She earned a psychology degree in Kiel/Germany as well as an MA at LABAN London.
Educated in classical ballet and in contemporary dance she founded her own laboratory space in the 1980ies in Kiel and started her own work in performance and video.
As a co-founder and artistic director of Dance Initiative Hamburg Irmela Kästner develops, curates and coaches the productions and projects. She initiates workshops, gives lectures and publishes on the work of the Dance Initiative alongside a critical discourse in the context of contemporary choreography. Read: PUBLICATIONS/TEXT.
She works as an author in the field of dance and performance. Her articles are published regularly in the daily and specialist press. (e.g.: Die Welt; tanzjournal; tanz ) She has contributed to various books, both nationally and internationally. E.g.: “Contradiction as a strategy for a future in motion” in: P.A.R.T.S.—Documenting 10 Years of Contemporary Dance Education, Brussels 2006; Dance Techniques 2010 – Tanzplan Germany, 2011. For many years she taught contemporary dance and movement analysis on amateur and professional level. She worked as a guest dramaturge for the Hamburg Ballet John Neumeier. She launched research projects on creativity and dance, e.g. at the Academy of Music and Theatre Hamburg. In 2007 her book (in collaboration with photographer Tina Ruisinger) „Meg Stuart—Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker“ was published by K. Kieser Publishing House Munich. She also authors film, television and multimedia projects. Dance films, e.g.: Weiss, 1991; Platz, 1994; zeitWeise, 2000 were presented at film festivals throughout Germany.
In collaboration with the German Dance Film Institute Bremen she worked for german television 3sat. Read: PUBLICATIONS/TV. She is artistic director of the Tanzfonds Erbe Project (Dance Heritage Fund) „Zeugen des Tanzes“ (Dance Witnesses) a series of portrait films. Together with Tina Ruisinger she develops a series of multimedia portraits on contemporary choreographers.
VIDEOS Kästner/Ruisinger: https://vimeo.com/user51084128