New wave of Berlin-based Frantics

Various characters but close as family, Frantics is a Berlin-based dance company, found in 2015 by a group of young talents. They met each other in 2013, Berlin. Strike to be different from B-Boys scene, they decided to do something else. Due to the contacting source with the contemporary dance scene, they start to create choreography and other theatre pieces. Following by that, they got noticed by public and theatre scene, instead of staying in the underground. As well known production team in Berlin, Germany, they just published their latest piece “Last” in Sophiensaele. Catching the free time during their intense rehearsal, here’s the exclusive interview to share with you all.Start from zero, they prove to the world that anything is possible. At very first step, all of them had other works and plans to support them surviving as artists in the underground scene. But the situation has changed since 2014, just about two years ago. It was the year they created the first piece, right after that, all of them focus on teaching, workshops and winning battles in the dance field. For them, the changing point of the whole group is when one of the member Juan joined major theatre as a dancer. He shared everything he learns with Frantics. So to speak, that was the influence of making Frantics stronger, also the base of how they look like now. This year, they got invited to produce a program in Sophiensaele, major theatre in Berlin. For that, they had an audition for one more new member. Amazingly, it turned out to be a great energy flow in for the group, and their new production “Last” just published this week.

 To synchronize everyone on the same channel, they play vivid roles in the group. For example, Marco does more organizing and theatre-related preparations, Diego directs the creating process with sharp logic and gentle voices, Juan always bring massive ideas for everyone to try it out, Carlos remains the whole group in peace, and Young Won provides strong concepts of spaces and counting beats, along with solid determinations. Everyone in the group is rather a sensitive artist, but for them, to learn how to deal with people saying no is exactly how they grow together. As equal position for everyone in Frantics, all of them are both dancers and choreographers. Instead of giving anyone powers to be the boss, they prefer to decide everything within Frantics as a group. This fundamental mindset is also the reason they decide to start up a company to call the owner, but not to join a major dance company in Europe. No one tries to play all the roles in the group. Based on mutual respect, they are coworkers and friends at the same time, to truly understand and listen to each other’s needs.

While we talk about the situation of co-creating for this piece or in general, they said the most common ways for them to build up an idea, is to find the start point resonated with what emotions they try to communicate with others. Later on, to create visuals, spaces and choreography by creating and looking at images at certain spaces. Of course, everyone has their own ideas about what they want to say, but to find the balance between different bodies with different qualities becomes the crucial point for them to work as a group. In this process, more or less there would be some fights, but they always try to sit back and talk about why they want to present this particular choreography with everyone. So to speak, the creating process allows everyone to use their own creativities, also to continue their own body movements research. Even everyone comes from the similar background, but to really look at it, every human has their way of living. Most of the time, they agree and disagree with each other at the same time, and this mutual understanding is exactly what makes them outstanding as a group.

This year, they are invited to participate in Fuse the world 2017 happening in Taiwan. If they figure out the time for teaching and making choreography, they might also apply for residency of Soulangh Artist Village. Hope to communicate their voice with unique European flavours, could be brought completely to the audience in Taiwan.

What’s the concept of this collective piece “Last” published this January?

In the whole picture, we hope to present how the mind tricks the realities and time in certain situations.This idea came from our daily training and the concept of time. Step by step, we decide the further direction with more specific research, especially regarding this topic so open and including millions of possibilities, we called it time. For us, we try to capture the different perceptions that human brains interact at certain situations. To make it more clear, just imagine the car accident. While human bodies receiving a traumatic injury, it extends the time longer than it actually is. Which means, you might feel like it’s half-hour accident, but it’s just within few seconds. In order to process this concept, we present people’s body languages in daily life, also to show the perceptions under circumstances. In addition, we blend in the relationships between us in a playful way for our audiences in the theatre. In the end, add up repertoires for replaying the human brain’s reactions toward new and habits, regarding the time differences.

Which city is the most suitable place for dance and creativities?

Diego: For me, the crucial point to decide is the characters of a city.
Marco: Places near sea and sunshine, maybe south of Spain. The best solution for me is to live in other cities in summer, and back to Berlin in the end of winter. As a city, Berlin brings us so many inspirations. Here is the place we start to know more people in the very beginning.
Carlos: Dance scene in Berlin is massive, but maybe not so much in breakdance and Hip Hop. Since they seem like against each other sometimes, although this situation is changing now. As a dancer, we still need to struggle a bit or making the ideas come out. But yes, Berlin is really nice, especially how supportive people are in conceptual creations. And now we are facing the new wave of dancing.
Juan: It feels good to create in Berlin like we mostly inspiring by surrounding people’s moving ways, music and architectures. There is a strong relationship between how we look like and how Berlin looks like. On the other hand, to stay in Berlin for the whole year is a bit tough, so we try to find the balance between different cities. Although people in Berlin seems like much more supportive of theatre art and creativities, compared to the warm cities like south of Spain or Italy.
Young Won: Berlin is nice, although any capitals in Europe countries might also work, it’s much more expensive to live in Paris and London. I was studying dance in a small town in Austria for five years. They support creativities with lots of sources, but in the end, no one comes to the theatre to see the performance. It made me miss the young spirits.

Dancer’s biggest inspiration is themselves. To embrace the imperfections of their body, so you can become perfect, by accepting the nature of human bodies.

How you describe the relationship between music and movements in your piece?

First of all, we enjoy dancing on the beats in some situations. But we found it more interesting when you have another layer of movements. In practices, we often use music with rich atmospheres, then we give it the beats from our own definitions. In this way, the dance seems more playful with vivid colours. For example, we play music and see how we feel about it by natural body movements, afterwards, we identify it with certain movement’s settings. So for us, the beginning of music research and choreography is separated, if we don’t feel good with the music, it would be strange to actually use it.

Best events/parties/festival you ever been?

Atonal, It was the very first time all of us went something together. Also the Mira Festival in Barcelona, it just happened two months ago when we first met Young Won. Altogether, we participated residency in Barcelona, and at the last weekend, we experienced all kinds of art like lightings, designs and installations in a party. It was inspiring to us. Besides, we all like Tim Hecker and saw the lives there.

With many thanks to Frantics and all members of Frantics
Photos & videos credit/ Alvaro S.Rodriguez, Derek Pedros, Projeto SOLO
Original article in Mandarin contributing to Red Bull please see the link

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