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Bee Dances is an embodied exploration of what cultural exchange can mean in postcolonial times. How are different dance techniques inscribed in the bodies of the six dancers—from Indonesia and Europe—and how do flows of physical knowledge spread around the globe? Bee Dances maps the interconnections between contemporary dance as is often performed in Berlin and traditional Balinese dance techniques, tracing their interrelations through a series of interventions, interviews, reconstructions, and new choreographies. 


The famous Balinese love duet by I Mario, Oleg Tamulilingan, is a key reference, as is the “waggle dance” of Asian and European honeybees, first correctly described by German zoologist Karl von Frisch. The six dancers are accompanied by the contrabassist Klaus Janek and composer I Wayan Gede Purnama Gita’s gamelan musicians, whose digital presences float through the performance space on moving projection screens. Attempting to belong just as much to Berlin as to Balinese audiences, Bee Dances explores notions of responsibility and proximity through a probing mutual pollination of movements, concepts, languages, histories, physicalities, and performers.


This work is the first in a trilogy by Construction Company that seeks to juxtapose human and animal movement patterns in an effort to articulate what it means to be human through the lens of the more-than-human.

Developed during Kareth Schaffer’s Pina Bausch Fellowship (2018)


Artistic direction: Ninus, Kareth Schaffer | Performance: Tatiana Mejia, Vilja Mihalovsky, Ninus, K.S. Gitaswari Prabhawita, Kareth Schaffer, I Putu Wibi Wicaksana | Music: Klaus Janek, I Wayan Gede Purnama Gita & Kemala Entertainment | Production: Marius Mailänder, Ruth Onduko | Publicity: Michael Tsouloukidse | A production by Ninus and Kareth Schaffer, funded by the Senate Department for Culture and Europe – Project Funding, the International Co-Production Fund of the Goethe Institute, and Tanzfabrik Berlin.


With the kind support of the Berlin Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia, Lenggang Pertiwi and Ketut Rahayu.


                    “Bee Dances plunges into mutual seductiveness. Not blindly, not without colonial-historical knowledge, but with wonder, playfulness and research”

— Astrid Kaminski for Die Tageszeitung

                   “[The ensemble] becomes a hive with elegance, softness, and a sense of love for dance as an extensive communication system.” 

—Elisa Frasson for tanzschreiber

                    “Ninus and Schaffer show good judgment in first working through the history in the style of a lecture demonstration … at first still strictly separated according to language and origin, at the end the points of view of the two seem to converge, even exchange —just as happens at the end of Bee Dances 

… And as if they were mirror neurons, both movements seem to gradually align: a choreographic interplay of give and take, which is given an exhilarating liveliness by the learning delays of the individual … The dance transfer never gets boring —and because the participants keep interspersing explanations, it is instructive on top of that”

—Hartmut Regitz for Tanznet

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