Peter Pleyer

„With my roots in the Post-Judson avant-garde, I work on developing the idea of chance and collage by connecting dance improvisation, lecture-performance and oral history. Emancipation and diversity are my political watchwords.”

Ponderosa Trilogy / © Michiel KeuperP - Peter Pleyer Portfolio Performance Piece / © Michiel KeuperVisible Undercurrent / © Michael Rowsome



When he was born, Steve Paxton and Robert Rauschenberg were a couple. What would have happened if he would have been their son? Fantasies like this one from the Ponderosa Trilogy from 2015 are typical for Peter Pleyer, the expert in dance history and the dance scene. The piece is named after the Berlin dance scene’s summer quarters in the Oderbruch, close to the Polish border. Peter Pleyer strongly influenced developments with his teaching and discursive presence there; the place has decisively influenced the aesthetics of Berlin’s artists. Until he decided to free up time to become artistically active again in 2014, he was also primarily known as the director of the Tanztage Berlin – the annual festival for young talents. What remains is his developed pedagogic eros, which has been successfully raised to a choreographic principle in his work for Visible Undercurrent (2014), an archive of movement and meetings. Teaching and artistic practice have belonged together for Pleyer since his studies in Arnhem. In alternating attitudes, of the master as well as the novice, he has been researching in his unusual archive on post-modern dance and its (European) effects since then. Points of reference are the 1980s Aids crisis, contact improvisation, queer theory as well as a formal/aesthetic interest in ritual orders. Stylistically, these combinations lead Peter Pleyer to a mixture of lecture-performance and freestyle vogueing – understood as a tentative experiment of community-forming dialectics and enmeshed in his remarkable crochet art.
Astrid Kaminski 

Ponderosa Trilogy (2014)

Visible Undercurrent (2014)

Visible Undercurrent – kick off (2014)

p – peter pleyer portfolio performance piece (2015)




Peter Pleyer studied at the European Dance Development Centre (EDDC) in Arnhem before working with Yoshiko Chuma and Mark Tompkins as a dancer and choreographic assistant. He has lived in Berlin since 2000. From 2007 to 2014 he was artistic director of the Tanztage Berlin and from 2012 to 2014 a member of the Sophiensæle team. His interest as a choreographer and performer, dramaturge and coach, lies in finding new methods of integrating dance training, composition and improvisation into choreographic processes, such as, e.g., in the lecture-performance Choreographing Books or in Visible Undercurrent (2014). He teaches at various colleges and festivals in Europe and contributed to establishing a university course in Contemporary Dance in Berlin.