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March 23, 2022
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Andrew Wood 415-399-9554 (o) 415-305-1102 (c) [email protected]
Emily Lee 415-399-9554 (o) 415-609-8870 (c) [email protected]

FRE!HEIT Asks Audiences Thoughtful Questions About Freedom

Calendar Editors Please Note
Who: David Brandstätter, Michelle Jacques
What: FRE!HEIT (2014, US Premiere)
Where:CounterPulse, 80 Turk St, SF
Date & Time: Fri-Sat, June 17-18, 8:00pm, Sun June 19, 2:00pm

Duration: 60 minutes 
Tickets: Advance Price: $20. Door: $25. Full-Time Students and Seniors: $18. Tickets on-sale March 15. 
Box Office and Information: or 415-399-9554

Photos Available on Request

NOTE: David Brandstätter will be in San Francisco from April 20 - 26 to rehearse with Michelle Jacques and is available for in-person interview.

San Francisco, March 23, 2022: The San Francisco International Arts Festival (SFIAF) is pleased to present the US debut of German choreographer, David Brandstätter of French based shifts\art in movement. This US premiere presentation of FRE!HEIT (freedom in English) is a solo performance that poses questions about freedom to the audience.

FRE!HEIT is inspired by questions Brandstätter asked himself following his fathers passing.

“One week after my father had finally died, I asked myself:
What does “freedom” actually mean to me? What did
I really want in my past, when I was craving for more
freedom? And what kinds of freedom had been the driving
force behind the important decisions of my life? And how
shall I relate to this word in the future?”

-David Brandstätter 

David Brandstätter’s work is rooted in cross disciplinary performance (circus, dance, physical theatre and music). In FREI!HEIT he blends the attributes of each of these elements with enquiries about freedom and democracy to create a work about both the conscious and unconscious manifestations of them in practice. The piece is showing to the audience the questions he attempted to answer with abstract motions to make multiple socio-political points.

Inspired by moments of dialogue and personal experience, Brandstätter portrays a vision of freedom through mind, space and body. A balance between text, sound and visual installation; Freiheit is a ritual of questioning and liberating the imagination.

For an hour Brandstätter’s body remains in fragile suspension, balanced on white porcelain cups that he deploys into allegorical constellations. The restriction of movement frames the concept of freedom as a conscious struggle, process or tangible action.

For the San Francisco production Brandstätter will collaborate with singer and composer Michelle Jacques to create an original live vocal and music accompaniment.


About Shifts\Art in Movement

Shifts is an assembly for performance which seeks to cross between media and cultures. Shifts adapts its artistic team and its form of expression according to the needs of each project, and the particular subject of investigation. In this way, therefore, it creates new and continuously evolving collaborations and connections. The shifts projects are conceived and guided by Malgven Gerbes and David Brandstätter. The foundation of shifts is based on a core conviction: that constant changes of perspective, shifting balance, the modification of starting positions and external parameters are all conditions essential to a serious and ongoing examination of the art practices to which they have committed themselves. The choreographers Malgven Gerbes and David Brandstätter present performances that put the certainties and uncertainties of their work up for discussion. Their productions don’t attempt to resolve topics, they don’t aim to beat them into submission. Each piece zooms in on the questions that sparked Malgven Gerbes’ and David Brandstätter’s interest, a close-up that they want to present to the audience.


Artist Biographies

David Brandstätter
Born in Wuppertal Germany, David Brandstätter studied applied music science in Hamburg. From the age of 15 he worked internationally as a juggler and unicyclist and became a practitioner of traditional Japanese martial arts. In 2001, he started his studies of choreography in Arnhem at the European Dance Development Centre (now called ArtEZ) and focused his research on the development of contact improvisation as a tool for choreographic purposes. He graduated in 2005 and funded the organization shifts – art in movement together with Malgven Gerbes.

David has participated in the organization of numerous artistic exchanges, notably with LAFT, Tanzfabrik Berlin, fabrik Potsdam, Ernst Busch HfS, UDKBerlin, Statdtheater Düsseldorf, ArtEZ Arnhem NL, Korean National University of Arts Seoul, Dartington College of arts – UK and Session House Tokyo. from 2010 till 2013 he was a board member of ZTB Berlin an association for contemporary dance in Berlin and is regularly invited to participate to symposium and artistic discussions in Berlin and abroad.

Since the creation of the organization, shifts has worked on long term collaborations with more than 25 artists – choreographers dancers, visual artists, writers and musicians – and has presented its work in more than 20 countries worldwide.

Michelle Jacques (Guest Artist, Vocals)
During a four-decade career in the music industry, Michelle Jacques is, was and has become: a singer, bandleader, composer, songwriter, musical-arranger and educator. Michelle has traveled and performed with many well-known artists including: Wynton Marsalis, Linda Hopkins, Ladysmith Black Mambaza, Pete Seger, The Persuasions, Al Green and Manhattan Transfer. Notable Festival appearances include Montreux, Gurten, Berne, Festijazz and the UN Conference of Human Rights, Geneva. She was also a founding member of Street Sounds a cappella quintet and an original member of Linda Tillery’s Cultural Heritage Choir. Michelle’s educational portfolio includes: director of the Select Vocal Ensemble at Oakland School for the Arts, San Francisco Symphony's Adventures in Music and Oakland Youth Chorus. She is a lecturer at University of San Francisco and also serves on the Governors Board of the Recording Academy’s San Francisco Chapter, and the board of the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus.

This project was funded in part by the generous support of the Association Shifts France, Goethe Institute San Francisco, WESTAF Tourwest Grant, Alliance Francais and Regione Normandie. It is a Co-Production with CounterPulse.

Full Credits
Choreography, text, performance David Brandstätter in collaboration, for the performances in San Francisco, with singer and composer Michelle Jacques I Dramaturgic advisers & outside eyes Malgven Gerbes, Alexandros Mistriotis, Thomas Achtner, Howard Katz || Texts correspondances Jeffrey Gormly, Hatto Fischer, David Williams, Katja Kettner, Gabriele Wittmann || Narrators Michelle Jacques, Michael Turnbull || Light & Video Thomas Achtner, Maximilien Sautai II Production management Katja Kettner. 

Production shifts - art in movement || Coproduction fabrik Potsdam: Artists-in-residence || Residences Collectif Danse Rennes Métropole, Tanztendenz Munich, Giesinger Bahnhof Munich, Wiesenburg e.V., Théâtre de  Bouxwiller, Le Phare - CCN du Havre Normandie || Sponsor Kahla Porzellan || With the support of Fonds Darstellende Künste e.V; BLZT Performing Art Fonds; Kulturreferat München; DRAC Normandie / Ministère de la Culture; Région Normandie; Département de L’Eure || Touring in San Francisco with the support of Institut français Paris, Région Normandie and Goethe Institut San Francisco.

shifts - art in movement is compagnie conventionnée by DRAC Normandie / Ministère de la Culture and Région Normandie.


David Brandstätter

Calendar Editors Please Note
Who: David Brandstätter, Michelle Jacques
Where:CounterPulse, 80 Turk St, SF
Date & Time: Fri-Sat, June 17-18, 8:00pm, Sun June 19, 2:00pm
Duration: 60 minutes

Tickets: Advance Price: $20. Door: $25. Full-Time Students and Seniors: $18. Tickets on-sale March 15. 
Box Office and Information: or 415-399-9554.

Photos Available on Request






San Francisco International Arts Festival
Phone Number: 415-399-9554 | Email: [email protected]
1222 Sutter Street, San Francisco, CA 94109



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