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Salon K Experience promotional portrait of Sarah Grether
Photo © Johan King Silverhult

Dancer, actress, choreographer, teacher...multi disciplinary artist Sarah Grether was born in the USA in 1982. She studied classical dance in the Channel Islands Ballet School in Ventura, California, and at the Hamburg Ballet School in Germany under the direction of the prestigious American ballet dancer, choreographer, and director John Neumeier, in the late nineties. Then she worked at the Stuttgart Ballet under the direction of Reid Anderson, as a group and soloist dancer with choreographers such as John Neumeier, John Cranko, Uwe Scholz, Glen Tetly, Christan Spuck, and Hans Von Mannen. After a five years experience in classical dance, she decided to expand her career in modern dance, performance art, singing and acting. As a freelance artists she was worked under the direction of various directors/choreographers such as Christoph Winkler, Patrick King, Ismael Ivo, Constanza Macras, Pierre Wyss, Antonio Gomes, Peter Rein and Barbora Kryslova Greiner. She is currently based in Berlin and she works with directors such as Patrick King as a founding artist for the lifestyle performance company Salon K Experience which is currently presenting a new show in Berlin.

When did you know you wanted to become a dancer?

I was a very animated, energetic, talkative and open child, I still am I would say. Growing up as the middle kid on a farm in California with 7 siblings was not so easy, I learned quickly to move dynamically amongst everyone to keep up with the “circus”. My family recognized very quickly my talent in story telling, movement and performance. And because my father loved to dance so much he taught us all how to western line, partner and swing dance as we were children. We knew every dance in the book. Especially my dad and I - as we would be the stars of the evening when it came to the Western swing- a two meter tall cowboy turning and flipping me all around the dance floor from the age of 9. We had standing ovations and the whole bit. My Dad and my German Grandmother (who's daughter was also a Ballerina in Stuttgart Ballet) decided the best way to keep me quiet and focused was to channel all that energy, so they put me in ballet class. Once I discovered it, right away I sensed a sort of freedom that one can not easily describe. Dance became my way to express and cultivate my life force especially since I had such a deep affection for music. I felt like a musician in my body with this freedom. It was a catharsis from the start. I would say as early as I can remember, I wanted to be on stage, do my thing and share my voice.

What does dance mean to you? 

Dance to me is the freedom to feel my body which enables me to connect to the vibration of life's limitless soundscape. It is a tool to experience the beauty of humanity and resonate my being. I see dance and movement as one and the same. Everything is a dance. Weather I'm dancing, singing, acting, conversing, walking or just observing. To be able to consciously create form by connecting my mind to my body means that dance encompasses all movement we encounter or make. I don't have to feel locked inside my body, I am free to move an expand. Just as we all danced (or pushed) out of our mother's wombs- we were all born out of movement. We were born to feel. And the deeper we allow ourselves to feel, the more we can enjoy this brilliant experience of life.

What is the value that in your opinion gives society to dance and what do you think about it? 

I would say that dance is something I feel society currently only scratches the surface on. Although ethnic and folk dance have been present as long as humans, now a days modern technology, consumerism and entertainment promote very little consciousness on just how important it is to feel rhythm in our bodies and our earthly desires. People seem to be confused and persuaded by outside forces about what they feel they need and this often means, not feeling free in their own skin. Or some people seem to appear comfortable but secretly find their only true value in life from confirmation regarding their selfie likes. In any case, as social media enhances and takes control of human emotion and algorithms measure peoples' confidence through internet behavior, the over exposure misleads the society to understand their bodies as objects and sexual symbols so that someone may get more followers on Instagram. So the value of the cultivated art such as dance or beauty of the body in general is often completely misunderstood, misconstrued or even lost. Unfortunately, the true reality is that in most circles of the world the majority of people think of table or gogo dancers if someone says there is a dancer in the room.  If dance would have a stronger voice in our society we would have a different understanding of empathy, health and overall awareness. However it is really how one perceives dance which draws the line weather it can heal or halt our development. Dance should never be a show- I think if you dance well you are expressing a real manifested feeling or impulse. It is in one's own authentic deliverance of this expression that creates value or not. Society may need much more time to really understand the value dance can have and until it does I like to say; stretch your bodies as high as your dreams while keeping a firm heaviness in the ground, understand what standing means, and feel the beat in every move you make, even if you are typing on the computer. Actually, especially if you are typing on the computer!

Sarah Grether during Salon K Privé, Berlin, 2018 
photo © Christopher Peetz

You have studied in Germany and in the USA. What have you learned from both experiences?

I was very lucky to receive a strong classical dance education from the beginning in California, which was not easy to find. Also in New York City Ballet school (SAB) I was able to learn the Balanchine and Graham curriculum, some of the greatest pioneering techniques in dance, originating in the USA. There I really started to learn what musicality and dance expression meant on a deeper level. I felt the enrichment American Ballet schooling gave me, which continues to support my work today. What was later great about moving to Germany and attending the Hamburg Ballet school, was being immersed to all sorts of dance styles and composition. As Germany has state funded schooling, there was suddenly so much more available for me to absorb and learn. I was in the studio all day learning different modern dance methods, folklore dances, flamenco, repertoire, pas de deux, composition and anatomy- working in the same building as the Hamburg Ballet company and getting a real idea of what professional life means for a dancer. I had multiple teachers from the highest levels and was able to start working on my own choreography right away as a student. It was also a huge gift to be around so many young dancers of great talent from all over the world, shaping the person I have become today, influencing my work and artistry. I am very grateful.

One of your teachers was John Neumeier. What could you explain us about that learning? 

John Neumeier definitely made some of the greatest impressions I ever had in dance and composition and continues to today. His ability to choreograph with such deliverance in story telling really blew my mind as a teenager. He is an exceptional dramaturge and in dance that is no simple matter. I knew he saw an authentic story teller in me and throughout my career in Stuttgart I was lucky to work closely with him when he came to set his ballets. My aunt Lisi Grether was one of his first muses for certain works in the beginning of his career. She shared stories with me about his genius moments in the studio which I still hold close today. One of her stories was, for example how he would say that just by the way a dancer runs freely across the stage concludes weather a dancer is great or not. Later, she was able to watch me dance her original role as Stella in John  Neumeier “Street Car Named Desire”. It was a great highlight of my time in Stuttgart. I always thought one day I might dance again for John Neumeier. He has been a true inspiration. Who knows, maybe one day for a movie.

When you think about your career, how would you describe that path until your current works? 

My need to be creative definitely compliments my need to perform so I have always been very busy simultaneously creating my own story telling, which plays a big role in my current work with Salon K Experience.  As I mentioned earlier, dance for me is a way of life and encompasses every move I make. I never really liked the idea of show for show per-say which tends to manifest around the conventional context of “stage” life. Therefore, my career continues to take many wonderful turns from ballet, to film acting, conceptual performance to body coaching, choreography, to film making, script writing to being a muse for great directors and photographers. I guess all of this because I have always felt the impulse to allow my interests to educate me rather than fearing I have to go in one direction. Everything seemed possible after ballet and I always found deep value through my different experiences. I was so curious about life after being such a disciplined child in the ballet world. What I really desired after Stuttgart Ballet was to explore my deeper voice, purpose and who I am. My consistency to push through new paths and to journey towards myself has been the core to my artistic expression and definitely my most consistent goal throughout my career. In the end, I believe an artist has one big responsibility- to stay real in order to really touch the hearts of humanity. If I am not true to myself, I am not true to anyone. I needed to venture out, try new things, learn about life and myself. It is not important for me to become the best at something, maybe because I have been very lucky to be blessed with a great deal of talent and I always despised competition. It has been important for me to access the most honest deliverance I possibly can and continue to cultivate my skills. That said, I still can't ever imagine fitting in to what most people box around a "dancer" and actually never could. Though I do love to work hard as all "dancers" do. What is really important to me is to deeply support and celebrate other's differences and creativity as well as fiercely transmit my gifts to an audience. Therefore I aim to continue to engage in my diversity so I can inspire the world to become more open to their own vast creativity and purpose.

You have work also in cinema and music videos. In reference to dance, what do you think about dance in cinema? 

I find it still quit seldom that the mainstream movie industry incorporates a great deal of cultivated dance into cinema. One reason might be that dance can be considered such an abstract art form or in some way idolized. Maybe because technology tends to drive us further away from our bodies and consumerism usually wants to appeal with the “norm”, in order to make larger sales. Though it really depends on which level we are discussing. Some might argue that dance is more present in cinema than ever. So on the other hand, as street and hip hop dance become more popular, I see a notion of it starting to shift, touching base with all sorts of movement trajectory. For me an actors' body language is in itself a dance and alone can make or break his or her performance. As well as the final edit of a film, which for some directors, is their great final dance. I find film, in general one of the most multifaceted channels today to express art as you have limitless tools to portray one single moment in time. Therefore cinema and music videos have great potential to expand body mind awareness as this becomes an ever growing topic. If there is dance in a music video, you are not just getting the dance; you are getting the dance inside the dance. This can be very intriguing, as it raises an ecstatic value and can move people beyond words. I would love to see more dance in cinema and aim to move in that direction with my own work.

Salon K Experience promotional portrait of Sarah Grether
Photo © Johan King Silverhult

Currently you are working in a new Salon K Experience show. What is Salon K Experience and what is that new show about? 

Salon K Experience is a world of it's own founded by artistic director Patrick King. Since I have been present from the birth of this beautiful journey, you could call me a Salon K founding muse. In this experience we offer an evening called the Salon K Prive where guests collect from all walks of life to join us in our space with performance, food, and champagne. Guests have a strict dress code and are encouraged to converse elegantly with others and requested to say something they may not normally say in other settings. It is about peeling off layers of inhibition and allowing oneself to feel a moment truly. The artists take the audience on a journey towards their own stories, transforming into mythological figures by the end of the evening with an aim that those visiting may become more conscious of their own stories, desires and divinity. It is magical. There my role, which shifts from the “Icon” to the “goddess Kali”, is very much cultivated around my own life experiences utilizing my skills in film acting, singing and of course, dance.

How was the creative process of the new show? 

The creative process has been a very moving endeavor, as Patrick King and I have been working together for several years. I acknowledge that his direction and mentorship has also very much shaped my identity and career. His first inspiration in cultivating this evening was based around allowing diversity to become a mere fact of life which enriches humanity to exchange and engage on all levels. We concentrate on human desire being essential to experience the beauty of life. Each performance involves sincerely moving portraits and captivates the need to dive deep into our feelings to grow stronger and more authentic towards our true selves and divinity. That said it has not always been an easy process which can often be filled with much inner conflict. Though that in itself has helped each of the artists who perform in this evening expand to a greater level of connection. I think one of Patrick's true visions is that his performers greatly appreciate their artistic qualities, own their talents and share their gifts with the world in order to deliver beyond superficial identify.

If you had to choose one moment from the current life, which one would it be? 

If I could share one thing it would be that I am not really a “dancer”, I am a human. I cannot identify well with titles and the deeper I look into humanity, the more I wish to unveil the masks people hide behind their titles so that the life around us would be more at peace. Most of the people seem to be stuck behind a huge identity crisis leading them so far away from the generosity life already generates in every moment. I am truly interested in seeing a shift in perspective and allowing connection to become a bigger part of this human experience. 

Are you currently working in other projects? 

I am currently writing and editing my own film projects. It is yet to be decided where this step will take me but there are some interesting opportunities around the corner so stay tuned. 

Could you explain us a dream that you had while sleeping or a childhood memory? 

When I was a very young child, almost every night I used to watch lights fall into my eyes until I fell asleep. I had no idea where they came from, they looked like Christmas light waterfalls pouring into my face from the ceiling of my dark room. I was not sure if I was dreaming or if it was real but I remember it as clear as day. I don't know why it stopped but I think I know why it was there, maybe to keep my inner child close when strong winds blow so that I am always able to remember where I come from.

To experience Sarah Grether live, join the Salon K Privé on December 29th and 31st, or on January 12, 18 or 26th, 2019. More at

An interview by Juan Carlos Romero
For further information about Sarah Grether please visit
Photos by © Christopher Peetz and © Johan King Silverhult
Courtesy of Salon K Privé
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