Founders and Directors
Brigitta Herrmann, Performer, Choreographer, Dance/Movement Educator with over Fifty years of cumulative experience in building community through dance/movement and performance. Anchored in the Mary Wigman tradition of dance, her work expresses her cross cultural roots. She is cofounder of MOTION, Berlin, Germany, and Group Motion Multi Media Dance Theater and Ausdruckstanz Dance Theater, in Philadelphia.
Herrmann collaborates with Manfred Fischbeck in their creation, direction, and facilitation of the highly acclaimed Group Motion Workshop locally, nationally and internationally. Herrmann’s dance art exceeds over 100 performance works and collaborations, presented locally, across the US, and in Europe.
Awards include the National Endowment for the Arts, the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, the Philadelphia Cultural Fund, the Pew Charitable Trusts, the International Theater Institute, and commissions include WHYY Channel 12 Spot Light Series, the Seven Arts Festival, Philadelphia, the Institute for Contemporary Arts, and by the Philadelphia Dance Collection for The Art of Creating Primary Resources in Dance.
Choreographer, composer, director and teacher, Manfred Fischbeck, was born in Tanzania, Africa, and spent his formative years at the end of World War II and the period after the War in Stendal, East Germany. He began his musical studies at an early age with practice on piano and violin and choir singing.. At age 14 he left East Germany and went to West –Berlin to join a Boarding Home for East German refugees. Upon completion of high school, he attended the FreieUniversitaet in West Berlin with studies in theater, philosophy, literature and poetry.
From 1961-65, Manfred was co-director and actor with KARUSSELL, a theater company at the university. Subsequently he served under the artistic direction of Ruediger Tuchel as co-artistic director and as leading actor with PROVISORISCHES THEATER, where he was instrumental in lifting the boycott on the works of Bertold Brecht through the premiere of “Im Dickicht der Staedte”, the first Brecht play since the end of the War in West Berlin. In 1966 he held the leading role in “Mord and Totschlag”, a major motion picture directed by Volker Schloendorff.
As his interests expanded to include dance, Manfred studied with Brigitta Herrmann and Hellmut Gottschild of Gruppe Motion Berlin, a Modern Dance Company, which evolved from the Mary Wigman School, Berlin. In 1967 he joined forces with Gruppe Motion to create the first Multi Media Dance Theater work “Count Down for Orpheus”. In 1968 under the co-direction of Herrmann, Gottschild and Fischbeck, the company relocated to Philadelphia, changed its name to Group Motion Multi Media Dance Theater and established a new company, theater and workshop. The company received instant recognition at such places as the Judson Church in New York and the Jacobs Pillow Festival in Massachusetts and was invited to tour with the NEA Touring Program .In 1971 Gottschild left the company and founded Zero Moving Dance Company. In 1972 Herrmann and Fischbeck created the Group Motion Workshop as an outgrowth of their work with the company. The acclaimed workshop has toured nationally and abroad, traveling through Germany, France, Argentina, Japan, Barbados and Bermuda. While Brigitta Herrmann continued to co-direct the Group Motion Workshop, she founded Ausdruckstanz Dance Theater in 1989, leaving Manfred Fischbeck as sole artistic/executive director of Group Motion Multi Media Dance Theater.
Choreographing, directing, performing and touring extensively with the the Group Motion Company since 1969, Manfred has received various grants and fellowships, among them the National Endowment for the Arts and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, the Pew Charitable Trusts PRDI and Dance Advance programs and other foundations.
Manfred has been an Artist in Residence at the Ballet Contemporaneo in San Martin, Buenos Aires, and has conducted residencies in Tokyo; Taipei, Taiwan; and Germany during the summers of 1993 – 2000 and more recently in 2009 at the Djerassi Resident Artist Program. Under Manfred’s artistic direction. Group Motion developed a body of over 40 dance theater works and a long history of collaboration and creation of new work with prominent national and international artists and arts organizations. The list includes visual artists Peter Rose, film (Philadelphia), Harold Jacobs, sculpture (France), Joseph Wong, arcitecture (China) and composers Phil Kline (New York), Andrea Clearfield (Philadelphia), Tim Motzer (Philadelphia) and Peter Price (Philadelphia) – to name a few, and leading dance artists and choreographers, including Carol Brown (London), Kenshi Nohmi and Akiko Kitamura (Japan), Oscar Araiz (Argentina), Masaki Iwana (Paris / Tokyo), Wally Cardona (New York) and Philadelphia locals such as Rennie Harris and Kun Yang Lin and Silvana Cardell. Recent collaborations include composer Andrea Clearfield, artist Maureen Drdak and Network for New Music(one of Philadelphia’s leading contemporary music ensembles) in the creation and performance of “Lung-Ta – the Windhorse”, and composer Andrea Clearfield and Visual Artist / Writer Quintan Ana Wikswo in the creation and performance of “Schwarzer Tod and the Useless Eaters”.
Manfred’s creative process has long incorporated technology and other artistic media as resources for imaginative material. He has integrated choreographic software with film and live dance and has utilized various interactive technologies (the Soundbeam – an interactive device translating movement into sound, compositional computer software programs, video) in projects and performances, providing new possibilities for both composition and choreography. Manfred’s poetry has been performed at the Live Arts/Fringe Festival and his musical compositions have been integrated into a wide variety of contexts from classes to workshops to performances and collaborations with other musicians, composers, dance artists and companies.
In addition to creating multi-media dance theater works and leading workshops at Group Motion, Manfred has been an integral part of the city’s educational community. From 1983 to the present he has been on the faculty of the University of the Arts as Adjunct Associate Professor; and from 1982 to the present he has lectured regularly as part of the Theater Arts Department of the University of Pennsylvania., and in 2011 became lecturer at Georgian Court University. As a representative of the dance community, Manfred has served on the Dance Panel of the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts from 1976-79, and on the Board of the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance from 1972 and on the Board of the Philadelphia Dance Alliance from 1986-89. In 1996. Manfred initiated the creation of the Kumquat DanceCenter, a collective of diverse professional dance companies and artists who share, studio, and theater space at the CEC, 3500 Lancaster Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19104.
Group Motion on the Main Line
Lead by Laura Bertin. These workshops are held on the first Sunday of every month from 7:00- 9:00 PM in Wayne, PA.
For more information, click here.
Other Certified Group Motion Workshop leaders:
- Andrea Clearfield
- Doris Ferleger
- David Ford
- Laina Fischbeck
- Heidi Weiss