writing, dancing,traveling, maturing.
„Turtle becomes baseball trainer“ I confess, as a journalist I did not write about that topic, but….
The State Opera Ballet, Cirque du Soleil and God’s Entertainment have not engaged me as a dancer, but…..
Chateau Lafite -Rothschild and I we haven’t matured the same way, but….
The Pleiads, Tuvalu and Bishop’s Rock haven’t been on my travel list, but…….
I’m a journalist, writer, performer, an ageing person and I was a traveler.
What has happened since my birth
•born in Vienna 1946
•Elementary School, High School.
•PhD from the Vienna University in journalism and art history
University lecturer at the Institute for Journalism and Communication of the Salzburg University
Decades of work as a journalist and chief editor with the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation ORF (Radio and TV)
My curiosity never stops. Everything moves.
From Musicbox (Ö3, Austrian Radio) to Radiokolleg (Ö1, Austrian Radio)
As a journalist, I have covered almost anything you can write about and report. My favorite topics include:
Space with all of its galaxies, quarks, strings, higgs, neutrinos, solar winds. Quantum physics, nano technology. Seeds and gene banks. Sustainable and alternative concepts of thinking and living. Refugees. Women topics.
Ageing. Art and medicine. Therapies for body and soul. Shamanism. Humor. Dance. Intercultural philosophy and medicne. Literature from Asia, Africa, Arabic countries, Latin America.
I started as a radio journalist with the legendary “Musicbox” on Ö3 (Austrian radio): progressive, rebellious, creative, critical and questioning. Very questioning. The next radio program was called the “Minibox“, which received the Grand Austrian State Prize for Journalist Achievements on behalf of youth, as well as the Karl Renner Prize.
Then I worked for Ö1, which is THE Austrian cultural broadcasting program. I was executive editor of the series “Nova. Abenteuer. Perspektiven. Utopien“ (Nova. Adventure. Perspectives. Utopias), dealing with future-oriented topics. It was 1998!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I loved this „Nova“, but not everybody appreciated the topics, so the turned it down.
I also served as executive editor for the series “Radiokolleg”. This series has been regarded as the most important acoustic example for educational Radio in Austria.
Idea, conception and realization of “password science” (“password wissenschaft”), at that time a really innovative multi-media event at Radiokulturhaus- today 2021- everybody combines art and sciences- but at that time information, music, film, literature, and dance on topics such as nano technology, quantum physics, Einstein, hands, and spiders were really innovative.
Numerous moderations and co-operations on folders, writer of short stories, film scripts and the book „Bald alt? Na und!“, edition a, Austria, in the sense of „Soon old? Don’t worry.“
Organization of international cultural events with peoples from Korea, Benin (Afrika) Malaysia.
Co-founder of the association „AGE COMPANY“, an innovative project of dance performances for peoples 60+
Second-chance education in a nutshell: I move, therefore I am.
Arts and cultural mediation: Dance is a global language.
Researching dance on-site: Dance as a ritual, medicine, and elixir of life
A dancer performing at age 65 ? Why not. At the AGE COMPANY.
The soul inspiring the body: Later works, expressed in dance.
I move, therefore I am
The career of a late starter
It all began at the ImPuls Tanz Festival in Vienna. I was watching the dancers from the gallery, not yet daring to participate in a workshop. First, I was already past forty. Second, dance had a rather negative image among intellectual writers at that time. Then I daringly participated in a workshop run by Harmen Tromp, renowned dancer and co-founder as well as co-director of Tanztheater Wien (Vienna Dance Theater).
A few months later, dance workshops started to become a continous part of my life: Urban Tribal Dance with Charleston Marquis, Belly and Swirl Dance with Fawzia as Rawi, Shamanic Dance with Hiah Park, Haitian Dance with Karine LaBel, annual ImPuls workshops with Elio Gervasi, Martin Kilvády, Charmeine LeBlanc, Terence Lewis, Milton Myers, Andreja Rauch, Ted Stoffer, Doris Uhlich, Angélique Wilkie, Samantha van Wissen, and many more. Last but not least, workshops with Ismael Ivo and Koffi Kôkô.
Since 2000, I have participated four times at the international dance workshops with Koffi Kôkô in Ouidah, Benin. They always take place in the first part of January.
Since 2008, I have been a performer with the AGE COMPANY, which I co-founded.
I have organized and co-organized dance events in Vienna, featuring Corea, Benin, and Malaysia.
“Trance Formation”, a shamanic performance with Hiah Park, at the Odeon Theater in Vienna. Hiah Park stated in an interview for NOVA (Ö1, Austrian Radio): “Shamans see the invisible, hear the inaudible and touch the intangible.“
“Daedong Kut“, ritual performance with Kim Keum-Hwa, “National Living Treasure” from Corea. “Kut” is a Corean shamanic ritual regarded as a powerful process of cleansing penetrating anxiety, conflicts, and confusion, thus re-establishing the lost balance in the individual and society.
Gèlèdè, Dance of Masks, in a stage version by Koffi Kôkô, Tanzquartier Wien. Gèlèdè from Benin, a republic in western Africa, is on UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage List.
For more, see “Dance as a ritual, medicine and elixir for life”
“Spellbound. Odissi live”, Performance and workshop of Sutra Dance Theatre, Kuala Lumpur, at Salvator Saal (Salvator Hall), Vienna. The Sutra Dance Theatre, part of the Sutra Foundation, ist the most important cultural institution in Malaysia. The Sutra Dance Theatre was founded in1983 by Ramli Ibrahim.
I researched in Benin, Brasil, Malawi, and Marocco for an 80-minute radio feature.
Danced Meditation, Benin.
Quidah. Politicians, kings, high priests, musicians, and dancers gather at the beach. Since 1996, Vodou has been acknowledged as state religion in Benin, a western African republic, marked by January 10, official religious holiday.
Koffi Kôkô, dancer, choreographer, and initiated priest:
„In the African culture of Vodou, meditation does not mean to close one’s eyes and mouth, and sit still. During the ceremony, we use dance to communicate. Dance is our prayer, this is the philosophy.”
A visit to a healer in Malawi.
The “waiting room” consists of a gray pad lying in red sand. Sitting on it are five younger women in blouses and wrap skirts, with their “instruments for treatment”, a cup with herb infusion, a bowl with cassava flour, a mud-green blanket, a plate with sand and dried herbs, and jingle bells. The women are waiting for the anesthesists to arrive, i.e. the musicians. It is a cool evening, which means that the drums need to be warmed over the open flames. Then, everything is ready. Mary Sayenda, the director of the Vimbuza clinic in Gombe, Malawi, makes one of her patients inhale herb fumes and covers her with a blanket. The drummers start playing, supported by the village community’s singing and clapping. The villagers have gathered around the “clinic”. Mary lifts the blanket from her patient and covers her body with herb infusion. The patient gets jingle bells on her belly and ankles. Then, Mary draws a circle around the pad, using cassava flour: This is the stage, the arena, the treatment room. The patient will dance within this circle to get rid of her disease, often called “big, big head ache”.
US anthropologist Steven Friedson calls this form of obsessiveness “institutionalized trance” because trance there is an accepted part of culture, not something pathological. In an interview for my radio show, he said: “In many african cultures esthetics and healing are not seperate areas of knowledge and understanding, but mixed together in profound ways. Healing is still an art form in Malawi, because it involves esthetic forms as part of the medical technology.”
Getting old(er) is neither an achievement nor a disease. It’s part of life. We older people don’t want to be put on the back burner but take part in an active way in all parts of society. We want to be seen and heard. We want to have space in public.
Best-practice example: the AGE COMPANY. People who are sixtie and older develop and present contemporary dance performances.
I was not only a co-founder of the AGE COMPANY. I also perform on stage. I indulge in being courageous.
At present, the AGE COMPANY consists of 14 women and men. Nicole Berndt-Caccivio is our art director. She is a dancer, choreographist, and dance teacher, living in Berlin/Germany and Biel/Switzerland.
Since founding the AGE COMPANY in October 2008, we performed on Austrian and German Stages , at institutions and in public spaces. Since autumn 2019 we have been cooperating with „Dschungel, Theatre for young peoples“ in Vienna, Museumsquartier.
Thre is also a documentary about us corncerning our first years:
„Was heißt denn hier Ruhestand“ (Retirement, What’s That?), is a film by Kurt Brazda (director) and Benjamin Epp (camera).
The AGE COMPANY as an innovative project strongly correlates with the positive influence of art and creativity on the health and well-being of everybody, therefore also on ageing people. Dance is one of the oldest forms of art and one of the primordial ways of expression. It has been shown that dance is not only a very efficient training for body and mind. Dancing also improves creativity and memory, thus doing its bit to keep up physical and mental mobility.