07. August 2012
"If you can breathe, you can dance"
Walking through Vienna with your eyes open, you will certainly notice them: happy people whizzing by on their blue or pink bicycles. Who are they? The participants of workshops of the Vienna ImPulsTanz festival – and members of a community that is eager to move even at a temperature of 30° Celsius.
But what does this community consist in? Even if the workshop participants share an interest in dance, they might have different motivations to work their way through a programme consisting of a remarkable 214 dance courses, to pay a hefty sum of money and to make longer or shorter trips in order to sweat in a dance hall on the most beautiful summer day. With this in mind, we set out to meet some amazing individuals who make up this community.
Dancing in Vienna instead of lazing on a beach in BarcelonaChill-out music fills the courtyard in front of the Art-for-Art Workshop Centre at Arsenal, which serves as a huge dance studio during the festival. Some of the workshop participants are dangling their tired legs in the cool water of the small pool, while others chat and enjoy a Club Mate ice tea or a lunch soup from the cafeteria sitting on the unique pallet furniture. In a small repair shop many an ImPulsTanz bicycle is again made ready for the road. Romain (32) and César (34) from Barcelona agree that the atmosphere is great. A friend living in Vienna had enticed them to come and participate in ImPulsTanz: “There is an important dance festival in Austria, you should really give it a try”. And she definitely has not been overpromising. The two semi-professional dancers fell in love with Vienna within just two days. They will take part in several workshops and are particularly looking forward to the classes of Ivo Dimchev. And they have been waiting very long for an opportunity to see Wim Vandekeybus live on stage. But one thing is clear: they will not stress themselves out. Having a busy schedule of work and dance classes in Barcelona, they want to enjoy a well-deserved two-week dance holiday in Vienna.
Waiting for a call ...It’s a bit like being on holiday in Vienna for Raymond too. But right now the dancer from Malaysia is slightly nervous. The phone does not ring and he is desperately waiting for a call after his audition with the Gervasi dance company. He had travelled all the way to Vienna from Essen (where he studies) to participate in it. Raymond explained that a workshop given by Kenji Takagi was a pleasant way of distracting himself. This was his first time in Vienna, and it was also the first time he was travelling alone. He did not only praise Schönbrunn Palace, Burgtheater and the City Hall but was also highly enthusiastic about the open-minded spirit of the festival, its comprehensive programme and high professionalism. He had worked for a dance festival in Kuala Lumpur. But it had not been organised so perfectly … there was no comparison with Vienna!
If you can breathe, you can danceYoung and old, professionals and amateurs, people with or without disabilities – everybody is welcome to the festival. Réka (23) joined the “DanceAbility” workshop. Most participants have physical or mental handicaps but there are also some dancers without disabilities. The Hungarian woman who grew up in Vienna realised in this workshop that the two groups can learn from each other. She is not only inspired by the way how the other participants move their bodies to the music but regards this type of inclusion also as a political message. “You realise that there is not just one way of living but many.” “If you can breathe, you can dance”, adds her friend Katharina (21), a student from Ukraine. “This is the guiding principle of ‘DanceAbility’, a wonderful motto!” The two girls would like to attend more dance classes but they do not have enough money. According to them, the discounts granted to students are inadquate and the tickets for the shows too expensive. But they treated themselves to a ticket for the performance of Butoh dancer Ko Murobushi at Odeon. Whenever possible, they try to get hold of standing room tickets. “The festival programme is so packed, in the beginning we found it quite hard to sift through it. And if you do not know what the performance is really about you are not willing to spend such a lot of money on a ticket."
All roads lead to ViennaAnna from Upper Austria prefers the dance studio. Following in the footsteps of her mother, a true dance enthusiast, the 22-year-old student is taking part in ImPulsTanz already for the fourth time. The pool was built only last year, said the amateur dancer when asked about recent changes. She travelled alone to Vienna but often came across familiar faces. “There are not so many dancers from Upper Austria and so we know one another.“ The other participants are having similar experiences. “We ran into a student from our dance class in Barcelona“, said César. “Some people we know from Tanzfabrik in Berlin are also planning to pay a visit to the festival“, stated Romain, the Frenchman living in Spain. Raymond is waiting for fellow students of Folkwang University in Essen. But that is not so important to the student of a bachelor’s degree programme. He feels at home wherever dance and music meet: “When I see 25 ImPulsTanz bicycles parked somewhere, I know that’s the right place for me.” And this is one of the moments when we feel the tremendous community spirit.
See also "Inspiring people through movement"
The 29th ImPulsTanz festival is running until 11 August 2012
danceWEB party on 10 August 2012, starting at 22:00 hrs.
1010 Vienna, Kasino am Schwarzenbergplatz
Admission: € 12 / € 10
hr & masch