General information

Kindly supported by Fachbereich Kunst and Kultur, Bezirksamt Mitte von Berlin

Open Class

First contact to Contemporary Ice Skating

4:30 to 6:00 pm 1st of September 2018

UNFREEZE Open Class invites you to the first experiences within the field of Contemporary Ice Skating.
Iris van Peppen (NL) will give an introduction workshop for interested skaters into methods of Contemporary Dance.
Body alignment, Improvisation and the use of our intuition will open up new dimensions on the ice.

Open to all levels of skating.

Price participation 15,-€



Teachers from a broad range within the contemporary dance field will share their physical, conceptual, and choreographic approaches. This expertise and knowledge will be adapted and applied to our field of movement on ice. Topics for the workshops will be e.g. research practices, contact improvisation, body images, somatic work and dramaturgy.
The workshops are for experienced and professional skaters.
They will be off-ice and on-ice.
Teachers: Iris van Peppen, Jan Burkhardt, Andrew Wass, Alessio Trevisani.


Open stage

UNFREEZE open stage is an international platform for artists to show and discuss contemporary approaches to artistic work on ice.
Get an insight into this new field of gliding movement.
Share the frozen stage with the artists of the UNFREEZE Festival 2018 afterwards at the Ice Jam!

Free entrance

Pay as you want when you leave

The skate rental will be open



Wed, August 29th from 10am - 6 pm

Our pre-conference offers the opportunity for festival and event organizers to create a solid professional fundament to grow the international movement of contemporary ice skating in an open minded, respectful and supportive atmosphere.

Contemporary ice skating is a huge term with a wide range of interpretations. The focus of the existing festivals or events is reflecting this variety. Festivals should support a constant process of defining contemporary ice skating.
Solid structures (skaters/artists, producers, audience) are essential for the growth of this new movement.
Which role can festivals play to grow the movement of contemporary ice skating?
- to build up professional opportunities for artists and producers
- to create an audience and make contemporary ice skating visible

Working in the field of contemporary ice skating we are all facing obstacles. Festivals should be a forum to build up supportive communication for knowledge exchange.
These topics we will discuss in our pre-conference.


Round Tables

UNFREEZE offers space to exchange and share visions and gives the possibility to meet various "people in motion" within a small time frame.
It is a platform for sharing knowledge and reflection.

Topics will be among others:
• Exchange of experiences and knowledge
• Develop a definition on: What Contemporary Ice Skating is
• Sharing concepts and projects
• Brainstorming on how to install structure which will support Contemporary Ice Skating



Birgit Aust

After her degree in Political Sciences Birgit turned intensively towards the evanescent movement on the ice. The education of Laban Bartenieff Movement Studies with EUROLAB e.V. in Berlin encouraged her to build diverse bridges into new spaces apart the sport of figure skating. Developing new perspectives towards movement on ice she frequently recreates the process of learning and teaching in her work as a skating coach. Additionally she opened up various spaces of presentation.

"Contemporary ice skating...
… means freedom to me, change as main principle in the vivid movement connecting me, the ice and the world I’m living in. My base of movement research on the ice is the unique quality of playing with skates, ice and gravity."

Bram van Meggelen

Bram started skating in Alkmaar, close to Amsterdam at the age of 12. After competing he started doing bigger shows like Holiday on Ice. Bram got in touch with the ongoing activities in Berlin triggered by a Le Patin Libre performance Birgit organized in 2013. He joined the event alongside taking the creative workshops Birgit was leading as part of the event. From that point he followed the movement in Berlin. From there he started organizing the small festival together with Birgit and Elisa in 2016.

"Contemporary ice skating...
… in essence it means for me being totally in tune with yourself on the ice. When being in tune, expressing the feelings you have by gliding over the ice. This can be whatever."

Elisa Siegmund

quickly became interested in the art of figure skating at the young age of 14. The search for this artistic form of expression led her into the world of dance. Studying at Germany's renowned dance Universities "Palucca - University of Dance" and "Folkwang - University of the Arts”, Elisa honed her craft of modern and contemporary dance through intensive studies. Her most significant teachers belonged to the first generation of the world-famous Pina Bausch dance ensemble. With further educational training courses in Germany and abroad, she is constantly expanding her vocabulary in a wide variety of dance styles. This training has always been part of her work around the world as a stage dancer, dance choreographer, ice show skater, ice show and figure skating choreographer and dance instructor for figure skaters. Developing her own special training method, she teaches off ice and on ice dance lessons for targeted figure skaters. Elisa has devoted herself intensively to contemporary skating since 2010.

"Contemporary ice skating...
… for me it is the breaking down of skating to its substance of gliding on the ice and the blending of this peculiarity of locomotion with facets of other artistic realms. In my case, this is especially characterized by body language and the language of dance. The desire to combine these movement languages with my skates and to transform the ice into a tool of artistic development as well as a new stage floor, is the basis of my creative work. Inspiration for this, I draw from life."

Katja Grohmann

Until 2010 Katja skated national and international competitions for Erfurt, Thuringia. After studying Sports Science and moving to Leipzig she felt that something was completely left out in the movements on the ice compared to her experiences of contemporary dance. She started experimenting on her own with floor work and contemporary movement methods. Analyzing the way dancers move compared to skaters, she joined the dance education of Leipziger Tanztheater in 2017, which formed a new view on ice skating. Working in the field of outdoor education - a spirited pedagogical way to inspire young people - movement research on ice became essential practice for her. She is a strong supporter of the contemporary skating movement, dancer, choreograph and visionary.

"Contemporary ice skating...
... exploring the countless possibilities of movement on ice and breaking free of restrictions. Make skating about understanding the intention, the movement, your fellow human beings and yourself. An approach to life on a constantly challenging and questionable surface."


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Franziska Werner, Feinesbild.
Birgit Aust
Katja Grohmann

Author of the website

Marco Augusto

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