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European-American Topics - Culture - Felix Ruckert

Berlin Choreographer with “Deluxe Joy Pilot” in Seattle

By Martina Law
Published 2004

  Felix Ruckert

“Dance is something to experience more than to watch," says Felix Ruckert, a Berlin choreographer who is currently touring the United States and Mexico. One of his stops was Seattle, where he performed ‘Deluxe Joy Pilot’ at “On the Boards," a lower Queen Anne venue considered Seattle’s home for experimental performances by the international avant-garde.

Sara Edward (PR/Marketing Manager) and Lane Czaplinski (Artistic Director) were among the staff members of ‘On the Boards’ thrilled to have the internationally-known choreographer at their theater. Czaplinski told me that he was “blown away” when he first saw a Ruckert dance performance. He then knew that it was a must to have Ruckert come to Seattle.

Ruckert’s Deluxe Joy Pilot is a unique approach to presenting dance, outside the traditional performance boundaries. The setting is very intimate; spectators get to choose between inflatable armchairs or big and small massage beds that are arranged around the stage. The choice will determine the degree of participation during the performance. Spectators are free to move around during the piece.

The performance itself seems almost like a seductive game between the audience and the dancers. Audience members lying on beds are massaged, petted, caressed, shaken and hugged by the performers. Some of them are asked to interact with the dancers on stage.

The piece itself is a wild ride through human emotions, feelings and fantasies that are wonderfully expressed by the international cast of dancers. Their alternately frenzied and smooth movements intimate that the body and soul are one.

Towards the end of the performance, more audience members are invited to the stage and introduced to each other. It doesn’t end with applause but with quiet conversations between performers and non-performers.

I got up and approached an elderly lady sitting next to a young woman on an inflatable chair. Asked what they thought of the performance, they told me that it was the first show by Felix Ruckert they had seen.

“I was amazed”, the elderly woman whispered.

“I was tired at the beginning”, the young woman admitted. “But during the show I got sucked in.”

Getting ‘sucked in’ seems the appropriate term to me. Felix Ruckert truly understands how to engage his audience in a unique, emotional rollercoaster ride of an experience.

For more information on Felix Ruckert go to
For more information on ‘On the boards’ go to


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