»Spiegelneuronen« by Stefan Kaegi
Probenbild aus »Spiegelneuronen« ©Sasha Waltz & Guests 

»Spiegelneuronen« by Stefan Kaegi

Ein dokumentarischer Tanzabend mit Publikum

Sasha Waltz & Guests mit Rimini Protokoll

This piece is an experiment. Different in every performance. It is about the human brain and its relationship to the body. The audience is an essential part of the experiment, because it is invited not only to observe the creation of movement, but also to join in, and from its seats become an active part of a shared system, to experience itself as part of a kind of large brain.

A mirror is located where the stage normally is. It reflects not only the dancers, but also the entire audience like a gigantic selfie. The auditorium turns into the main place of action. In exchange with the dancers, the audience finds itself at the center of the movement and not only experiences itself in the »embodiment« of complex images, but also contributes to the choreography of the group. Through the mirror, the audience members observe themselves and the others while watching the experiment at the centre of which they are sitting.

Neuroscientists assume that control of our nervous system is not centralised, but that different areas of the brain communicate intensively with each other, similar to a computer network with algorithms. Even scientists can only speculate about how exactly this happens. New mechanisms are constantly being discovered. In the early 1990s, for example, mirror neurons were discovered: These supposedly cause the brain to be stimulated in a similar way, regardless of whether we do something ourselves or observe the same action in another person. Although difficult to prove in humans, mirror neurons could be a key to explaining empathy and mutual understanding.

The documentary research for this evening incorporates perspectives from brain research, biology, sociology and artificial intelligence, which the audience hears and experiences in a sound collage - perhaps even anticipates or evades. In this theatrical experiment, the relationship between the individual and the greater whole invites physical reflection on society, on a democratic version of a hyper-organism.

»Spiegelneuronen« is the first collaboration between Sasha Waltz & Guests and the documentary theatre label Rimini Protokoll. Following »remains« by Andrew Schneider in 2020, the dance company opens itself up to new styles and continues pursuing its interest in artistic research and cross-genre collaboration with international artists to expand its repertoire. Coming from very different backgrounds, both are interested in the unusual use of spaces and interdisciplinary work. Together with dancers from Sasha Waltz & Guests and the audience, Stefan Kaegi examines the relationship between the individual and society using the means of dance and a large mirror.

The production will have its world premiere on August 14 as part of the Salzburg Festival at Szene Salzburg, before it can be experienced as a German premiere at Radialsystem in Berlin from August 29 to September 1. Advance ticket sales for the Berlin performances start on May 30, 2024, 5 pm.

Spiegelneuronen by Stefan Kaegi

A documentary dance evening with audience

Sasha Waltz & Guests with Rimini Protokoll

World premiere
14 August 2024
Salzburger Festspiele, SZENE Salzburg

further performances
16. 17. 18. 19. 21. August 2024

German premiere
29. 30. 31. August, 1. September 2024
Radialsystem, Berlin

Concept / Direction
Stefan Kaegi (Rimini Protokoll)

Silke Bake
Tobias Koch
Dominic Huber
Mikko Gaestel

Lighting Design

Martin Hauk


Sandra Tiersch

Rehearsal Director

Claudia de Serpa Soares

Melissa Kieffer
Dominique McDougal

​Francisco Martinez Miranda

Orlando Rodriguez
László Sandig

Claudia de Serpa Soares
Wibke Storkan

With the voices of

Christina von Braun, Professor emeritus, cultural scientist, gender theorist, filmmaker

John-Dylan Haynes, Professor of Brain Research at the Charité

Sarah Karim, Researcher at the Institute for Rehabilitation Sciences

Tim Landgraf, Professor of Artificial and Collective Intelligence

Nora Schultz, Research Officer of German Ethics Council, freelance science journalist

Tania Singer, Professor of Psychology and Social Neuroscience

A production by Sasha Waltz & Guests in collaboration with Rimini Protokoll. A co-production with the Salzburg Festival, Tanz Köln and Kampnagel - Internationales Zentrum für Schönere Künste.

Please note that partially bright lights will be used during the performance.

»Spiegelneuronen« is a participatory theater experience. This means that there may be times when you are in close proximity to the people sitting next to you. For people who feel uncomfortable with this, we have reserved an allotment of seats at the sides.

All audience members are visible in the mirror - especially in the seats in the 1st row.