An invitation to get surprised

31 May

Everybody knows:
Germans can’t dance! Germany and Dance seem to have about as much in common as Italy and orderly traffic or Great Britain and excellent cuisine. But just in case you belong to the daring dancers, ready to lay aside obsolete stereotypes, here is one good advice: put on your dancing shoes, step out into Berlin’s flourishing dancing scene and let yourself be surprised! The vivacity of dance in Germany’s capital goes further than the infinite variety of hip locations to flood your Friday night with powerful electronic beats. You can take weekly swing classes  at Kater Holzig or at Clärchens Ballhaus and subsequently show off your new skills for the rest of the night. You can go dancing salsa every single day of the week or tango along with international dance prominence at one of the several milongas. Did you know, that Berlin’s tango scene was one of the world’s most important ones right after Buenos Aires? Not even to mention the myriads of dance studios popping up all over the capital offering everything, from Aerobics to Zumba, your dance-desires could possibly imagine.

However, dance in Germany is not just a leisure-time activity. Its increasing importance is also reflected on a professional level and even in governmental programs of support. Of all European countries it was Germany which first started a major initiative to promote the cultural contribution of various dance projects on a federal level: Tanzplan Deutschland.

Tanzplan Deutschland

The not-for-profit organization was set up in 2005 to realize the initiative within the next five years and is now continued by the not-for-profit organization Tanzfonds. The emerging question back then was how Germany could initiate and change something in the area of dance. The final report of “Tanzplan Deutschland 2005-2010” assures its goal of strengthening dance systematically and comprehensively as an art form.

The initial idea of Tanzplan Deutschland was to organize a national dance festival. However, the project manager didn’t want to organize only one of its kind. This wasn’t going to solve all the existing problems. Who was taking care about the heritage of dance? The archives? The dancers who are too old to keep on dancing professionally? Instead the aim of a structural development plan was formulated.  The project manager Madeline Ritter explains that the structural development plan for dance should “build on the existing dance scene rather than starting from scratch”.

Germany’s Federal Cultural Foundation which invested 12.5 million Euros in this project expressed its aim to support mainly local and regional dance scenes. Moreover the project was thought to support:

  • present and future generation artists
  • dance training
  • cultural education
  • cultural heritage of dance

To achieve sustainability the whole concept was based on a constant interaction between dance professionals and locals politicians.

Conditions

In order to get the project started the respective cities were required to contribute half of the necessary amount of money, in addition to the obligation to promote dance within the next five years.

Thus, while the Federal Cultural Foundation finances 50% of the whole project, the actors of the dance scene were obliged to project future plans that should push forward the development of dance within Germany.

Tanzplan Deutschland became an international model project that realized 1277 dance performances in total.

Bright Future

Although the project of  Tanzplan Deutschland is completed, it was the starting shot for the Federal Cultural Foundation to continue supporting dance with the new Tanzfonds.

Tanzplan Deutschland demonstrated the worthiness to not only support cultural initiatives but also Germany’s numerous dance artists, choreographers and academies. The work of promoting the potential there is in dance can and will not stop here. Tanzplan Deutschland barely took the first important step of preparing a fertile ground for a flourishing future of talent and innovation in dance to grow on. So everybody who still thinks Germany is not the place to look for dance can prepare to be surprised:

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2 Responses to “An invitation to get surprised”

  1. Nicpic May 31, 2012 at 7:57 pm #

    Hi Rose,
    what a wonderful, informative post! I thought the way you introduce the topic is very clever. Going from a stereotype of Germans and then adding some humor through even more stereotypes of other countries we’re all familiar with! For example I had to drive in Italy one time and it was pure mayhem! Never again 😉
    Another great aspect of your post is that you include actual locations and initiatives we know and can now take place in in the future!
    Prior to your post I had not heard of “Tanzplan Deutschland” yet or even knew that such an initiative existed.
    You present the topic very nicely by first explaining the concept and then moving from its past, to its present and in the end its future. A very educative post!
    In addition I know that dancing is a topic that you’re really passionate about and I feel this translates to your writing!
    The only thing I want to remark is that even though your post is beautifully written and contains a lot of information I think you could still improve its value for us as managers in the making. The point you are trying to make is not clear to me yet and I think your posts will be even better if you include more experts’ opinions and find an issue worth talking about. Maybe you could include some information on how one would go forth in establishing such an initiative next time. Or even make it a two part post and write about it next week. I would read it for sure!
    Oh and just for some chuckles check out this video on Youtube if you’re interested in even more stereotypes!
    Cheers Nicky

  2. melissano18 June 4, 2012 at 4:15 pm #

    Hey Rose!

    Your blog post is a very well written and an appealing piece of work! I think it is so interesting that you chose to write about dancing. I danced myself for several years and I miss it so much! I haven’t had heard about this project “Tanzplan Deutschland”, however it sounds very impressive to me! I think that it is important to put some more focus on dancing!

    Your post is very structured and therefore very easy to read. You introduced the whole concept to us, which makes it more understandable for the reader.

    The pictures and the videos support your topic and are very well chosen.

    I liked that you put your “personality” in this post, because I know that you love dancing, however also just from reading this post I know how important dancing is for you.

    Great post, Rose!

    I’m looking forward to read more about this topic!

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