DIN A 13 is twenty years old. But an anniversary like that is almost too normal to interest a dance company like this. And anyway, what is normal? The company’s name, for one, is ingenious: a reference to a standard paper format that doesn’t exist. The energy with which choreographer Gerda König in Cologne has stuck to her guns is incredible, in the independent scene and as co-founder of the network Barnes Crossing. In fact she has done more than just stick to her guns: A qualified psychologist who sidestepped into dance theatre, she has gone out of her way to bring her work to the people, to Africa and South America, and most recently to Israel and Sri Lanka. There is always risk involved, the dancers are always changing; some only just became dancers with her and her team. The company’s pieces, which transform this vulnerability into the strength to succeed on stage, in front of an audience, are always astounding. Because they are so simple and yet so difficult for the audience. “Challenges viewing habits” is a phrase which has been so overused by theatre publicists it should really be banned. But here, for once, it is absolutely right. DIN A 13 really does open the audience’s eyes and broaden their horizons by its considerations of what dance is, who can dance and who can be on stage, and with which body. “Mixed abled” is the official term for the combination. Over the years Gerda König has staged fights, amorous advances, loneliness and togetherness, i.e. a whole lot of feelings, some of them contradictory. DIN A 13, too, is both contradiction and affirmation. Who wants to be normal? Nobody, everybody. The question leads nowhere; this company is concerned with more important things.
Gerda König studied Psychology at the University of Cologne before she founded the DIN A 13 tanzcompany in 1995. Her choreographic career is characterised by the vision of using the quality of movement in “other bodies” in order to develop new aesthetic approaches to a contemporary dance language. In 2005, she initiated Dance meets differences, a project with the objective of promoting exchange between cultures and which started up new mixed-abled companies. Her artistic creation is characterised by a continued investigation of cultural realities, traditions and politically determined and socially defined conditions. This gives her choreographies a distinctive character.
Gerda König 2006