Getting connected with the impossible

Berlin-based choreographer and dancer Jared Gradinger talks about his pilgrimage to the Peruvian jungle in preparation for his latest piece being performed in TA this week

GERMAN DUO Angela Schubot (left) and Jared Gradinger perform ‘I Hope You Die Soon You Are Theirs.’ (photo credit: DIETER HERTOG)
GERMAN DUO Angela Schubot (left) and Jared Gradinger perform ‘I Hope You Die Soon You Are Theirs.’
(photo credit: DIETER HERTOG)
Connectivity is one of the most essential assets a contemporary dance artist can have. Being able to reach out to audiences and concepts comes part and parcel with wielding an art form that is ephemeral by nature and broadly abstract in practice.
Thirteen years ago, Jared Gradinger met a choreographer named Costanza Macras in New York City. The connection was immediate and set off a chain of events that will see Gradinger onto the stage of Tmuna Theater this weekend. Through Macras, whose home base is in Berlin, Gradinger met and connected with Angela Schubot, who will share the stage with him in a joint piece called I Hope You Die Soon You Are Theirs.
“In that piece of Costanza’s, which was about love and endurance, Angela and I made a duet together where we would jump and fall, simply and relentlessly. It was extreme and poetic. Here we found, among other things, an equality where we matched each other in our strength and risk taking, as well as some kind of ‘I have always known your body and you’ kind of thing. After that, we did a few more projects under the direction of Costanza, where we would always meet and explore a new and extreme physicality together,” explained Gradinger in a recent interview with The Jerusalem Post.
Gradinger is articulate and warm, with a full beard and shining eyes. His dance career took him through the northeastern United States and eventually to Europe, where he currently lives.
“In 2009, I was invited to make a work for the Pictopia Festival. I asked Angela if she wanted to make a duet with me in a gallery space. We created What They Are Instead Of. Angela was the first person I ever saw live thoughts through her body.
She made me understand something completely different about what a body could communicate and experience at the same time. She inspired me and I was curious about what we would do together in a different context. So, the starting point for that piece was ‘what if we already met 1,000 years before?’ What happens then?” The piece, in which Gradinger and Schubot uninhibitedly inhabit one another’s space and body, became an immediate success, establishing them as a fierce creative force.
Two years later, having run the gamut of the international festival scene with What They Are Instead Of, the duo returned to the studio to create Is Maybe. Similarly to the previous work, Is Maybe broke down the accepted boundaries between two people, presenting an alternative notion of coexistence.
With two successes under their collective belt, Gradinger and Schubot wanted to find new perspectives.
“We always like to try the impossible. And after the two previous works of searching for new forms of coexistence and what lies beyond intimacy, we asked ourselves what comes next? How far and where can this extreme co-existence take us? The one thing that we have to do alone is to die, so we decided to try to die together (on the stage of course).”
To continue their research, the two took a field trip to South America.
“The process for I Hope You Die Soon You Are Theirs officially started when we went to the jungle of Peru to take part in a few Ayahuasca ceremonies,” explained Gradinger.
“It was something we had both been curious about for a while and is itself a partial death. We had quite a deep experience there together, as you can imagine, and that dip into the unseen realms brought us to a new physicality of giving up.”
Upon returning to Berlin, the two got straight to work.
“We listened to a lecture by Robert Byrnes about what shapes and forms live in other forms, where the inside is the outside is the inside is the outside. We read from Richard Sylvester, a non-dualist and the author of a book called I Hope You Die Soon. Then we began by doing some extreme improvisation. We emptied all of the surplus of how we had previously moved together from our bodies and then the channel of breath came to us, connecting us as well as the crown to the kingdom, which is a concept that came from one of the Ayahuasca sessions.” The result, in Gradinger’s words is “enough, pure and connected.”
The performance of I Hope You Die Soon You Are Theirs is part of the Tmuna Festival in collaboration with Arkadi Zaides’ Moves Without Borders.
I Hope You Die Soon You Are Theirs will be performed at Tmuna Theater tomorrow at 2:30 p.m. For more information visit