Wednesday: Karola Luttringhaus

September 25, 2013 § Leave a comment

Karola Luttringhaus performing "Stillicidium". Photo by Chris Walt.

Karola Luttringhaus performing “Stillicidium”. Photo by Chris Walt.

Karola Luttringhaus, artistic director/founder of ALBAN ELVED DANCE COMPANY, has created a solo work, “Stillicidium: Ode to the Unimportant,”  for the NCDF 13-14 touring season. Over the summer, our marketing intern, Olivia Mitchell, had the chance to ask her about the work and background as an artist:

You’re currently creating a new work for the NCDF 2013-2014 season. What is usually a starting point for you in choreography? Do you begin to form ideas in a certain way or is each work different?
K: Each work has its own process.

What is your inspiration for this new work?
K: Reflections of all sorts, inner, outer, visual, emotional and with the audience. But I am going to remain open for new directions should they present themselves along the way. So the piece might change substantially from its original form.

How do you use your other creative outlets as an artist to help shape your choreography?
K: All creative outlets, all forms of expression, shape each other, are intertwined and not really separable from one another in my work.  My involvement as a set designer is hugely influencing my choreographic work and vice versa. Analytical thinking and carving out concepts are key here. Simplicity also.

Growing up in Berlin, Germany, what do you enjoy most about creating work and dancing there? How does the dance culture in Europe differ from the dance culture here in the states?
K: Artists that perform in Berlin are constantly pushing boundaries, reinventing themselves and developing the art form. I feel things moving and breathing here, hitting walls, and being vulnerable (which is so good to see). Audiences are not afraid, they want to see art, not be entertained. They expect to be challenged, presented with something perhaps that they did not expect, but definitely with something honest and fearless. In Germany, the theatre seems to be a place where the ugly and the demented, the desperate and the despicable can be viewed and acknowledged as part of life, where desire and foolishness are tried out and made visible. Theatre is made to put up a mirror of society. I feel no need to censor my work [in Germany], whereas in the US I am constantly feeling restrictions, and am being censored a lot, actually. Berlin, which has a very international and vibrant dance scene is tremendously inspiring in many ways.

You seem to devote a lot of your time traveling between Germany and NC. When you’re in NC how are you involved with the dance community here?
K: Work takes me to many different  places for several weeks or months at a time. I organized a festival in 07 and 08 that brought together many performing artists from across NC…and I am hoping to get that rolling again in 2014. I also offer regular classes and workshops in Wilmington when I am there. Overall the process of obtaining funds and running a company in NC has become more and more bureaucratic, political and in the end detrimental to real creativity and growth.

What are you currently working on other than your work for the festival? Any upcoming shows, projects or workshops?
K: I am currently finishing up my Masters in Scene Design in Berlin, which has taken a lot of my time.The next thing is the NCDF! Then I will be working with the Moving Poets Theatre of Dance (we also work together in Berlin), on a production they are doing in late October in Charlotte, NC.  In May 2014 I will be working again with the Landesbuehnen Sachsen in Germany, where I just wrote and directed a new play/dance theatre piece. For September 2014 I am hoping to organize a third SARUS Festival for Performing Arts and Dance in Wilmington, including beach performances and a lot of interesting arts events and workshops. The festival was received very well by audiences and artists in 07 and 08, but did not get sufficient funding to be continued a third year in a row. Hopefully the funding situation will be positively different in 2014. I am looking for people who are interested in being involved in the planning and logistical aspects of it.

Who is your all time favorite dance artist/company?
K: There isn’t just one… A few of my favorite dance artists are: Josef Nadj, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Alias Compagnie, Marie Chouinard, Zero Visibility Corp., Gideon Obarzanek/Chunky Move, Sascha Waltz, Konstanza Macras/Dorky Park, Pina Bausch, Ohad Naharin, compagnie EA EO, Mathilde Monnier, and Frederick Gravel.

Any advice for upcoming choreographers?
K: Better not. Everyone makes their own experiences and shapes their own future. The only thing I feel is worth a damn at this point is: to be true to your heart and do what you want.

Curious about “Stillicidium”?  Visit our calendar to find out where the work will be performed next on the NCDF tour.

Watch excerpts of some of Alban Elved’s recent dance works in this short video:

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