On HeLa – The Colour Of Cells

Company Christoph Winkler

© Dieter Hartwig

September 18 | 19 | 20, 2020
8.00 pm

Premiere December 12, 2019
December 13 | 14 | 15, 2019

15 | 10 Euros
(Only person-related online tickets, no box office. In addition to the basic ticket price, the provider Reservix charges a 10% sales commission fee and a service fee of 1,95 Euro when purchasing tickets.)


The project confronts the history of the HeLa cells, the first human cell line to be cultivated in a laboratory. The cells were taken from Henrietta Lacks, an African American woman who died of cervical cancer in 1951. During treatment against the tumor, the cells were extracted and passed on to a laboratory without her knowledge. There it was discovered that the cells were »immortal«, that they keep dividing infinitely. Scientists were able to grow the first human cell line out of them, and later made numerous medical discoveries such as polio vaccination, as well as advances in cancer and HIV/AIDS research.
The choreographer Christoph Winkler, who has had cancer himself for a year, relates his own experience with illness to the history of the HeLa cells in a documentary dance performance. In collaboration with the dancer Lois Alexander he creates a solo that engages with questions of ethics, privilege, and racism. Connection the two stories they compare the very different societal situations of the courses of the disease and reflect on the inconsistencies. The sounds of the bloom times of jazz by Sun Ra, Alice Coltrane and Max Roach create space for the choreographic excursions and are complemented by spoken word texts from authors like Marlene Nourbese Philip and Anne Boyer.

Christoph Winkler has been producing dance pieces at Ballhaus Ost since many years. Before On HeLa he created the solo The boards that mean the world with Robert Ssempijja an curated the Fan Fic Festival together with the team of Ballhaus Ost on March 2019. The dancer Lois Alexander has been a constant collaborator of his work and performed in Ballhaus Ost 2017 inSheroes.

Running time: 60 min
In English with German surtitles

Concept, choreography Christoph Winkler Performance Lois Alexander Set design Valentina Primavera Costume design Raki Fernandez Video installation Josephine Freiberg Technical direction Fabian Eichner Production management Laura Biagioni Production assistance Gabriella Fiore

A production of the Company Christoph Winkler in cooperation with Ballhaus Ost. Funded by the Berlin Senate Department for Culture and Europe.

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