Press Review

The ensemble is in demand and belongs to the best in the world.“
Tomasz Kurianowicz, Rbb-TV, 9 May 2020


“Of the seven works that could be seen during our stay in Freiburg, only one was utterly convincing: 'Mellowing' by Christos Papadopoulos with the Berlin 'Dance On Ensemble' for older dancers.“
Lilo Weber, Neue Züricher Zeitung, 08 March 2024

“A single choreography focused on the quality of dance and music: 'Mellowing' by the Dance On ensemble, consisting of dancers over 40 years old, gave a breathtaking demonstration of the complexity of contemporary dance in a minimalist choreography by Christos Papadopoulos.“
Bettina Schulte, Badische Zeitung, 27 February 2024

“Christos Papadopolous and the Dance On Ensemble – the Berlin-based company for dancers over 40 – made a lasting impression on the audience. To a minimalist-rhythmic soundtrack, the dancers begin in 'Mellowing' with small triple steps to the eighth beats of the music – a movement framework that runs through the entire performance as a bassa continuo. [...] The result of this finely choreographed performance is incredibly effective: a compelling pull is created that is almost impossible to resist.“
Torben Ibs und Peter Sampel, Tanznetz.de, 26 February 2024

“During the performance of 'Mellowing' [...], the many years of dance experience that come together on stage with the dancers of the Dance On ensemble create a pleasant sense of serenity. [...] But the slow, constant shifts of the bodies into ever new constellations quickly develop a pull. Perfectly coordinated and yet never completely synchronized, it is astonishing how much space remains for individuality in these simple movements.“
Rachel Oidtmann, Tanzschreiber, 24 February 2024

“‘MELLOWING’ is a school of vision. Whoever gets involved in the choreography will discover a wealth of details. And with each of the performers, individual nuances and subtleties can be discerned. It is a joy to watch these experienced and expressive dancers. In ‘MELLOWING’ they manage to keep the tension, to increase the intensity and to find freedom in the strict form. For all its simplicity, ‘MELLOWING’ is a complex and fascinating evening of dance. And the Dance On Ensemble has once again proven that it is an asset to the dance scene.“
Sandra Luzina, Tagesspiegel, 28 January 2023

“It is a great achievement to work through this choreography full of minimal variations. A task that the Dance On dancers seem to master effortlessly and even acknowledge with a malicious smile on their lips as if they wanted to tell us: Look here, if you thought we were making big leaps to prove to you what else we can do, you were wrong. At least that would fit the charming contradiction of this company. On the one hand, to put the topic of dance and age qua their own embodiment in the center and, on the other hand, not to want to let every choreography be measured by the question of age. But beyond this interpretation, which is perhaps much too round the corner, one could surrender with relish to the maelstrom of suggestion that ‘MELLOWING’ increasingly develops.“
Elisabeth Nehring, Deutschlandfunk Kultur, 27 January 2023


“It is the first of a series of atmospheres that follow one another, with the dancers evolving into ever more individuality. We hear a vintage song about wings and flying ('Up, Up and Away by the Ray Conniff Singers) on which Ziv Frenkel indulges in memories of his childhood in musical mode. Elsewhere an upbeat pop song after which the soundscape continues to do its work with subtle references to Indie or Latin rhythms. Invariably, the performers hold our attention. [...] It is wonderful to follow their individuality, their willfulness too, as when Omagbitse Omagbemi joins a group circle on her own time, no sooner. She shows her character. Through all their dance technical baggage, the group of performers present themselves first and foremost as people, and I believe them.“
Lieve Dierckx, pzazz, 27 May 2023

“‘Kiss the one we are is most beautiful to me in those moments when dance is allowed to speak for itself. In that sense, the final scene is a gem. To the beautiful music of Christophe Rault, the dancers together create a kind of human vortex reminiscent of photographs of galaxies or satellite images of storms and tornadoes. Endlessly they spin around as they move alternately from the outside to the core of the vortex. Meanwhile, they tenderly touch each other's faces, pulling each other close and pushing away from each other in a kind of echo of the opening scene. A clear and poetic image that vibrates long after.“
Esther Tuypens, Etcetera, 29 May 2023


“Especially in the exuberant finale, with a sudden light switch and color change in the costumes, this pulsating power is very tangible. No wonder the audience in Avignon stood upright for minutes during the applause. This sizzling dance performance was well worth the wait.“
Filip Tielens, De Standaard, 20 July 2021

“any attempt will end in crushed bodies and shattered bones is overwhelming because of the way in which the power of a large ensemble, so common for dance, is combined with the individual gait of many dancers. [...] A certain vulnerability emanates from the challenges Martens poses not only to his dancers, but also to himself. Everyone takes risks here, everyone is vulnerable. [...] The dancers visibly enjoy that last part. The performance is also very clearly a tribute to them - to the people who dare to stick their heads and their legs out on the stage of the world.“ [critic's choice]
Fransien van der Putt, Theaterkrant, 2 September 2021

“Any attempt... [...], Martens' first for the main stage, is a dance performance you would like to send everyone to. Compelling, hopeful, moving. And relevant.“
Francine van der Wiel, NRC, 29 October 2021


Company of the Year: “Berlin's Dance On Ensemble, whose 40+ dancers truly conjured a wheelwork of precision from fantastic kinetic power, formal resourcefulness and abstract clarity in their revival of Lucinda Child's ‘Works in Silence’.“
Vesna Mlakar, Müncher Abendzeitung

Best Stream: “‘Works in Silence’, choreographed by Lucinda Childs, re-staged by Dance On Ensemble – so simple and complex at the same time.“
Elisabeth Nehring, Deutschlandfunk Kultur, Deutschlandfunk, WDR

Most interesting production: “Jan Martens from Antwerp and Rotterdam proves with 'any attempt will end in crushed bodies and shattered bones' that streamed dance doesn`t need digital gimmicks to surprise.“
Andrea Kachelrieß, Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Stuttgarter Zeitung


“an inspiring experience that lasts 80 minutes entirely without gloom, although the momentary impossibility of properly savoring moments and days is once again brought home to you with brute-glass clarity.“
Vesna Mlakar, Münchner Abendzeitung, 28 November 2021


“It's a huge and must-see tribute to Merce Cunningham, the great abstract choreographer of the 20th century. And a demonstration of the power and quality of older dancers.“
Annette Bopp, tanznetz.de, 2. Mai 2023

“In this way, ‘Dancing Replies’ opened up an exciting view of how dance can be read differently, how material is passed on, how meaning emerges and fades.“
Katrin Bettina Müller, taz, 12 July 2021


“Dance On offers a new look on the still fresh avant-garde of yesteryear”
Jacq Algra, Het Parool, 9 July 2021

“‘Works in Silence’ has no music, but the rhythm of the audible steps. The dancers have to listen to each other so that everything works. The way the crossing and criss-crossing fills them with happiness is transmitted to the audience. Time flies.“
Katrin Bettina Müller, taz, 12 July 2021

“Not only for the choreographer, but for dance and dance history in general, these precise, reduced works show above all what the movement aesthetic of postmodern dance can be at its best: namely, an almost magical suggestion.“
Elisabeth Nehring, tanz, March 2021

“The recording is as pure as the pieces themselves and makes me incredibly curious to see them live. With their complex minimalism and their combination of formalism and vitality – exuberance, almost, while still maintaining a strong structure – they suit this company extremely well […] Their dancing is fantastic.“
Elisabeth Nehring, Deutschlandfunk Kultur, 18 December 2020


“A mature, multi-layered and moving work that cleverly and skilfully transfers images of violence and longing for humanity into the bodies and thus makes them directly experienceable for the audience.“
Annette Stiekele, Hamburger Abendblatt, 16 November 2019


“This evening is a highlight of the festival “Tanz im August”.“
Sandra Luzina, Tagesspiegel, 24 August 2019

The Dance On Ensemble avoids doing what other mature dance artists often practice: repeating routines while resisting any kind of engagement with the ongoing changes in society and the arts. The ensemble doesn’t fall into the trap of imitating a circus of youthfulness, neither does it lose itself in self-worship – as was the case from 1991 to 2006 with NDT III, Jirí Kylián’s renowned company of mature dancers.“
Helmut Ploebst, Der Standard, 25 March 2018

“Start training at 10, arrive on stage at 20, reach the pinnacle of your career at 30, quit at 40. The absence of wrinkles and flab virtually defines professional dancers, but physical decline will of course hit home eventually. When tweaks and twinges can no longer be ignored, it is time to change careers. Years of experience and a huge treasure of bodily knowledge suddenly count for nothing; aesthetic refinement and theatrical charisma are useless appendages. Unless someone like Madeline Ritter comes along, lawyer, pragmatist, pluralistic thinker. Why, she asked herself several years ago, do dancers quit their profession so early – or are rudely forced to do so? Ritter founded Dance On, an ensemble of six dancers. The main selection criterion was age: they had to have crossed the threshold of 40. In a short period of time, the sextet has shown great thrust and promise, making pioneering work. From ‘7 Dialogues’ to ‘Water between three hands’ and ‘Man Made’, they created a small repertoire tailored especially for mature – that is, expressive and self-assured – dancers.”
Dorion Weickmann, Süddeutsche Zeitung, 23 February 2018

“DANCE ON shows fantastic, skilful dance, making it entirely obvious how much potential would be lost if such dancers were not allowed to keep dancing.“
Eva-Maria Magel, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 2 December 2016


“Tellingly, the Dance On idea is delivered on this night not by a choreographer but the director Rabih Mroué and his duet ‘Elephant‘. Shaded pencil drawings of bodies lying on the ground are projected on to the back wall. They look like crime scene markings. Ty Boomershine recreates the figures in a square of light, watched by Jone San Martin. A photo of a dead body in water appears for just a moment. Refugees, death in the Mediterranean – the associations are inevitable. They are then strangely distorted into a dance for a couple in which the two dancers circle each other ever more closely. It seems they have lived a long life together. Something indescribable hovers in the background, a presence, a moment in the past that points to the future. All at once. It is an impressive piece.“
Michaela Schlagenwerth, Berliner Zeitung, 2 March 2018

“’Elephant’ is the name of the evening’s premiere. It was created by Rabih Mroué, a Lebanese artist living in Berlin who moves between the visual and the performing arts. He sends Ty Boomershine and Jone San Martin, both dressed in casual clothes, on a quest to find themselves. Imitating projections of pencil drawings by Mroué, they assume different poses on the floor. Then strips of lighting guide them through a labyrinth. Their angular strides and movements are accompanied by hissing and growling sounds and startled gasps. Even aggressive crowding out is part of their interactions. Every so often new connections light up on the floor. When the grid of light disappears and the entire stage of the HAU2 becomes visible, the two have to walk for an eternity along complicated, labyrinthine pathways – ironically to a recording of Hans Albers’ stirring ‘La Paloma’ – before they meet in the middle. Darkness envelops the pair, leaving everything open. An enigmatic, aesthetically pleasing piece of dance theatre for two of the presently five Dance On artists.“
Volkmar Draeger, Neues Deutschland, 2 March 2018


“At the end, all five dancers in Jan Martens' premiere Man Made rotate to hypnotic electronic music in a growing, fascinating frenzy of dance. Experience and quality involve each other – even and precisely in dance.“
Annette Stiekele, Hamburger Abendblatt, 13 March 2017

“Here, too, the dance manages at the start without any music at all; only the dancers' rhythmic foot movements can be heard. Each one shapes his or her own part with new individual patterns emerging time and again before dissolving imperceptibly into synchronicity, everyone doing the same thing together, then landing immediately back in separation again. At a certain point, a distant beat starts, rising gradually and mixing with other sounds (sound: Mattef Kuhlmey). In parallel with the increasing and decreasing intensity of light (lighting: Dominique Pollet) and the dynamic of the movements performed by the ensemble in simple black dancewear (costumes: Sophia Piepenbrock-Saitz), a hypnotic whole emerges that increasingly mixes and interweaves until the crescendo finally leads into fortissimo and the music stops suddenly, the dancers continuing to move in unison until the movement also reduces and dies away. Once again, we can see here that dancers aged over 40 bring precisely the degree of intensity and confidence to the stage that you'd like to see in every dance performance, the technique and agility of all these dancers also making a mockery of their age. One can only hope and wish that this ensemble continues for a long time yet, and that it may even get bigger.“
Annette Bopp, tanznetz.de, 13 March 2017

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Esther Ningelgen
Press and Communication
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Press Releases

Press release 12 December 2022
Dance On initiative receives renewed federal funding to focus on sustainability in dance

Press release 1 September 2022
Experts affirm Dance On’s exemplary nature and international reach

Newsletter Juni 2021
World premiere of "Making Dances -Dancing Replies" by Dance On Ensemble at Radialsystem Berlin

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