Just in Time collecting favorite dances in Berlin, Tel Aviv, New York, Düsseldorf, Los Angeles, Brussels, Essen, Dresden, Singapore, Reykjavík ...

a letter to dance by Nele Hertling 2021

For the Just in Time project we work with local communities in different cities across the world. We ask everybody to first write or draw their favorite movements. This acts as a warm up to get into discussions about dance and also into writing and drawing. Because after that we ask that all write a personal letter to dance to directly address dance in the form of a letter and to include personal and intimate experiences with dance, whether it is moments of happiness or frustrations, of inclusion or exclusion; all experiences are taken into consideration.

In each city we want to meet many different communities, from professional dancers to elderly people, from school kids to people suffering from disease, from social projects to university libraries. The most fulfilling aspect of this project is the culmination of the project as a whole. At the end of the series of workshops we hold a ball in which we ask all the people who participated in the workshops to join us for a final dance. This event is a chance for all the people we have met to come together and dance the favourite movements that were written down by the other participants. We enjoy this experience very much especially since we get to meet people from all diverse kinds of backgrounds and talk about dance. We are continuously building a growing resource from all the letters of dance we have received in Berlin, Tel Aviv, New York, Düsseldorf, Los Angeles, Brussels ... and all the places that this project will travel to in the future.

Just in Time started in 2016 as a dance heritage project. The idea behind it is to consider dance history as an instantaneous and local phenomenon written by people from their memories, experiences and desires. This project creates a collective and messy imaginary world which is created hand in hand by the amateur, the left-out, the other, the kid, the professional. The aim is not to claim an alternative history, but rather to add a chaotic and open source to the clean and curated trajectory of the so called dance history. Just in Time is our most radical approach to audience inclusion yet, because the entire project is built together with the audience who provide the content (letters), choreographic material (favorite movements) and performance (ballroom) of the Project.

For each edition of Just in Time we organize workshops with local communities. We visit schools, nursing homes, dance schools, theatre groups, book clubs … here we are working at Klein Kasteeltje in Brussels a refugee center for asylum seekers.

We ask the participants of the workshops to write down their favorite movements and to also write a personal letter to dance. So far we have collected about 2500 letters and published a selection of them in a wonderful book made in collaboration with Kareth Schaffer and Serge Rompza (NODE Berlin_Oslo).

You can buy this book at the bookshop Einar&Bert. There are only 500 copies printed so be fast if you want one of them!

Apart from the workshops we collected letters and favorite movements all over the cities. Here we are at the former airport Tempelhof in Berlin.

Some actually sent us their letters and movements! So far we have collected more than 1000 letters.

For the ballrooms we always also take some movements from the previous cities and mix them with the local ones. This movement from Berlin became one of the favorites in all of the ballrooms!

Ballroom Brussels 2019
Ballroom Los Angeles 2018

The Berlin Ballroom was the first. People met in the wonderful Ballroom at the Bibliothek am Luisenbad. In Berlin "Turkish Wedding Dances" were amongst the favorite movements as you can see...

In Tel Aviv Kareth Schaffer and Roni Katz were doing the workshops and collected wonderful letters from different communities.

The Ballroom in Tel Aviv at the Tmuna Theater was simply magic and a wonderful celebration of dance!

Favorite movements from kids at a workshop at the Gemeenschapscentrum Nekkersdal in Brussels!

For the New York Ballroom the set designer of the project Valentina Primavera did an amazing set design again!

Also for Berlin she did all the magic with balloons. In the end everybody who came for the ballroom took some balloons home. Imagine the long trains of the subway 8 (U8) going to Kreuzberg after the performance, filled with people holding balloons!
Valda Setterfield reading her "Letter To Dance" at the end of the New York Ballroom.

The Ballroom happened at the University Settlement and it was hosted wonderfully by Alison Fleminger (photo) and the Goethe Institute. Scroll down to read more about the wonderful people and institutions who are behind this project .

Alison Fleminger

In New York Brian "HallowDreamz" Henry performed his "Letter To Dance" during the Ballroom. It was wonderful, touching, impressive.

Brian "HallowDreamz" Henry aka Lil Mijo and some of the THE NUU KNYNEZ really enjoyed the set design!

In Los Angeles we visited the Teatro de las Americas in Camarillo. What an amazing group of people! Again we have learned so much about dance!

One of the wonderful aspects of the project is that we meet people. Just in Time is not just a touring performance, but a format that includes workshops where the participants in the workshops help us create the ballroom in the end of the project. With many we stay in touch and continue to work also for other projects. In Los Angeles we have met wonderful people, amongst them Jennifer Jonassen (photo) who runs the Intrepid Dance Project. Check out their website!

The Ballroom at the Odyssey Theater in Los Angeles was incredible. The mix of people and the energy were fantastic.

For each edition of Just in Time we also ask local artists to read or perform their "Letter to Dance"

The Ballroom in Brussels happened at the Kaaitheater and opened with a letter by Anne Teresa de Keersmaker (read it here). During the ballroom letters by Giulia Sugranyes, Benjamin Vandewalle, Cynthia Loemij were performed ...

Nils Bovri heated the dancefloor!

And Alain Franco closed the Brussels Ballroom with his personal letter to dance in form of a concert.

Want to stay updated? How about singing up for our newsletter? Just click Sign Up. And if you want to leave a comment or post a suggestion just visit the Just in Time Facebook site! And if you are curious about the other artistic work of deufert&plischke visit their website here!

This project would be nothing without the amazing local support! On the right you can see wonderful Hilde Peeters who did an unbelievable job in Brussels. Theaters urgently need more people like her, fully committed to the diversity of local communities.

The Just in Time Project was made possible with the help and participation of: Niels Bovry, Franky Dee, Signal Dahan, Kattrin Deufert, Alain Franco, Michal Gefen, Annett Hardegen, Brian "HallowDreamz" Henry, Beth Hogan, Kate Hutter-Mason, Miriam Jakob, Roni Katz, Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, Omer Krieger, Cynthia Loemij, Eric Mason, Bettina Masuch, Lee Meir, Barbara Müller-Wittmann, Janet Panetta, Hilde Peeters, Thomas Plischke, Valentina Primavera, Marina Aikaterini Rouka, Kareth Schaffer, Valda Setterfield, Esther Severi, Giulia Sugranyes, Breayre Tender, Shade Theret, Benjamin Vandewalle, Lana Willems, Jamie Wright.

The Just in Time Project has been made possible by funding of the Tanzfonds Erbe – an initiative by the German Federal Cultural Foundation and Coproduction of the Goethe Institute Munich. In cooperation with Tmuna Theater Tel Aviv, the Goethe Institutes New York, Los Angeles Brussels, University Settlements New York, Odyssey Theatre Los Angeles, Tanzhaus NRW, Kaaitheater Brussels.

Funded by NATIONALES PERFORMANCE NETZ International Guest Performance Fund for Dance, which is funded by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media and the Departments of Culture and Arts of the German federal state.


deufert&plischke, David Kaplan, Kareth Schaffer