Photo: Allison Peacock

Lecture Performance: To imagine an archive where there is none

January 18, 2019 | 3:00 – 4:30 p.m.
Room 4650 | SFU Goldcorp Centre for the Arts

In this lecture performance Britta Wirthmüller shares her experiences in the attempt to re-live a fraction of the life of dancer, choreographer and pedagogue Ruth Abramowitsch Sorel. As a German-Jewish dancer Sorel had to flee from the Nazi regime and was forced to live in exile in Poland, Brazil and Canada between 1933 and 1957. Britta Wirthmüller’s research about Sorel takes on the form of bodily exploration, re-enactment, story telling, archival investigations and visiting geographical sites. While at times there is little factual evidence to be found, imagining that traces exist and can be taken hold of becomes an essential aspect of the endeavour.


Britta Wirthmüller is a dancer and choreographer based in Berlin, Germany, currently residing in Vancouver. She studied ballet and contemporary dance at the Palucca Schule Dresden and holds an MA in “Performance Studies“ from the University of Hamburg. In her work she attends to that which usually remains invisible, e.g. bodies lacking social visibility in the cycle “Antibodies“ (2009-2012) with Petra Zanki, the forgotten dances of Jean Weidt in “Physical Encounters” (2013) or the hidden layers of a city’s history in “The Silent Walk“ (2010). She holds a position for artistic research and teaching at the HZT – Inter-University Centre for Dance Berlin. Currently she is a visiting scholar at SCA, Simon Fraser University in Vancouver on a scholarship from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). In this capacity she pursues “Tracing Ruth Sorel”, an artistic research along the lines of the life of German-Jewish dancer, choreographer and teacher Ruth Elly Abramowitsch Sorel, who lived in Canada from 1943 to 1957.

January 18, 2019