with stephanie maher

We will deconstruct patterns and pathways of coordination that no longer serve us. We will dive into an improvisational flow of integrative practices which draw from Kundalini Yoga, fake Klein Technique, Qigong, Contact Improvisation, release technique & Psychic Jogging! Our time will focus on the physical exploration and integration of our preconceptions of our various movement practices. Touch based healing? Goal orientated abstractions?Technique? Dance? Back-space alignment ? Compositionally raising questions where the use of an alchemical mind comes in. This focused potential can come into play for energetic pauses, transitions and shifts in our dance making and improvisational dancing.

Kundalini Yoga articulates and connects us to our energetic body. Kundalini is especially known to define itself “as a practice that is whatever you experience it to be”. We will learn the basic practice of Kundalini kriyas, which are exercises to raise body awareness, to activate the spine, and to engage in very specific breath work. We will accentuate the use of alignment and efficiency in our postures and activate questions about spiritual dogma, the meaning in movement and tune our attention to repetitive motion that possibly enhances strength, non-doing as an option and the need for freedom and fucking fun in our dancing bodies. Duration, mobility and skewing what is useful in our live's improvisational tool box.



Stephanie Maher is a dancer, choreographer, improviser and teacher originally based in New York and then San Francisco for 15 years. She is known for her breathtaking physicality and for creating works that express a unique blend of intimacy, sensitivity, and wild humor. She has been teaching performance making, Release-based techniques and Contact Improvisation in an International setting since 1992. In 1998 Maher relocated to Berlin, Germany where she continued to perform, organize, develop and teach in the community-based settings of K77 Studios in Berlin and founded the Ponderosa Tanz/Land Festival and P.O.R.C.H. with K. Hermesdorf, a module based summer school for aspiring professionals in Stolzenhagen, Germany.

Improvisationally structuring and unknowingly creating a life of curating dance between the urban and land, Maher's focus has deepened towards the small networkings of the international dance scene, trying to create an avenue of support for self realized, grassroots and non-profit organizations. This includes the facets of liminal, spontaneous, curious and often outspoken performance installations that are able to occur within the permissible events of Ponderosa-Work and art made at home. Since 200O- to the present Maher has defined and undefined the use of personal story, the relationship  to accepting chaos as a composition tool, identity based work and home as a collective experience. Maher recently finished an MFA in choreography from Smith College. Deep thanks and acknowledgement must go to her intimate art collaborators: Kathleen Hermesdorf, Peter Pleyer, Maria Francesca Scaroni, Keith Hennessy, Jess Curtis, Jules Beckman, Howard Katz Fireheart, Sten Rudstrom, Yoav Admoni, and Jen Polins.





The body work I facilitate invites the participants to look and treat the body as material, addressing its organic functions and spiritual potential as well as its cultural implications. The nature of the approach is eclectic and sources from ‘chi’ cultivation techniques such as Qi Gong and Pranayama (breathing techniques), spine and limbs patterns explorations (body connectivity, proprioceptive systems),  hands-on work (experimental body-alchemy teaching from Sara Shelton Mann) and elements of improvisation to transmute through different states. I use journeys and extended duration (either literal trance exercises drawn from dynamic meditation practices or shamanic journeys using visualization and movement) to flirt with the notion of ritual and personal/collective transformation, relying on trance and exertion, boredom and contemplation as tactics. The goal is to come to an understanding or to a state of questioning of the body’s borders, acknowledging it as multiple and idiosyncratic: codified, yet desirous of ecstasy and play, and seeking grounding and tenderness.

This laboratory suits anybody who is interested in the body as a site of knowledge, as a forest of symbols or simply as a phenomenon to be felt, visually, kinesthetically and verbally. A certain stamina is required, but no specific skill, therefore is open to any moving body.


Maria F.Scaroni did not formally train as a dancer. Moving and performing was at first a process of self- discovery and idiotic play in corners of her house, and later a remote fantasy. She started taking dance classes, focusing on jazz dance, and ended up being picked for television, performing both on national TV and for Berlusconi's private channels. Maria quit for political reasons and spent five years with a local company, training in release-based techniques with Manuela Bondavalli, and earning a Masters degree in Modern Literature and Media at the University of Brescia.

Her "euro trash" life begun in 2004 when she met Jess Curtis, with whom she trained, taught and performed, between Berlin and San Francisco until 2011. His company Gravity was dealing with various, very physical body practices, ranging from contact improvisation to acrobatics, via mixed ability contexts and theory. Maria got to know Jess' lineage in San Francisco and understood how, during the '80s and '90, a certain way of thinking around political theater and body politics had emerged. She plugged into this lineage and studied and performed with Sara Shelton Mann, a master, pioneer and visionary, Keith Hennessy - a radical queer activist and charismatic provocateur - and Stephanie Maher, whose active, punk disposition led her to move to Germany and initiate independent spaces and practices, landing in a project, Ponderosa/P.O.R.C.H. where she participates as teacher and collaborating artist.

In collaboration with Jess Curtis, Maria co-created The Symmetry Project (2007/2011), a mutable performance/ installation/media project based in a symmetrical and homologous movement practice. Highly affected by both dance and meditation, the SP marked Maria's discovery of duration, exhaustion and play with altered states of presence. By breaking away from strictly theatrical settings, addressing intimacy, sexuality, community and perception she met other artists and practices and in 2010 became part of AADK Berlin, an artistic network initiated by Vania Rovisco, Abraham Hurtado and Jochen Arbeit. Working with Vania Rovisco Maria developed another long-term project called The State of Things, in which the body and its materiality are the focal point (in this case, particularly the female body and its regimes of representation).

As a performer Maria has been in works by Juli Reinartz, Friederike Plafki, Hanna Hegenscheidt, Wilhelm Groener. Since 2011 she creates works with Meg Stuart/ Damaged Goods (the Politics of Ecstasy (2009), Auf den Tisch! (2011), Built To Last (2102), Sketches/Notebook (2013), Until our Hearts Stop (2015(). As well, she is performer in Tino Sehgal's This Variation (Documenta13) and Yet Untitled (Venice Biennale 2013). In 2014 with Frank Willens, created another mutable event called Towards Another Miraculous, based on the art of getting lost, walking and the fragile occurrences of what a space offers. Maria has developed a teaching practice of her own, teaching at festivals, dance - and public schools and universities (i.e. HZT Berlin, Poznan, Ponderosa/ P.O.R.C.H.)

Besides dancing, Maria almost always had another job. The most recurrent topics in her conversation are her concerns about Berlin’s gentrification, the exhaustion of the freelance lifestyle, how to fuck with pleasure with our dance lineage, how to reinvent modes of production within the making of art, divination and tarot and narrations or dance as the oracle.



Photography: Wet by Pavel Belchev, The Symmetry Project by Sven Hagolani, City Lights by Alexa Vachon & Iris Janke, Marc Seestaedt, Derek Fowles