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State Ballet School, Berlin

gmp Architekten

Disclosing a building and the activities at the State Ballet School in Berlin.


Dance requires commitment, discipline and perseverance. This short film shows the activities at the State Ballet School in Berlin, where scholars work every day to become dancers in their near future. In the meantime, the video reveals the qualities of the building hosting great efforts as well as great expectations.

The construction followed the architecture competition held on 2006 won by gmp von Gerkan, Marg and Partners Architects. The overall architectural concept focuses on the special nature of the school, with its constant ebb and flow of pupils between the creative world of dance and the classic functions of full-time academics. The building has two main volumes which face one another and are connected by a curved hall hosting distribution and social functions. The hall is the place where pupils can stop, gather, and socialize a bit, thanks to its visual openness on the four levels and to its dimensionality. Large display-window openings in the building's facades provide transparency and a view of the outside world for the dancers and give passers-by a glimpse of the ballet rooms and dance training.

Hans Georg Esch and Oliver Schwabe, the filmmakers, often collaborate with gmp in featuring their projects through moving images. In this short film, the camera lingers both on overall views and details. The abstract geometries of the building features in some scenes find balance in frames where students are protagonists, featuring their physical efforts during lessons or having small breaks. The short film also features some support spaces, such as the dressing rooms, cleats depot, or costume shop.

Authors icon Credits

Architect: gmp Architekten
Mentioned project: State Ballet School (2006-2012)
Project location: Berlin, Germany
Concept, direction, direction of production: Hans Georg Esch, Oliver Schwabe (HG Esch Photography)
Editor: Christian Becker
Music: Peter Simon
Assistants: Niko Jürgens, Lennart Koch, Leon Sinowenka
Steady Operator: Dirk Eichler
Colorist: Pebo Hassmann
Dancers: Alicia Ruben, Indra Stark Wheel
Artist: Oscar Kaufmann
Teacher: Heike Keller, Olaf Höfer
Coordination at location: Eileen Meyer, Susanne Otto-Günzher

Germany 2013
Duration: 5'16''