In the dance performance TENNIS, Angela Alves examines sport, art and society for ableist and classist patterns of discrimination; exploring methods to confront them without losing her nerve. In the setting of a tennis court, the dancer takes up the racket and prepares to serve for a barrier-free future. For the crip artist from a so-called underclass background, the tennis court marks a space that was never intended for Angela Alves. In TENNIS, she claims the court for herself, making it her site for gentle self-empowerment.
A ball-throwing machine fires balls into the court. The actress Athena Lange is enthroned on the high seat, controlling the space as a referee, with the tennis coach on the screen in the background. But how does one hold one's own in a demanding game when stress avoidance is the top priority? And how does one escape a social system that knows no boundaries without admitting defeat?
For the performance, Angela Alves studies the serve, forehand and backhand, and tirelessly practices the movements of the game with relish; finding a way to creatively adapt them to her needs. The result is a humorous choreography of sensitive resilience, which, via audio description, sign language and English subtitles, specifically ensnares numerous players in the hurdles of accessibility.
For TENNIS, we're harnessing the "fourth wall" again: Make yourselves comfortable on the chairs, cushions and mattresses behind the net and rest assured that the butterballs won't harm you. You definitely don't have to join in, you can just be there. It won't be very dark and it won't be very loud. Nevertheless, we are on a tennis court and this space is not equally comfortable for everyone. So if it gets too stressful, you can either complain to the referee or leave the room during the show. If you need a moment's peace and quiet, you can retreat to the foyer and of course you are very welcome to come back.
A production by Angela Alves in co-production with SOPHIENSÆLE and TATWERK | Performative Forschung. Supported by the Senate Department for Culture and Europe Berlin and Fonds Darstellende Künste with funds from the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media within the framework of NEUSTART KULTUR. With the kind support of Tennis Club Blau-Gold Wuhlheide e.V. Media partner: taz, die tageszeitung.
September 23rd | 7 pm
September 24th | 7 pm
September 26th - 27th | 8 pm
Sophiensæle | Berlin
Performance: Angela Alves, Athena Lange
Concept, choreography: Angela Alves
Dramaturgy: Alex Hennig
Artistic assistance and access work: Michel Wagenschütz
Stage design and costume: Mascha Deneke
Film: Michelle Ettlin
Sound: Christoph Rothmeier
Light design: Susana Alonso
Tennis coach: Ozan Filiz
Third eye: Ania Nowak
Philosophical consultation: Svenja Flaßpöhler
Medical constultation: Sabine Schadow
Production management: ehrliche arbeit - freies Kulturbüro
Angela Alves takes her first long-awaited tennis lessons in the summer of 2022. She studied dance at the ArtEZ School of Dance in the Netherlands and dance studies at the FU Berlin. She lives and works as a freelance choreographer in Berlin and is a member of Backbone Berlin. In her artistic work she negotiates perceptions and constructions of "healthy" and "sick" bodies and is interested in the subversive potential in between. Her practice focuses on political dimensions of the unavailable body and explores its transformative potency through strategies of access, self-empowerment and self-care in classist and ableist pre-structured spaces. Alves is co-founder of TURN. New Movement for Multiple Sclerosis e.V. and IHMAR. Institute for Medical & Health Humanities and Artistic Research.
Athena Lange, *1991 in Plauen, lives and works as an actress and artist in Berlin. Among other things, she was a permanent ensemble member of the Leipziger Ensemble until 2016, and performed for the Deutsche Gehörlosen-Theater and Possible World Berlin. At the Staatstheater Hannover, she took on the lead role in the play Die Wut, die uns vereint from 2019. Since 2021 she embodies Isa from Wolfgang Herrndorf's novel Bilder deiner großen Liebe at the Societätstheater in Dresden. Her engagements also include performances at the Sophiensælen Berlin and Kampnagel Hamburg, among others, where she works with renowned artists from all over Germany and Europe.