Canan Erek, born in Istanbul, is a multifaceted artist based in Berlin. Her journey in the world of dance and choreography began with a classical ballet education in Ankara and Istanbul. However, it was her discovery of Pina Bausch’s work that inspired her to relocate to Germany. In 1987, she embarked on her study of contemporary dance at Folkwang University in Essen, culminating in her graduation in 1991 under the guidance of Pina Bausch.
Following her time at Folkwang University, she pursued further academic studies in choreography at the Ernst Busch Academy of Dramatic Art in Berlin from 1992 to 1996. Subsequently, her focus shifted exclusively to choreography and solo projects. Her creations found their stages in various Berlin venues and festivals across Germany. As a guest choreographer, she lent her talents to the Australian Opera in Sydney, Hans-Otto-Theater in Potsdam, and the Berliner Ensemble.
Between 2004 and 2007, Canan Erek was the artistic director for the “Leipziger Tanztheater” in Leipzig. Since 2007, she has been living and working in Berlin once more. Her stage productions often featured collaborations with composers such as Peter O´Donoghue, Carlos Sandoval, and Mark Andre. Her artistic repertoire resides in the dynamic intersection of dance and theater, frequently exploring socio-cultural themes. She also engages in cross-disciplinary collaborations with artists from the realms of music and film.
Between 2012 and 2016, she delved into the direct engagement with urban environments, birthing a series of site-specific performances (dance poetry) in public authority spaces. In 2017, she conceived “Green Move,” another site-specific performance delving into the relationship between humanity and nature, set in the Kurparks of the Rhein-Main Region.
Beyond her artistic pursuits, Canan Erek has been actively involved in community and educational dance projects. Notably, she has crafted numerous choreographies for young participants within the Education Program of the Berliner Philharmoniker.
She is the driving force and artistic director behind “PURPLE – International Dance Festival for Young Audiences,” an annual event held in Berlin since 2017.
As of 2022, she assumed the position of curator for the international dance festival “Tanz!Heilbronn” in Heilbronn.
In addition to her artistic endeavors, Canan Erek has made significant contributions to cultural politics both within and outside Berlin. From 2010 to 2016, she served as the chairwoman of the board for “Zeitgenössischer Tanz Berlin e.V.,” an organization dedicated to advocating for dance in cultural politics. From 2019 to 2022, she held the position of overall project manager for the “Offensive Tanz für junges Publikum” initiative.
Her projects have received support from the City of Berlin’s Department for Cultural Affairs, Hauptstadtkulturfond, Projektfonds for cultural education, and various district offices for culture in Berlin.