Frank Händeler is a choreographer, performer, researcher and dance theatre instructor. As choreographer of the Bangoura Group, he translates African rituals into the language of contemporary dance theater. Stephanie Bangoura and Frank Händeler met in Brazil in 2008. Since then, Händler has accompanied Bangoura’s artistic development. As founder and artistical leader of ÜberBrücken collective, Händeler designed and realised a variety of social education projects collaborating with the Bangoura Group. Furthermore, Händler and Bangoura lead workshop programmes for women, disadvantaged youths and refugees as part of the EU Erasmus+ programme.
Händeler began his training in the performing arts in 1977 in Wuppertal with the dancers of the Pina Bausch ensemble. This intensive experience still influences his artistic practice today. Händler received numerous national and international awards and grants for his choreography. Whether in the Brazilian favelas, an American university or as part of European refugee work, Händler’s artistic and social work operates across cultural borders. In 2010 he received his Master in Performance Art from the School of Dance and Theatre at the Federal University of Bahia in Salvador, Brazil. In recent decades, Händeler has worked with outstanding artists and professionals such as Robert Wilson (USA), Shusaku Takeuchi (Netherlands), Maria Tallchief/Chicago City Ballett (USA), Felix de Roij (Netherlands), Loyd Newson (Dance theatre company DV 8), Kasu Ohno (Japan), Elisabeth Corbet and Michael Schuhmacher (Frankfurt Ballet), Philip Glass (USA) and Dora Fanelli (Spain).
“The art I have been practising intensively for 40 years is a kind of survival. I understand it as a means to transform the weaknesses which we humans all hold within ourselves into something positive. This also includes the pain of looking beneath the surface and recognising one’s failures.” Händeler possesses good language skills in German, English, Dutch and Portuguese, as well as a basic knowledge of Spanish.