Ben J. Riepe
“I don’t like dance,” says Ben J. Riepe. The 29 year-old choreographer is serious: “The attitude, the affectation, the intrigues.” Dance has not yet realised its potential and is still hanging on to old ballet clichés. “Contemporary dance is all the same, simply awful,” he says scathingly, raising his voice a few decibels – not only because the Düsseldorf bar where we have met is filling up. “Contemporary training is a lie.” I beg your pardon? “There is no contemporary technique. The training is just entertainment for the dancer and gives you bad habits.
” As far as Riepe is concerned, only classical ballet has any legitimacy, and only in the rehearsal room, as a training method, not on stage: “It’s good training but it’s inartistic.” Four years ago the man speaking thus was an in-demand dancer and is now one of the biggest hopes of the contemporary dance scene. An aesthete, with his creations on the interface of dance theatre and installation, he has choreographed – sorry, staged – his way into the forefront of the young German vanguard.
It’s a question of definition. Riepe likes to blur the boundary with visual art. For him there are no separate categories. “I appreciate dance,” ...