Looking for Tap Dancers

3. March 2017

Audition Notice:

Sebastian Weber is looking for 4-6 professional tap dancers for his new ensemble production CABOOM. | weiterlesen… »

CABOOM – new contemporary tap dance

21. February 2017

 

Seven years after the “award-winning” production of THE GROOVE JOURNALS (minor awards, to be honest…) and following some exciting collaborations with film and theater, my next project takes me back to “pure” tap ensemble work. This gives me a chance to apply a newly discovered concept, which feels like the holy grail of choreography to me: an analytical, yet creative approach I call CABOOM and have already introduced at some workshops.

CABOOM

CABOOM was sparked by some very open movement research, in which fantastic dancer Janne Eraker and I tried to find fresh visual ideas for audible dance in the most general sense. Doing this, I realized with some surprise that we as tap dancers do not usually have a vocabulary for the physical “organisation” of our body in movement. Our terminology describes the foot percussion precisely. But if a shuffle-ball-change moves to the left or the right, crosses in the back or the front, turns or does whatever… is not usually conveyed in our vocabulary. In fact, many of us would rather sing a step to a colleague than describe the movement.

This is perfectly in tune with the jazz tradition, since the individual differences between the dancers keep the whole thing interesting and might be considered part of the personal style. When trying to develope a unique movement esthetics as an ensemble, however, tap frequently moves within narrow limits.

To expand the options here, CABOOM starts with an analysis of the inner “logic” of a choreographed sequence and identifies, which parameters are important to that sequence: weight change obviously, but also axial coordination, balance, momentum and centrifugal power… How do arms and legs relate to each other? Which body parts initiate a movement, which follow? Which potentials are unused and which individual variance exists?

The attention to these functional elements alone releases great potential: the dancers move more spaciously, more dynamically.

In a second step, CABOOM explores how the movement repertoire of tap can be altered or expanded. To this end, I work with a number of experts of contemporary dance, movement analysis and dance dramaturgy. Peer-learning, method transfer and trial & error are key strategies. Contemporary choreographers inspire new approaches to tap, add gestures, suggest a different concept of developing movement altogether, apply their take on body language to tap. What still feels like tap? What does not?

In return, contemporary dancers try to bring out the precise musicality of tap in their movement repertoire, try to use typical movement ideas of tap and to explore other means of developing a style of “audible dance”. Of all their approaches, what can be re-imported into tap?

WORKSHOPS

These are some of the technical aspects I explore more fully with my new CABOOM project in a series of interconnected workshops, residencies and ensemble choreography. Some of the workshops take place within the newly found CABOOM COMPANY, others are open to anybody.

Among the public workshops are two that offer a more in-depth opportunity to participate in the choreographic process: April 3rd thru 8th, there will be an advanced and an intermediate residency at Guillem Allonso’s Casa Luthier, an awe-inspiring hub for great tap dancing in Barcelona. While the intermediate workshop is mostly about introducing the principles of CABOOM by means of a short choreography, the advanced workshop will be more of a team effort to actually create original material. That material will later be developed for the stage and used in a short dance film. Details and registration information can be found on the workshop flyer.

Later in the summer, there will be an intensive workshops at Anina Krügers beautiful Blue Tap Studio in Berlin. Covering two weekends, we will first learn original choreography and then change and develope that material in collaboration with renowned contemporary dancer and choreographer Damian Gmür. This will be an opportunity to experience the research first hand an find out about personal limits and potential.

Then, there are some smaller workshops, in which I introduce the CABOOM approach. Next chance will be at the end of march in Heidelberg, soon after that there will be a more intensive four-day workshop at the tap dance days (formerly “tap ahead festival”) in Düsseldorf.

AUDITION for professional tap dancers

In the course of the year, I plan to produce three short films and a full-evening performance, which will be presented in Leipzig, Berlin, and Aschaffenburg. Professional tap dancers who are interested to participate are very much encouraged to check out the audition notice and send a brief application!

Blind Date

13. February 2017

Blind_Date_2_Foto_Sophie_Stephan_600

BLIND DATE was  series of improvisational performances curated by Sebastian Weber and Sebastian Göschel in 2016. Each installment brought dancers, musicians and performers of other genres together in an unplanned encounter.

Sophie Stephan created these short video clips of statements on improvisation by all participants. | weiterlesen… »

Workshops in Cologne and Kassel

8. September 2016

Stepptanz in KölnI will teach a workshop at Labor Ost in Kassel October 7th – 9th. In addition to “ordinary” tap classes, there will be a body percussion special there. Download the workshop flyer for more details.

Two weeks later, I teach at the tap club in Cologne. | weiterlesen… »

In conversation with Travis Knights

22. April 2016

The amazing Canadian tap dancer Travis Knights has been recording interviews and discussions with tap dancers he meets on his travels for a few years now. He created some fantastic videos and audio podcasts, that convey the individual perspectives of some great dance personalities. I can absolutely recommend his Youtube and Soundcloudchannels.

Now, I am very honored to be included in his series by his publishing a skype conversation we had about the influence of old tap masters and the potential and limits of improvisation and choreography in contemporary tap. You can listen to the conversation here:  

Syd O’Noo goes again…

12. February 2016

Berlin_Events We are starting the second round: Leipzig, Berlin and lots of extras:

February 26th – 28th we will play THE LEGEND OF SYD O’NOO at the LOFFT again. Tickets are available at the LOFFT website.

This time, there also is an introduction the the event by Janne Eraker! And not the boring kind of theoretical lecture, but a great hands-on physical introduction by the great and highly professional tap dancer from Norway. Admission is free, I think. (Really?) But you should probably sign up!

One weekend later we are in Berlin. On March 5th, THE LEGEND OF SYD O’NOO will be presented in a “studio showing” with reduced technical complexity at Blue Tap, the place that is rumored to have the best tap floor in the country. And in Berlin, too, there are some great extras: first, there is the “Frühstücksfernsehen” (breakfast TV) with video footage and background info from the research trip to the masters of tap dance in the US, that Stéphane Bittoun and Sebastian did in preparation for their production. Then there is a workshop, offering original material from THE LEGEND OF SYD O’NOO. Check the separate flyer for all related info.

Interview about “The Legend of Syd O’Noo”

12. February 2016

To document the productions funded by the “Tanzfonds Erbe” (Dance Heritage Fund), the DIEHL+RITTER agency commissions video interviews with the directors and choreographers involved. Andrea Keiz was asked to interview us. Here is her film.

Interview zu: Stéphane Bittoun/Sebastian Weber DIE LEGENDE VON SYD O’NOO from DIEHL+RITTER on Vimeo.

Stephan König Trio feat. Sebastian Weber

10. February 2016

Koenig-trio-feat-SW_600 The “Musikalische Komödie”, the long-standing musical and operetta venue of Leipzigs opera house, starts a new series of “Jazz on Mondays”.  To kick off the new format, the trio of Leipzig’s renowned pianist Stephan König presents its “rhythmic encounters” featuring tap dancer Sebastian Weber. The program promises “tap dance as a listening pleasure”. Check it out on March 7th, 8pm. Tickets sold here.

The Press about “The Legend of Syd O’Noo”

4. February 2016

syd4 The first performances of our dance|film|theater production “The legend of Syd O’Noo” are done. Here are some excerpts of the reviews:

In the Leipziger Volkszeitung, Boris Gruhl seems happy that one can “forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers” while watching our play and resumes:

In “The Legend of Syd O’Noo”, one can experience equally strong and deeply touching dance scenes, in which technique — although perfectly mastered — yields precedence to the delicacy of expression. Weber taps softly. From the gentle touch on the floor, he can move the rising energy up into the highly lifted arms, he can generate movement from breath and then develope that into sounds of his stirring body. That is tops!

Sound and movement correspond like they rarely do in dance theater — just one reason, why “The Legend of Syd O’Noo is long, but magnificent.

Leipzigs monthly magazine “Der Kreuzer” gives a special recommendation to our “quasi-documentary worth watching” and Tobias Prüwer writes in his review: | weiterlesen… »

New production blends tap, acting, film, and live music

20. April 2015

52nd_St_Sys_O_Noo_600Great news! After the LOFFT Leipzig and the State Endowment for the Arts have approved support of our new production THE LEGEND OF SYD O’NOO a few months ago, now the prestigious Tanzfonds Erbe of the National Endowment for the Arts sent their approval, too! We are now officially a “Tanzfonds Erbe Project”! This means that the funding of our project is secured and we can get to work!

THE LEGEND OF SYD O’NOO will be a wild mix of dance, acting, film, and live music and is my second collaboration with author-director Stéphane Bittoun from Frankfurt. We already worked together in my last piece SYNCHRONZEUGEN, but then the time and monetary pressure was so overwhelming, that I was permanently close to nervous breakdown and the production was completed only several weeks after opening night.  This will be different this time:

| weiterlesen… »