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The FORWARD DANCE COMPANY is the first dance company in Saxony in which dancers with diverse physiognomies work together on equal terms, always under professional conditions, on and off stage.

After many offers and project initiatives for dancers with different physiognomies, especially in the semi-professional field, the FORWARD DANCE COMPANY is the first dance company in Saxony in which dancers with normative and non-normative physiognomies work together on equal terms and permanently under professional conditions – on and off stage. The FORWARD DANCE COMPANY was established in cooperation between LOFFT – DAS THEATER and the socio-cultural centre DIE VILLA Leipzig. Since then, LOFFT – DAS THEATER has promoted Leipzig's contemporary dance scene in the field of mixed-ability. In 2021, the six dancers developed two new dance productions under the artistic project direction of Gustavo Fijalkow and the choreographer Nir de Volff. In 2021 and 2022, the FORWARD DANCE COMPANY will cooperate as an associate artist with the euro-scene Leipzig festival, working with the choreographers Markéta Stránská and Alessandro Schiattarella. 

Current Production

In its current production SULLE SPONDE DEL LAGO – ON THE SHORE OF THE LAKE FORWARD DANCE COMPANY takes a critical look at one of the most famous works of classical ballet: Swan Lake. For more information please click here.


Mouafak Aldoabl

Mouafak Aldoabl learned ballet and modern dance at Enana Dance Theatre in his home town of Damascus, Syria. He worked with Enana until 2013, work which included many shows and tours. Over the following two years Mouafak gained valuable experience and began his first dance education at the Higher Institute of Dramatic Arts, before moving to Berlin and starting to focus on his own style.

Whilst there he worked with choreographers such as Sasha Waltz and Yoshiko Chuma. During 2017 he went on to finish his second dance education at Dance Academy balance 1, subsequently working with TOTAL BRUTAL and Nir de Volff, where he learned improvisational skills and toured throughout Europe.


Elsa Artmann

Elsa Artmann is a dancer, choreographer, visual artist and lives in Cologne. Since 2015 she has been creating performances and installations in the ensemble Artmann&Duvoisin. Themes of her work are formats of community that shape our political climate, such as the nuclear family, housing, and bodily witnessing of time. In doing so, they accompany questions of collective composition and shared authorship as well as the political content of dance activity. Her own work has been shown at tanzhaus nrw, Kunstsammlungen Zwickau and MOMA Moscow, among others.

Elsa Artmann holds a diploma and a master's degree in painting with a cross-media orientation from the Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst Leipzig, as well as a bachelor's degree in contemporary dance from the Zentrum für Zeitgenössischen Tanz at the Hochschule für Musik und Tanz Köln. She teaches as an adjunct professor at the Institute for Art and Art Theory at the University of Cologne in the area of aesthetic education. As a dancer and performer, she has worked for Kollektiv Zoo, Amirhossein Mashaherifard, Bianca Xavier de Mendonça, Marina Abramovic and Özlem Alkış, among others.


Renan Manhães

Renan Manhaes has been a professional dancer since 2016 when he joined the Theatro Municipal do Rio de Janeiro, working with choreographers such as Dalal Achcar and Marcelo Gomes. During this period he also worked with the ensemble of Renato Viera Cia de Dança, and with the collective Armorial he researched African-rooted dance and its religious context in Brazil, using the dance as a method toward better understanding. In 2018 he joined the Ballet Cymru in Wales working with house choreographers Darius James, Jack Philp and Emma Lewis. In the year of 2019, he moved to London to join the Viviana Durante Company in collaboration with the Royal Ballet of London for productions in memory of Kenneth MacMillan.
 In 2020 Renan moved to Germany to work as a freelance dancer and dance teacher.


Alfred Quarshie

Alfred Quarshie is a professional dancer with a disability. He has over 10 years of experience in contemporary dance and is also active in acting and performance. Single productions have taken him to Germany, Spain, Cyprus and the Netherlands, in addition to his hometown Accra (Ghana).

He lives in Accra and Cologne, where he performed in the DIN A13 dance company, including the pieces PATTERNS BEYOND TRACES and BODY REALITIES - city codes. He also danced in the short film "Spirits, We Dance". He particularly stands out for expressing his emotions while dancing with matching facial expressions and graceful dance movements. 


Tamara Rettenmund

Tamara Rettenmund, born in Bern, studied dance and participatory arts in Oakland and San Francisco, followed by physical theatre studies in Amsterdam. After completing her Bachelor's degree as a theatre maker, followed by a postgraduate course in Lecturing Performance Artist at the Amsterdam University of the Arts, she continued her studies in 2010 and completed a Master's degree in Spatial Strategies at the Kunsthochschule Berlin Weißensee in 2014. She is a founding member of the artist group Kornblum-Rettenmund.

In 2019 she developed the solo dance piece QUEST in a co-production with the Sophiensaele, followed by guest performances in Hamburg and Mainz. Since 2020 she has been working for the company Unusual Symptoms at Theater Bremen and is also resident artist at tanzhaus nrw Düsseldorf.


Lisa Zocher

Lisa Zocher is 22 years old, has been physically disabled since birth and therefore uses a wheelchair. She began dancing at the age of eleven as a semi-professional at the Tanzlabor Leipzig. There she had the opportunity to work in various productions with choreographers such as Gesa Volland, Marlen Schumann, Roman Windisch, Liron Dinovitz and many more.

Whilst there she also participated in several workshops. Through this work Lisa was able to acquire more and more skills and knowledge in contemporary dance. After graduating from secondary school, she completed a commercial apprenticeship. Currently she is very proud to be a dancer in the FORWARD DANCE COMPANY.



Nir de Volff

Nir de Volff was born in Tel Aviv, completed his dance training in Israel and took his first professional steps in local dance companies. In Tel Aviv he appeared as a guest dancer in Pina Bausch's piece VIKTOR at the New Israeli Opera. In 2000 he moved to Amsterdam and began to develop his own work. In 2004 he moved to Berlin and created his first piece for the Tanztage Berlin at Sophiensaele. In the summer of 2007, he founded his company TOTAL BRUTAL. Since then, the company has had its place of production at Dock 11, and since 2013 this has been extended to the Sophiensaele. In September 2014, TOTAL BRUTAL premiered at the renowned Schaubühne at the Lehniner Platz with a play that was realized in cooperation with director Falk Richter, and became part of the repertoire. Nir de Volff collaborates with numerous artists, such as She She Pop at HAU in Berlin, the house director of Schaubühne Berlin Falk Richter, with Katarina Niminnen at the 3rd floor of Volksbühne, as well as with Fouad Muhamed, Cairo. He does international cultural exchange projects combining sociopolitical issues with entertainment. TOTAL BRUTAL cooperates with a variety of performers and different theatres, from smaller stages to large state theatres. His productions have been shown in numerous theatres including Oper Frankfurt, Grand Theatre Groningen, Rotterdam Schouwburg, ZIL Culture Centre in Moscow, SESC Pinheiros in São Paulo, Esplanade Theatre in Singapore, the Bangkok National Center for Dramatic Art, Landestheater Niederösterreich St. Pölten in Austria, Warehouse 2 Jaffa Port in Tel Aviv, PONEC Theatre in Prague, Teatro Alle Tese in Venice, Old Court Building in Macau and the Amphithéâtre du Gesù in Montréal. In 2015 to 2016, the ensemble could be seen at the Maxim Gorki Theatre in Berlin as part of Nurkan Erpulat's latest production. In May 2016 de Volff's work was shown at the prestigious Wiener Festwochen Festival 2016. In November 2016 came his first-ever solo project LOVE & LONELINESS IN THE 21st CENTURY by and with Nir de Volff. In August 2017 de Volff showed a special project in Berlin with three Syrian dancers who had been forced to flee Syria: COME AS YOU ARE # 2017.

The project is shown as a research-work in progress. In January 2019, I AM EUROPE was shown at the Theater national de Strasbourg, a work created together with Falk Richter. In summer 2019 de Volff created the piece THE EPILOGUE in Macau, China. In the season 2019 to 2020 de Volff's choreography could be seen at the Thalia Theatre in Hamburg under house director Antù Romero Nunon, and in February 2020, on the invitation of the Goethe Institute, the choreography collaboration EUROPE LOS TUTELADOS with Mikolaj Bielski at the Naves Matadero Theatre Madrid.

Nir de Volff is regularly invited by international theatres and dance venues to lead workshops and masterclasses on his self-developed movement method BBM – Breathing Bodies Movement.

Productions: WIR | WE, JOY

Alessandro Schiattarella

Alessandro Schiattarella was born in Naples in 1982. He studied dance at the Teatro San Carlo in Naples, at La Scala in Milan and graduated with Rudra Bejart in Lausanne. In 2016 he obtained the degree in Advanced Studies in Dance Sciences at the Faculty of Human Sciences of the University of Bern and in 2020 the Master in Fine Arts at the FHNW Basel.

As a performer, he has collaborated with Maurice Bejart, Marco Goecke, Koen Augustijnen and Haris Pasovic, among others. He has worked in institutions such as Napoli Teatro Festival in collaboration with Les C de la B and East West Theatre Production, Bejart Ballet Lausanne, Grand Theatre in Geneva, Konzert Theater in Bern, Basel Ballet and Scapino Ballet in Rotterdam. In 2014 he created his first solo ALTROVE, selected in the prestigious international platform Aerowaves Twenty17.

Since 1996 he has been affected by a rare disease called "Hirayama Disease", which has led him to develop choreographic projects in the field of disability since 2015, such as TELL ME WHERE IT IS (2015), STRANO (2017), ONE AT A TIME (2018) in collaboration with the company Cie BewegGrund and REJECTED (2019) on the theme of masculinity.

His work has been presented in theaters, art spaces and festivals such as ROXY Birsfelden, Dampfzentrale Bern, Tanzhaus Zürich, Festival Belluard Bollwerk International Fribourg, Kunst Raum Riehen, Der Tank Basel, NO Limits Festival Berlin, Brave Festival Wracklaw, Temporada Alta Lima, Sommerblut Cologne, Parade Festival Utrecht, Gati Dance Forum New Delhi and others.

Since 2016, his work has been supported by the Swiss cultural foundation Pro Helvetia for cultural exchange: Seminars, workshops and projects are held between Switzerland and Singapore, the UK, South Africa, India and Sri Lanka.


Markéta Stránská

Markéta Stránská (*1979) is a choreographer, performer and physiotherapist. She lives in the Czech Republic and has been inspired by dance since childhood. At the age of six she started dancing in a folk dance group. While in high school, she also discovered puppet theater. Markéta Stránská works mainly with the DNO Theater, a well-known local theater in Hradec Králové (CZ). She has also worked as a member of the non-profit organization Clown Doctor, which helps bring joy to healthcare.

Since 2012, she has been an active member of the contemporary dance scene in the Czech Republic. She creates her own works in theaters as well as in public spaces. She regularly participates in contemporary dance workshops, gives classes and participates in educational projects (e.g. Art for Schools). As a professional dancer and performer, she first collaborated with the company VerTeDance (CZ) in 2015 in the project ABSENT (CHYBĚNÍ) choreographed by Jaro Viňarský (SK). In the 2016/2017 season she participated in the volunteer project "Audience Jury" as part of the Czech Dance Platform festival, as part of the international project Be SpectActive.

In 2018 she participated in FILLIMIT, an international platform for young choreographers, as part of the KoresponDance Festival in Žďár and Sázavou (CZ) and in an International Summer Lab with Candoco Dance Company in London (UK). In September 2018, she made her choreographic debut with the solo dance performance FLY! which she presented several times in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Russia, France, Germany, Poland and Hungary.

In 2021, her latest piece ...OR TO BE premiered in collaboration with experienced French choreographer and dancer Jean Gaudin. Through her work, a local and international network of artists* with non-normative physicalities is growing. 


Artistic Project Director

Dr. Gustavo Fijalkow

Gustavo Fijalkow is an academic and a practitioner. Primarily trained as a dancer, he received his education in Argentina, Germany and The Netherlands. As a professional dancer he performed internationally, exploring pure dance forms as well as youth theatre, site-specific and experimental, interdisciplinary formats. For ten years he was creative producer and production director of Germany’s pioneering mixed-abled dance company DIN A13 tanzcompany, in which he carried out international co-productions with several African, Asian and South American artists. He received his M.A. in International Arts Management for his thesis “Bloodbath-Bloodbond. A historical snapshot of the work of the Goethe-Institut Tel Aviv (Germany, 2010)” and his PhD with the thesis “National Dance Platforms. A comparative study of the cases in Germany, Israel, the UK and Sri Lanka (UK, 2020)”.

He was a British Council Fellow at the Venice Biennale in 2018, where he developed the audio-scape SUGGERITORI. He has conceived and curated several international and interdisciplinary festivals and academic conferences, has lectured in several universities and is regularly invited to conferences, while he has also developed and moderated several formats to discuss performing arts and their contexts.

Since 2020 he has been the Artistic Project Director of the Forward Dance Company.



Former dancers

Simone Camargo is a professional dancer, among others from 2000 to 2007 at the Balé Teatro Guaíra and from 2007 to 2010 at the Quasar Companhia de Dança in Brazil. In 2011 and from 2013 to 2016, she was a member of the Balé da Cidade de São Paulo, dancing with the Curitiba Companhia de Dança in 2017 and 2018, and with the Staatstheater Nürnberg from 2019 to 2020. She has also made several appearances as a choreographer.

Simone Camargo received her Bachelor's degree in Technology for Graphic Arts from the Universidade Tecnológica Federal do Paraná, Brazil, in 2006. In 2014, she completed the first year of the Masters in Dance at Université Paris VIII, and in 2016 she graduated in Cultural Management at SENAC-SP University in São Paulo, Brazil. Since 2018, she is a student of the Master in Performing Arts at Université Grenoble Alpes in France.

Productions: WIR | WE, JOY 


Cordelia Lange was born in Bremerhaven, Germany. She started studying dance at the age of 16 and received her Bachelor's degree at Codarts in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. After graduating, she worked freelance with various choreographers, such as Felix Landerer and Gabriella Maiorino, in the Netherlands and Germany. From 2007 to 2010 she was part of Tanztheater Bielefeld and then moved to Staatstheater Oldenburg for three seasons from 2010 to 2013 under the artistic direction of Guy Weizman and Roni Haver. In Oldenburg she worked with Omar Rajeh, Ann Van den Broek and Sharon Eyal, among others. In 2013, she joined Tel Aviv-based Inbal Pinto and Avshalom Pollak Dance Company, where she developed several new works. Cordelia Lange has also created her own works throughout her years as a dancer. In addition to her work as a performer, she studied fashion design at Shenkar College in Israel from 2017 to 2019.

Productions: WIR | WE, JOY 


Funded by TANZPAKT Stadt-Land-Bund with the support of the German Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media, by the Saxon State Ministry for Science, Culture and Tourism and the City of Leipzig – Cultural Office. This measure is co-financed by tax funding on the basis of budgets passed by the State Parliament of Saxony.

Supported by Bureau Ritter/TANZPAKT RECONNECT, which is funded by the German Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media as part of the NEUSTART KULTUR initiative.