Lina Aschenbrenner

Hauptbetreuerin Univ.-Prof. Dr. Anne Koch
Nebenbetreuerin Univ.-Prof. Dr. Susanne Plietzsch
Beginn 2016
Kontakt lina.aschenbrenner(at)
Thema der
The World Goes Gaga -
Shaping a New Israeli Body

Abstract (Auf Englisch)

Since the beginning of the 20th century Israeli dance contributes to shaping and embodying an Israeli nation and an Israeli identity and connecting it with a positive and powerful Israeli body image. Recently Israeli contemporary dance became an important cultural export success most professional and non-professional contemporary dancer world-wide wants to consume. This is mainly due to a new movement “tool box”, a new movement language called Gaga founded by Ohad Naharin. Gaga sets itself apart from other contemporary dance classes by its special Gaga dance sessions with their unique ritual framing.
The research questions are: (1) How does contemporary Israeli dance and Gaga take part at Israeli identity construction and religious discourses? The dissertation plans to uncover the Körperwissen, body knowledge, Israeli contemporary dance and Gaga creates, negotiates and passes on to a global audience in order to find out more about contemporary Israeli (religious) culture and the contemporary Israeli identity embodied in the dancer. (2) What potential physical exercise in dance rituals may shape a society and individuals? The research elaborates the mechanism of embodying, communicating and shaping body knowledge at work within the ritual.
Methods used will be discourse analysis on Israeli dance and Gaga in selected media, as well as narrative interviews with few selected people, Austrian and Israeli, uncovering the role of Gaga within their biography, as well as ethnographic field work like field research of the researcher on her own body participating in Gaga rituals in Gmunden in Austria and Tel Aviv and interviews with Austrian and Israeli participants trying to evoke their body experience made during the Gaga session by using visual or auditory ritual documentation.

Key Words:
Gaga, contemporary dance, Israeli dance, contemporary spirituality, contemporary religion, body practice, embodied knowledge, Körperwissen, individual identity, group identity, Israeli identity, wellbeing, holistic, optimization

Lebenslauf (Auf Englisch)

Areas of Research

  • Contemporary spirituality and religion
  • Aesthetics of religion (body practice, body knowledge, embodied spirituality)
  • Contemporary dance
  • Contemporary Israeli history of religion and Judaism   

Professional Work 

Since 06/2015 Dance Teacher, Munich  Contemporary dance with refugees/at schools, integrative school projects; creative dance/ballet/contemporary/jazz/hiphop for children 2-15 years
03/2013 – 09/2016 Student research assistant, Prof. Loren Stuckenbruck, New Testament studies (focus: Ancient Judaism), Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich   


2016-19 Member of the Doctorate School Plus „On the Move. People, Objects, Signs“ (Paris-Lodron-University of Salzburg) 
2016 Beginning of PhD at Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich, Supervisors: Prof. Anne Koch, University of Salzburg; Prof. Susanne Plietzsch, -University of Salzburg
2014-2015 Apprenticeship Dance Pedagogy Claudia Lorenz, Dance Center Bielefeld 
2014-2015 Master Religious and Cultural Studies, Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich (Title of thesis: "Maṣḥafä mǝśṭirä sämay wämǝdr - Konzepte von ‚Schrift’ und ‚Schriftlichkeit’ in altäthiopischer Tradition", Supervisor: Prof. Loren Stuckenbruck)  
2012-2014 Protestant theology studies, Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich
2008-2012 Bachelor International Culture and Business Studies, University of Passau (Title of thesis: „Identität durch Sprache – Die regalleguización galicischer Ortsnamen“, Supervisor: Prof. Ursula Reutner)  

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