haka, until the air is heavy with adrenalin. neues deutschland, March 2016

His facial expression shifts between casual seduction and emotional drive: a great inner groove, to the rhythms of Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber.(…) The one-hour pop performance reveals the complex personality of a dancer, who promises to become a lasting memory. Cccdanse.com (Paris), April 2016