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Japanese Dance Scholar and Dance Dramaturge Dr. Nanako Nakajima Is New Valeska Gert Visiting Professor at Freie Universität Berlin

Public Opening Event on October 22

№ 283/2019 from Sep 30, 2019

The Japanese dance scholar and dance dramaturge Dr. Nanako Nakajima is the new Valeska Gert Visiting Professor at Freie Universität Berlin during the 2019/2020 fall/winter semester. She will be teaching a seminar, where she will work with students on a Berlin version of the Dance Archive Box, a project conceived by Singaporean theater director Ong Keng Sen and initially developed in Japan and Singapore with contemporary and traditional artists from the Asia-Pacific region. Dr. Nanako Nakajima will present her work with the Dance Archive Box at a public event on October 22, when she will also carry on a conversation with Ong Keng Sen, linking her work with the Dance Archive Box and her research on the aging body in dance. The event will take place in the Akademie der Künste. In addition to Dr. Nanako Nakajima and Ong Keng Sen, Professor Gabriele Brandstetter (Freie Universität Berlin) and Nele Hertling (Akademie der Künste) will also participate. The event will take place in English, and admission is free.

Nanako Nakajima was a research fellow at the Interweaving Performance Cultures International Research Center at Freie Universität Berlin from 2014 to 2015. She has worked as a lecturer at several universities in Japan. Her main research interests are the aging body in dance, the archiving of movement, and dance dramaturgy. She is a certified expert on traditional Japanese dance.

Ong Keng Sen conceived and realized the Dance Archive Box project for the Japanese Saison Foundation from 2013 to 2015. Seven contemporary dance artists from Japan archived their works based on certain methods and created an archive box, which they then passed on to artists with a different background for re-performance. The artists involved in the project deal with questions about contemporary Japanese dance, which has emancipated itself from the traditional system of family schools and the master-disciple relationship in the transmission of artistic tradition. How is it possible to separate a dance from its historical background and make it accessible to all through the Dance Archive Box? What does it mean to share a dance without having shared the time of its creation? How do we reconstruct whose history, and for whom? Which dance aspects of the past should be passed on as an archive for the future?

In the seminar, students of dance studies at Freie Universität Berlin will receive an archive box containing documents from foreign dance movements, such as drawings, hand-written notes, pieces of costumes, recordings, or a letter. The aim of the seminar is to develop a Berlin Dance Archive Box through dramaturgical and performative engagement with the box material, thus practically investigating the archiving and reconstruction of movement.

The Valeska Gert Visiting Professorship is hosted in collaboration between the Institute of Theater Studies at Freie Universität Berlin, the German Academic Exchange Service, and the Akademie der Künste (Academy of Arts).

Press Image

Nanako Nakajima

Nanako Nakajima
Image Credit: Kanno Kento.

The photo is available free of charge for download by members of the media for use in the context of the press release. Be sure to cite the source.

Further Information

Times and Locations

Opening Event

  • Tuesday, October 22, 2019, 7 p.m.
  • Akademie der Künste, Clubraum, Hanseatenweg 10, 10557 Berlin (subway station: Hansaplatz, U9)

Concluding Event

  • Tuesday, February 11, 2020
  • Akademie der Künste, Pariser Platz 4, 10117 Berlin (S- und U-Bhf. Brandenburger Tor)


Alexander H. Schwan, Institute of Theater Studies, Department of Philosophy and Humanities, Freie Universität Berlin, Tel.: +49 30 838-757 15, Email: alexander.schwan@fu-berlin.de