Talking with Hanna Hegenscheidt

Today I had a great conversation with Hanna Hegenscheidt a choreographer and teacher of Klein Technique based in Berlin. She was one of the first group of students to complete teacher training in Klein technique. She moved to New York in 1992 and a part from a short break when she came back to Germany, studied with Barbara and Susan for seven years before becoming certified in 2000. She then stayed in New York for a further four years teaching and performing before moving back to Berlin where she is now based.

I first saw Hanna’s choreographic work in September. Her piece ‘Bitte streicheln Sie hier’ – ‘Please stroke here’, worked with ideas of disconnection through the use of text, sound, lighting and body and focused on the relationship between a man and woman. Hanna works with actors and well as dancers and sees herself as a director more than a choreographer. She says that Klein technique changed the way she watched dance, how she moved and gave directions. ‘It allows the body to work from a more connected place but has larger implications of how we perceive and therefore create work’. Hanna’s practice in Klein is so integrated that it’s become part of how she sees. She says in the simplicity of Klein there is complexity. Her own choreographic work is highly complex and yet allows us to see the simplest of human relations making it very satisfying. This re-asserts my belief in depth of research leading to highly engaging yet accessible work.

When she first moved to Berlin, Klein technique wasn’t so well known and it took her a few years establish a larger base of students for the work. Walking into Labor Gras today I see a studio full of early morning students. Over twenty people! Though she says an average number is more like 11. Considering Berlin is such a late night city it says a lot of the work and Hanna’s teaching that so many folk gather. I ask her how many of her students are dancers and she tells me that most of them dance but aren’t necessarily ‘professionals’, whatever that means. There are also people studying dance theory and dance science as well as actors, musicians and an opera singer. She says it’s nice to have students that really apply themselves – for example some choreographers who might come for a week long intensive and then come back again in a few months after having really taken in and used the information. Most people who come with problems get something out of the work she says. And she’s always amazed at how quick the changes can be.

Her new work will be shown this September and she asks herself the questions: What’s my relationship to dance in my artistic work? What role does Klein play there?

She will focus on disconnecting movement and language even more: theatricality vs formality, detaching modes of expression from one another. She observes that it’s funny that Klein Techinique is so much about connection and integration, working with wholeness, making people feel stronger and on the surface her artistic work is the antithesis. Looking deeper her choreographic work may be about disconnecting various elements but in a funny way this makes more visible the connections between the interpersonal relationships of the performers and the mediums used.

In April Hanna is opening a new studio where she can rehearse her own work, research and teach from. There will also be a new class that focuses on how the principles in Klein can be taken into movement. A new website will come shortly but for now all information can be found at this address:

Below are some words I wrote after seeing Bitte streicheln Sie hier’

Bitte Streicheln Sie Hier
26/9/10 – So. 20.00h

Two people.
Spaces, sounds, small and tense.
Questioning: can you?
Yes and No.
You ruffle me, I’ll satisfy your primordial needs.

Here lie a couple figuring out:
The fun of it; the danger of it; the giving yourself up.
And the shuffling, ruffling, heavy breathing laughter.
How to exchange?
How to move from one place to another?

Vocal commands.
Orient yourself carefully….

Manipulatively the male and female psyche getting playful.
Trying to reason, trying to make a form but that form being constantly broken
because neither conforms!
One seeking conformity, the other seeking the moment.
Everything implied

Orgasmic delight yet so guarded and precious.


Rosalind (former MR Intern)

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