SMASH#10 Morning Training
form follows function
Diana Thielen

“It is the pervading law of all things organic and inorganic, of all things physical and metaphysical, of all things human and all things superhuman, of all true manifestations of the head, of the heart, of the soul, that the life is recognizable in its expression, that form ever follows function. This is the law.” (Louis Sullivan, 1896) 

Form follows function, an idea that has been widespread in architecture informs our investigation in these consecutive morning classes. As dance and movement practices often tend to center aesthetics, the utilization of biomechanics, physics and anatomy offers a different sort of freedom in one's own movement vocabulary and therefore enables people with a wider range of bodies and (training-) experiences to participate. The potentials as well as limitations of our anatomies and also of this approach will embrace the structure of the class, invites for engaged discussions, and time to embody theoretical knowledge. The exploration starts with rolling and crawling and leads us to more diverse and sweeping choreographies. We gonna run and jump, to fathom the manifold anatomical structures and supportive body mechanics and bringing them to bear in various movement situations.

The Axis Syllabus (AS) could be described as a trans-disciplinary Toolbox which provides discoveries and tactics for improving movement education and practices. As a tool for teaching, the AS requires a commitment to research, to questioning and reflecting upon movement disciplines, which create various ways to experience and practice it.​

Diana Thielen is a dancer/performer, teacher of the Axis Syllabus, dedicated feminist, and student of education and gender studies, based in Berlin, Germany. She graduated from Salzburg Experimental Academy of Dance/SEAD in 2008 and is teaching workshop/classes/ intensives in Contemporary dance, CI/partnering and Yoga in Berlin and all around in Europe. As a movement activist Diana is involved in organizing gatherings exploring the intersection of dance and body politics and shares her intersectional inquiry and fascination with the human body in all its expressions on her blog Currently Diana is collaborating with the director/performer Alisa Tretau, with whom she already worked and performed in the (queer-) feminist and sex-positive Installation "Sweet Peep Salon", Berlin 2016. Together with performer Sarah Bouars she got invited to perform the duo “2 feminist perspEGGtives” at the International Feminist Art Festival Chouftouhonna 2017 in Tunis/Tunisia. As a person who loves animals, especially cats and dogs, Diana currently explores the idea of founding a (queer-)family, which isn’t limited to human beings, but expands care-taking to any sentient being.


Patrick Beelaert