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Research project alternative representation of eroticism in dance

Establishment of new collaborations and work structures

Funded as part of Dis-Tanz Solo by:

Miriam Markl Recherche Erotik im Tanz

Instant stories based on the Theater Direct principle

Thanks to Lorenz Hippe for the concept of developing collective stories.

As part of the research, I developed instant stories on the subject with various artists. The aim and idea was to create an unconscious and creative approach to the topic.

Here is a selection of the resulting stories:

Clara on Mars

The story is about me, in this story my name is Clara and I am 12 years old.

Clara has pink hair and only wears green clothes, usually pants and a dress over them, as well as a green scarf.

On a late sunny autumn afternoon, Clara is standing in a park on Mars, surrounded by huge trees with leaves of all different colors, the grass feels like walking on marshmellows. The trees have no names but faces and can speak. The grass cannot speak, but it hums constantly, though no one can understand it.

Suddenly a small sun collapses on Mars and lots of white horses run towards Clara from the collapse site. Clara feels positive excitement, interest and curiosity. All the horses run past her and suddenly there is only snow everywhere. The trees and the park are gone, everything is just white and bright.

Clara stomps through the snow, the snow is warm and light and feels so secure. At some point, Clara reaches a cave. The cave looks like a badger's den, there is a floor lamp and the tea is already steaming. From the cave, Clara can see the snow through the window and feels safe all around.

Time bubble or the old man and the child

There is a child and an old man, they have no names. They come from the past and are now in the future. But they are very quiet about that fact.

The boy is wearing a t-shirt and shorts and nice sandals. Those sandals that are almost like a shoe with a toe and a piece of a sock sticking out of it. His hair is shoulder length.
The old man is more classic, like a Disney character. He simply wears a gray jacket and beige shirt, gray trousers and a black belt and black shoes.
When you see the two, you might notice that their clothes are a bit dated. But it's an old man, and maybe the old man dresses the young man, so it's explainable too.
It is early afternoon in late spring, the time around them is not the time they come from.  


They are in a kind of invisible bubble, they can see the others, but the others cannot see them.

They walk and stay in the same place and are not detached from the reality around them, when they start talking it is not audible what exactly they are saying.

Their relationship is like a relationship between grandfather and child. The old man explains things to the little boy, and sometimes the boy becomes captivated by something around them.
It's something very ordinary, but the air bubble and this aloofness create a strange atmosphere. You sense that something is wrong, but you can't see why.
Then, in a moment, the boy leaves the bubble. But it wasn't his fault, it was just the moment the bladder's membrane opened and he was distracted by a butterfly. The old man realizes that the child is outside, but the child is not.
The old man is angry with the child, the child is scared.
The child is the only one who can still see the old man in the bubble, but the other people around him cannot.

But, of course, now someone is noticing the child, and people are starting to ask how it got to this place. But when he tells them his story, no one believes him. The adults around him thought his grandfather had died and his explanations were just a fancy children's story.
And so it is that the boy is stuck in the future while the old man has to go back in time.
In the past, the old man tries to find a way to bring the child back, but many years pass.
The boy is very traumatized by this experience, but he still manages to master his life. He begins to believe his bubble experience isn't real - it's a childhood fantasy.

He develops some strange behaviors.

In the meantime he has become very attractive, a damn hot guy. And he's the classic bad boy, but with a very romantic side.
In the past, his grandfather, the old man, has already died. But his sister found a way to travel to him from the past. She comes to visit him and explains where his childhood fantasies came from and why he always felt he didn't belong in the place he is now.
But now that he grew up in the future, he doesn't belong in the past - nor in the future.
The siblings move back and forth in time until he realizes who he is. He's a mix of those two times and he's trying to get the best out of those two times and not let the poison of those two times get into his mind. So his new aspiration is to become the best future and past guy in one person. Then the time machine stops. And they have to decide in which era they want to live.
And he decides that his place is in the present - while his sister's place is in the past.
From then on, the guy is still red hot - but no longer a complete idiot.

"Bodies open themselves to continuity through those secret channels that give us the sensation of obscenity. Obscenity denotes the confusion that disturbs a constitution of bodies corresponding to self-possession, to the possession of enduring and asserted individuality. Dispossession takes place in the play of the organs that flow out in the constantly recurring fusion, similar to the back and forth of the waves that penetrate and lose one another."

Georges Bataille - The eroticism

Movement Research

Miriam Markl

Music: Ophelia Sullivan

Dance: Rouven Pabst, Lorenzo Ponteprimo

Video: Evelina Winkler

Music: Ophelia Sullivan

Video: Evelina Winkler

Music: Ophelia Sullivan

Dance: Sarah Herr, Lorenzo Ponteprimo, Rouven Pabst, Cecilia Ponteprimo

Video: Evelina Winkler

"The art of creation is nothing without the immeasurable ongoing participation and cooperation of the real world, nothing without the thousandfold harmonization of things and beings; and the joy of the Creator is thereby unspeakably rich, because it contains memories of the bringing forth and birth of millions. In a single creative thought dwell a thousand forgotten nights of love, penetrating it with immensity. And those who gather in the night, closed in urgent desire, gather nectar, generate strength and sweetness for a future poetic utterance that will sing rapture."

Rainer Maria Rilkes:  Letters to a Young Poet

Instant Storys


Book recommendations:

  • Agony of Eros by Byung-Chul Han

  • Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson by Camille Paglia

  • The eroticism of Georges Bataille

  • Sex and Storytelling in Modern Cinema: Explicit Sex, Performance and Cinematic Technique (International Library of the Moving Image) Paperback – Illustrated, November 11, 2015 Lindsay Coleman

  • Embodied Performances - Sexuality, Gender, Bodies by Beatrice Allegranti

  • Vulva Revealing the Invisible Sex - Mithu M. Sanyal

  • Women's body dance - a civilization history of dance by Gabriele Klein

Intellectual striptease official.jpg

"The western view creates THINGS, idols of Apollonian objectification.

Pornography makes many well-meaning people uneasy because it isolates the voyeuristic element inherent in all art, especially film.

All art characters are sex objects. The viewer's or reader's emotional response is inseparable from the erotic."

Camille Paglia - The Masks of Sexuality

Miriam Markl Intellectual Striptease Loba Project


                                               A selection of questions and anonymous answers

                                               by artists from different disciplines.




How would you define eroticism? What is the difference between eroticism and sexuality?

- Deep black sexuality. I don't know if dark is the right word. But a very deep...
Almost like underground with their intensity. With a very raw - a rawness. Like the really raw part... Like the rawest form of sexuality.

- The body, but also fantasies, another person's attitude, games - how to play with each other.

- For me sexuality is something very natural. These are certain impulses or stimuli to which one responds. Or a feeling for your own body, needs or desires. While eroticism for me is already the implementation of something desired or even just the imagination. So to bring the sexuality into a situation or an image. And sexuality would then be the basis for me. I find it very difficult to differentiate from the needs of the body. Isn't sexuality always part of the body in some way, when it comes to sexuality, isn't it always also about the body?

- I feel that the sexuality is not filtered compared to the erotic. I have a picture of a seed.
I would define it as the depth of that seed that comes out. It is the act of accepting your own eroticism. To act from this depth of eroticism.
For me, that means letting myself go completely. And taking away any extra filters or things that society wants to push on us. When I'm connected to my true sexuality, it's a very pure form of letting go and letting in lust.

- It is part of the expression of a physical love. Physical love can range from a hug to...I don't know...but it can take many different shades.
Not every expression of physical love falls within the realm of sexuality.

Otherwise, every time you shake someone's hand or hug someone, it would have a hint of sexuality.

Does eroticism or sexuality play a role in your work?

- There are a lot of erotic moments. These moments don't necessarily have anything to do with sexual arousal, but rather with excitement or tension. The unknown discovery, the attraction. I think that's essential in my work.

- Sexuality plays a very hidden but huge role in my work as a dancer and choreographer. Covert in the sense that I don't make it the subject of my work and don't put it in the room in a focused way, but insofar as it's always negotiated, thought along with it.

- I feel like the intention I have isn't always what the audience has in mind. But mostly it's about eroticism, not the concept.
Because I feel like it's very easy for people to get turned on by dancers. And that can feel very uncomfortable for me.
When my work as a choreographer or dancer is perceived as something sexual, even though it's not meant that way. It's like hugging someone, which is a physical expression of love, and someone understands it as something sexual and you don't understand it yourself. It's like IHHH - stop hugging me.
And I have the feeling that this happens very often with us. Just because a body moves in front of you - people immediately perceive that as something sexual.

In your opinion, what role does eroticism or sexuality play in relation to the dancing body ?

- I don't find eroticism in every dance piece I see, but I think there's always a touch of her. Sometimes I'm very surprised how things look to me at the moment.

But I tend to see it in something raw that isn't controlled.

- I think ballet is sexy. It's a combination of my beliefs, instilled in me from a young age. I just know it's beautiful and pure, but also really pure in a way.

Ballet is its own little bubble for me and I find it very sexy.

My mouth is watering at the combination of control and letting go.

- The audience changes a lot in whether a movement is sexy or not. The stage design also has an influence on whether a certain play is perceived as sexy or not.

- Only dance is not erotic for me. I'm overwhelmed if it's just dance.

But I love cabaret. It's not just the human body that plays a role for me. But the music, the atmosphere, how these rooms are designed.

Like "Crazy Horse", those are typical movements. Dancers would now say they just do a big second and show a lot of skin. So they spread their legs, throw them up and swing their boobies around.

But I like the atmosphere so much, you sit there in this little theater, everything is wrapped in red velvet. As a result, the acoustics are quite different. And then there is always someone who does it. That was a very strong woman with a glittering and crass wig. It was somehow cool, an experience, you dive into such a world. That's what eroticism is for me. Not the movements but the complete atmosphere.

Literatur Recherche

Virtual workshops

Workshops and exchange rounds via Zoom, among others, in cooperation with Amalie - Advice Center for Prostitution

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