For many years, the history of modern dance was only visible to a limited extent in the public sphere – despite the fact that the international reputations of numerous artists such as Mary Wigman, Dore Hoyer, Tatjana Gsovsky, Rudolf von Laban, William Forsythe or Pina Bausch began in Germany. The processing of historical material is indeed time-consuming, copyright issues are often unclear and use rights, e.g. for original music, are expensive.
In order to close these gaps, the Kulturstiftung des Bundes (German Federal Cultural Foundation) initiated TANZFONDS ERBE (Dance Heritage Fund), the content for which was designed by Madeline Ritter, the former director of Tanzplan Deutschland, and Ingo Diehl, the former director of the education section Tanzplan Deutschland. Both Ritter and Diehl deliberately chose to avoid determining a canon of key dance works from history. They wanted applicants to decide on the works themselves and to argue why their chosen historical choreographers, works and themes are significant today. This open approach facilitates the possibility of accessing dance history from a wide variety of entry points.
A total of 60 projects were selected. Successful entries are model projects for dealing with dance history in an artistic way: artists use a wide range of archives for their research, work closely with experts and also contribute to the clarification of copyright. The artistic results of these processes establish public access to a lively dance history that has until now only been available to a few experts. The resulting productions are included in the season programmes of the theatres and companies involved. A guest-performance fund for TANZFONDS ERBE projects, which was set up in 2014, supports the national visibility of the productions.
The projects funded by TANZFONDS ERBE are documented by DIEHL+RITTER, in their entirety until 2014 and then selectively. The documentations offer an insight into the origins of projects as well as their research and production processes. They are a central element of this website. The wealth of information also acts as valuable study material for future researchers and artists, facilitating in-depth work with German dance history.
TANZFONDS ERBE is thereby providing fresh impetus for conveying dance in innovative ways, strengthening the visibility of dance history, and at the same time adheres to the aims of the UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage.
TANZFONDS ERBE is winner of the European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage/ Europa Nostra Awards 2016.