shifts is made up of David Brandstätter and Malgven Gerbes, a German-French duo who are dedicated to very unusual pairings. Sometimes they put together that most untheatrical of ghetto dances, krumping, which came from the French banlieues, to the stages of performing arts (Krump ‘N’ Break-Release, 2014). Sometimes they tie the dancers’ counting skill, so usual in choreography, to a joyful game: a group of people count from 1 to 100 without the next number being spoken by more than one person; should that happen, then the game starts all over again from the beginning (Festina Lente, 2013). If a sack of rice falls over in South Korea, faraway in the West they create organised lines of its contents and fine dance craft with a broom (Notebook from 2008, still touring today). In their latest work, Air, biography, ballet and care spell out the whole palette of meaning of their “shift”: the essential constant of their life project “art in movement” is that people and things change, pairings switch, meanings slip; it is an art that can actually only be changed by movement and therefore will never be a complete work. The four women portrayed in Air show a dance as if it was watching itself. This art of permanently changing the perspective has only one disadvantage: it will never be able to be a signature feature. But it also has one priceless advantage: it is very rare that such honesty is shown on stage as it is revealed by the artist group shifts.
shifts stands for the change from one defined condition to another and thus implies the dynamics of the transition. The name of the artist group founded by Malgven Gerbes and David Brandstätter in 2007 is indicative of their work method. The establishment of shifts was based on the conviction that constantly shifting perspectives, moving the point of balance, changing the point of departure, adjusting external parameters and switching between various approaches are the prerequisites for any serious and continuing analysis. Every piece zooms in on a question that interests the artists in particular and that they want to present to the audience.