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Felix Ruckert studied dance in Berlin, at the Folkwang Hochschule, Essen and in Paris and New York, from 1982-1992. His most influential teachers were Malou Airaudo, Jean Cebron, Hans Zuellig, Peter Goss, Barbara Mahler and Alberto Corvino.
Already during his formation he started working on his own choreographies. They first received public attention by winning awards at choreographic competitions in Cagliari (1987) and Hannover (1989). Cut, premiered in Paris in 1992, caused a first scandal: the performance was highly sexual and for the first time invited the audience to interact with the dancers.
While creating these early pieces he continuously worked as a dancer: He participated in the first three productions of Wanda Golonka / VA Wölfl – Neuer Tanz, Düsseldorf (1987- 1989) and then spent three years in France, dancing in choreographies of of several exponents of the jeune danse française such as Jean-Francois Duroure (1990), Mathilde Monnier (1991), Sidonie Rochon and Charles Cré-Ange (1991). In 1992 he joined Pina Bausch’s Wuppertaler Tanztheater, where he interpretated various pieces of the repertory, including Le Sacre du Printemps, Viktor, Auf dem Gebirge…, Kontakthof, Blaubart and Palermo, Palermo. He also participated in the creation of Das Stück mit dem Schiff (1992) and Trauerspiel (1993).
In 1994 he left the company to work as a nomadic choreographer. His improvisation project Die Küche, (1993-1995), a performance ritual of several hours featuring up to 30 local dancers and musicians was performed in 12 major european cities. In 1995, invited by Dock 11, Berlin, he created the first version of Hautnah – a collection of solo-performances for solo-spectators – which founded his international reputation. After two years of refining the concept, Hautnah was shown at the Tanzplattform Germany in 1998 and, in 1999, was listed by the New York Times amongst the ’10 most important performances of the year’. The piece was presented 243 times all over the world.
The following productions Krapplack (1997), Schwartz and Eden Projekt (1998), Ring and Choreographisches Projekt (1999), deluxe joy pilot (2000), Stillen, City Sleepers, Blind Dates (2001), Secret Service (2002), MushRoom (2003), Love Zoo (2004), Messiah Game (2005) and United Kingdom (2006) continued surprising both supporters and antagonists with radical decisions in the work concerning its contents and by questioning the usual audience/performer relationship. Very often Felix Ruckert gives the audience an active role in the performance and confronts it with intense and longlasting emotions and therefore his name became a reference for participatory performance.
He nevertheless continued working on conventional stages exploring pure movement and improvisation structures, often invited as a guest choreographer by international ballet companies: Tools and Tricks… for Ballet du Rhin (2002), Venus in Hanoi for the National Ballet of Vietnam (2004), tokyo-tools for Star Dancers Ballet Tokio (2005), Betwixt&Between at Kampnagel, Hamburg (2006), Engenho for the Ballet Teatro Castro Alves, Salvador da Bahia (2008) being examples of this part of his work with classically trained dancers. From 1998- 2006 the company received support from the Senate of Berlin, after that produced independently. It is regularily supported by the Goethe Institut for international tours and workshops. Felix Ruckert has been invited to choreograph by various foreign institutions and companies in Antwerp, Brussels, Cagliari, Helsinki, Paris, Prag, Lausanne, Lissabon, Montreal, Toulouse, Hanoi, Tokyo and Kyoto.
From 2006 on he started to include narrative elements in his pieces, extensively using voice and texts in performances such as On Pain and Presence (2006) and Spaces for Stories (2009). In the same years he also created performance-installations focussing on reduction of movement in rather technical sets and meditative settings: Placebo Treatment (2005), Water Music (2006) and Die Farm (2008).
In July 2004 Felix conceived and curated the first edition of the xplore Festival which took place at Dock 11 in Berlin. Since then every year in July the festival gathers a large number of international presenters and some hundred artists, BDSM–folks and other free spirits, who come together for workshops, lectures and talks on creative sexuality, BDSM and Tantra. xplore can be categorized as Social Choreography and promotes an Ars Erotica in the sense of Foucault’s writing. Starting in 2011 local versions of xplore were organized in Sydney, Australia, in Paris, Barcelona, Vienna and Rome. In 2015 the Berlin event moved to Alte Börse in Berlin-Marzahn where it currently gathers around 600 participants each year.
In March 2007, Felix Ruckert opened his own venue in Berlin: schwelle7, dedicated to participatory work and experimental body practices. He curated, created, taught, performed and lived there until May, 2016. Besides its focus on Dance and Body Art schwelle7 also proposed workshops dedicated to practical and technical aspects of SM-Play, looking into theoretical, esthetic or philosophical issues related to BDSM.
schwelle7 tried to examine connections, parallels and gateways between the world of Art and Sexuality. Part of this research was the conception, curating and hosting of the first Touch&Play Festival in May 2010, in collaboration with Daniel Hayes.
Lecturers and artists presented at schwelle7 included Peter Banki, Mona Blue, Stephan Dreher, Dossie Easton, Janet Hardy, Stéphane Fratti, Stanislav Grof, Matthias T.J. Grimme, Richard Hancock, Julyen Hamilton, Mo Herzinger, K.J. Holmes, Traci Kelly, Daniel Lepkoff, Barbara Mahler, Paula L. Rosengarthen, Pipaluk Supernova, Maggie Tapert, David Zambrano, La Zampa, to just name a few. Masters of Kinbaku- Japanese Rope Bondage- teaching and performing at schwelle7 included Osada Steve, Arisue Go, Nawashi Kanna, Midori, Hajime Kinoko, Akira Naka, Ren Yagami amongst others.
At schwelle7 Felix Ruckert further developed the idea of art as celebration. He experimented with projects on the border between performance and party, such as the monthly full moon play party The Aristocracy of Desire, the silent play party Ocean of Other, the Play Fight Club, the Bowen Lounge, the schwelle7 Orchestra and the weekly Bondage Jam.
In 2011, together with singer Christine Borch and double bass player Andy Benz he formed the pop band CHASTITY. The band released the album STAINS&SPLATTER in March 2013.
In 2012 he initiated an event called EURIX – European Rigger & Model Exchange – which is dedicated to the development of Kinbaku (Japanese Rope Bondage) as an art form. Twice a year the event presents the most innovative of mostly european rope artists and gathers a large crowd of aficionados for practice, research and theoretical exchange.
Choreographies and other creations 1987 to 2017
1987 Arbeiten/Schlafen/Essen_____1988 An/Aus_____1989 Trash_____1990 Freier Fall_____1991 Fauves_____1992 Cut_____1993-1995 Die Küche_____1995 Cibo_____1995 Hautnah’Berlin’______1995 Hafenlos_____1996 Hautnah ‘Brussels’_____1996 Hautnah ‘Berlin II’_____1996 Interferenze_____1996 Hautnah ‘Hamburg’_____1997 Krapplack_____1998 Schwartz_____1998 Eden Projekt_____1999 Ring_____1999 Hautnah ‘Montréal’_____1999 C P_____1999 Sbalit_____2000 Stillen_____2000 Kalam_____2000 City Sleepers, Station Scores, Blind Dates_____2000 Jinnen_____2000 deluxe joy pilot_____2001 tXt_____2002 Secret Service_____2002 Hotel Leipzig_____2002 Love University_____2002 Gender Observation_____2002 The Interviews_____2003 Tools…and Tricks for Survival in Outer Space (Ballet du Rhin)_____2003 MushRoom_____2004 Love Zoo_____2004 xplore Festival Berlin (-> ongoing)_____2004 Venus in Hanoi or the Art of Getting Lost (National Ballet of Vietnam)_____2005 Messiah Game_____2005 Schmerz Konstruktion Schmerz_____2005 tokyo-tools: multiple choices and glorious routine (Star Dancers Ballet, Tokio)_____2005 Placebo Treatment_____2006 United Kingdom_____2006 Water Music_____2007 schwelle7 (-> 2016)_____2007 Betwixt and Between_____2007 On Pain and Presence_____2008 Die Farm_____2008 Engenho (Ballet Teatro Castro Alvez, Salvador da Bahia, Brazil)_____2009 Spaces for Stories_____2010 Lust und Lügen / Lust and Lies_____2011 CHASTITY (pop band with Christine Borch& Andy Benz)_____2011 Dryade – a dark fairy_____2011 xplore Festival Sydney (->2014)_____2012 EURIX – European Rigger & Model Exchange (-> ongoing)_____2012 Zero Gravity Zone_____2012 I am not your mother_____2012 xplore Festival Barcelona_____2012 xplore Festival Vienna (->2014)_____2012 xplore Festival Roma (->ongoing)_____2013 I am your mother_____2013 xplore Festival Paris_____2016 S_M_Sensual_Magic_____2016 Radically Happy_____2016 Violently Happy (Film by Paola Calvo)____2017 xplore Festival Copenhagen (->ongoing)_____2017 Morbid Evolution, Interview in Ropes, Not enough, Rope without Rope (Rope Bondage Performances)
More information about all my choreographies: -> Dance
Felix Ruckert is a dancer, choreographer and curator. He occasionally also directs workshops on BDSM practices, sexual awareness and his interpretation of Japanese Rope Bondage.
30 years ago he started as a dancer working with several renowned companies (for ex. Pina Bausch’s Wuppertaler Tanztheater) before concentrating on choreography, conceptual work and choreographic installations. Between 1993 and 2008 he created more than 30 evening length performances for his own company in Berlin; some of those toured worldwide. He strongly influenced the performing arts by expanding the stage to the physical body of the audiencs and giving it an active role in his performances. His experimental dance pieces, his participatory work and his choreographies for ballet companies earned him an international reputation as one of the most versatile and innovative contemporary choreographers.
He always was- and still is- interested in all sort of body techniques. He studied ballet, modern and contemporary dance, Improvisation, Feldenkrais, Pilates, Yoga, Chi Kung, Kinomichi, Kyudo, Massage techniques, Tantra, Kinbaku and much more. In the last twenty years he got very involved in a practical and theoretical investigation of BDSM and the exploration of connections between BDSM techniques and artistic practices, developing an art of touch and a philosophy of sensual communication.
From 2007 to 2016 he directed the art venue schwelle7 in Berlin as a fusion of a kinky club, a dance studio and a private living room: a permanent performance on the threshold between the private and the public. By inviting many japanese masters to schwelle7 and he also played a major role in the popularization of Kinbaku – Japanese Rope Bondage- in Europe.
Since 2004 he curates the annual festival xplore in Berlin and its international branches, with 25 editions so far. Since 2012 he also directs the EURIX, a bi-annual festival in Berlin dedicated to the development of Rope Bondage as an art form.