The Soviet War Memorial at Treptower Park is one of the few places in Berlin that recall quite directly the 2nd World War. Built to last, this gigantic tomb, which was designed as a parade ground, warns us, the descendants of the former warriors, not to forget about our bloody history. Here Yeltsin and Kohl bid farewell to the glorious Soviet army, but these days the area is used by lone joggers only.

Lénio Kaklea

But today it´s different, it´s crowdy. Bikes are lined up, lots of people stroll around. During the festival Foreign Affairs Boris Charmatz has mobilized 20 dancers who stage the history of dance of the 20th century at this historic location. A course chasing the audience throughout the grounds. The dancers show off not just their performance, but their very own style of dancing. At each of the 20 stations the crowd gets also explainations what defines each specific type of dance, which movements are in the center of this specific style. This is an introduction to background knowledge for interested laymen. And this is not very common. Because dance in public space is pretty rare, usually this art form is perceived as elitist. But here, in this place soaked with history, the history of dance of the 20th century is skillfully staged and explained.

This creates a focused yet relaxed atmosphere. Spectators join to watch the different performances, although these shows don´t take place simultaneously. But there is all the time a feeling of that you might miss something. Therefore, everybody moves throughout the grounds, where there is always something new to watch. Soft music from small speakers accompany the different shows and fulfill the place in a very adequate way with a spell that was here previously unknown.

Hopefully this festival continues next year and the Soviet War Memorial will continue to be set up as a place of special productions, which respect it´s history. This year, Berlin has already found a very special temporary performance venue, which is open to the general public. And this is what makes this piece of Boris Charmatz very charming.


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20 dancers at the Soviet War Memorial
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