Sabrina Huth Artistic Profile Research
“Maintöchter (working title)”

In Franconia, one of Germany’s carnival strongholds, you can either love or hate the so-called fifth season of the year: carnival. In my home village Homburg am Main, located in the South of Germany between the river Main and vineyards in the steep slopes of Kallmuth and Edelfrau, as a child you can either join the soccer or the carnival club. In this tradition, I gained my first stage experience as part of the Franconian carnival dance troupe ‘Homburger Steeäisel’.

According to the stories that are told and re-told by the locals, it was the donkey (‘Äisel’ in lower Franconian phonetic language) that had to toil itself over hills and dales (‘Stock und Stee’ in lower Franconian phonetic language) and later became the namesaking mascot of the ‘Homburger Steeäisel’. Today, not only the donkey has become an indispensable almost decorative element of the carnival season. The ‘Tanzgarde’ moves light-footedly and as a uniformed entity of young women in pleated skirts, silk stockings, frilly underpants, feathered hats, and wigs to marching music over the stage.

In my memory as a carnival troupe dancer, the discomfort of poorly fitting costumes and sexist gazes from a more or less drunk audience is blurred with the pride of being part of a strong community. For a long time I have kept my carnivalistic stage debut as a hidden secret. With my autobiographical research I now propose looking at the traditional German Gardetanz and the customs of its practice with a new awareness.

Torn between fascination and alienation, I am interested in the paradoxical field of ‘Gardetanz’: the search for and idealization of community and uniform exclusion mechanism, its development from a critical - almost queer - practice of parodying the Prussion militarism and cross-dressing to a nowadays apolitical highly professionalized and regualted dance sport, etc.

As initial research questions I propose:
  • Is it possible to find feminine strength of the ‘Tanzgarde’ beyond sexualized female bodies? And why is the uniformed female mass body marching in unison not experienced as threatening?
  • Is there a collective potential in the ‘Tanzgarde’, hidden behind hasty judgments towards regional culture?
  • Is it possible to revise a traditional body culture in a contemporary way without appropriating it?

As a first step of the research, I aim to revisit the archival material  I have collected at the carnival museum Kitzingen and the dance archive in Cologne, as well as the interviews I have conducted together with the dramaturg Antonia Gersch with active carnival dancers and dance teachers, and look for the multiple untold stories. 

Sabrina Huth is a queer-feminist artist based in Berlin. Her practice includes dance, choreography and writing. She gained her first stage experience as part of a Franconian Tanzgarde on carnival stages. Today, in her artistic work she thematises the search for and idealization of community and collective body practices. Sabrina thrives in close and long-time collaborations. Since 2018, with Ilana Reynolds she has been developing the choreographic approach Imagined Choreographies. Under the condition of never meeting physically and in real life, they explore how conditions of physical absence can stimulate layers of imagination, fiction and closeness to another person. Their multifaceted work has been presented on stage, in galleries, and as printed matter in Germany and across Europe.
Sabrina completed the MA Artistic Research at the University of the Arts Amsterdam and as a guest student at the MA Choreography at HZT Berlin. Together with Akemi Nagao she currently teaches resting and digesting sessions at the UdK Berlin and HZT Berlin.
Sabrina is also a passionate Roller Skater and has a weakness for coffee and cake.

Moving Margins Chapter II
moving arti|facts from the margins of dance archives
into accessible scores and formats

- STEPPING OUT, funded by the Federal Government
Commissioner for Culture and Media with
in the
framework of the initiative NEUSTART KULTUR.
Assistance Program for Dance.