A group of seven people have hooked each other in a row and are floating in the air after a jump. They wear loose clothing in earthy colours and look at the camera with strong expressions on their faces.


Ulduz Ahmadzadeh / عطش ATASH عطش contemporary dance company


In Arabic and Iranian cultures there’s a word – ‘tarab’ – to describe the state in which a person is physically captivated by music and their awareness of the body is heightened. This moment of rapture, in which body and music become one, is the gateway to ecstasy and enchanted sensuality. TARAB explores the largely unresearched and in some places forbidden dances of the pre-Islamic West-Asian cultural heritage.

The choreographer and researcher Ulduz Ahmadzadeh – who herself grew up in Iran where public dancing is a crime – uses choreographic and musical material that has been subject to countless forms of eurocolonial and Islamic translations. How can this piece of cultural patrimony, which has fallen into obscurity and in some places is read as ‘foreign’ or forbidden, be retold? Six dancers take to the Cumberlandsche Bühne to perform collective resistance to sexualising and exoticizing labels and fight to get back a centuries-old legacy of dance. They are accompanied by the driving rhythms of percussion virtuoso Mohammad Reza Mortazavi, who tours throughout the world. TARAB is an empowering homage to traditional dance forms – forms that enter into a dialogue with contemporary dance language without losing awareness of the colonial dynamic existing between the two.

Following the performance on 28 JAN, there will be an aftertalk in Spoken German and Spoken English.

Ulduz Ahmadzadeh was born in Tehran and started dancing in a country where this is prohibited by law. In defiance of state censorship, she performed with the Harekat company from 1999 to 2004, for which she was arrested. She then founded her own dance company, with which she began her work that is critical of the system. Ahmadzadeh studied Directing at Soureh Art University in Tehran, Contemporary Dance Education at MUK in Vienna and Social Design at the University of Applied Arts Vienna. Since 2012, she runs the contemporary dance company ATASH (formerly known as tanz.labor.labyrinth), with which she addresses socio-political issues and questions regarding cultural hierarchies. Her projects focus on feminism, anthropology and social policy. For this, she makes use of different aesthetics and various disciplines such as video, performance, live music, spoken words, poetry slam, text and installation.

The عطش ATASH عطش contemporary dance company was established by the choreographer, dancer, and researcher, Ulduz Ahmadzadeh. Together with scenographer Till Krappmann, they work at the intersection of dance, performance, video, installation, documentation and activism. In various collaborations, the artist duo produces pieces in which dance is at the centre.  ATASH aims to break up the hegemony of Western dominated aesthetics and to specifically address socio-political issues and cultural hierarchies.

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Production credits

Concept, choreography Ulduz Ahmadzadeh Concept, scenography Till Krappmann Composition, live music Mohammad Reza Mortazavi Dance, choreography Naline Ferraz, Luca Irma Major, Livia Khazanehdari, Polina Kliuchnikova, Hugo Le Brigand, Yiannis Tsigkris Light design Jan Wielander Production Julia Haas, Mascha Mölkner Scenography in collaboration with Alice Ursini Audio description, Tactile tour Naomi Sanfo-Ansorge, Ursina Tossi Photos Maximilian Pramatarov

A co-production by عطش ATASH عطش contemporary dance company and Tanzquartier Wien. With the kind support from DANCE ON TOUR Austria (DOTA).

With the kind support from the Municipal Department of Cultural Affairs, Vienna, and the Austrian Federal Ministry of Arts, Culture, the Civil Service and Sport, Austrian Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs, austria kultur international and ACT OUT.

Dates and tickets