At the conclusion of the Kulturstiftung des Bundes’ (German Federal Cultural Foundation) eight-year programme Tanzfonds Erbe, which has realised 60 individual projects, the Akademie der Künste is hosting a series of special events including an exhibition, performances, workshops and lectures. Using dance as an example, cultural memory is understood to be an open process of contemporary art. The appropriation of historical choreographies and their transformation through dancers’ bodies and movements creates a space of cultural memory.
A retrospective view of 20th century modern dance shows how new images of the body, choreographic concepts and perception levels have evolved since the beginning of the century, while moving away from classic ballet and other movement traditions. These changes stand for emancipation, for a liberation from gender roles and body images, for the dynamics of new utopian beginnings and political assimilation, but also for resistance. Dancers, such as Isadora Duncan, Mary Wigman, Gret Palucca, Jean Weidt and Valeska Gert, have not only revolutionised dance as an art form, but have fundamentally inspired the other arts and have raised questions about the political dimensions of dance. A similar situation developed with the new departures of post-war Modernism, including dance theatre in Germany, Butoh in Japan, Modern and Postmodern dance in the USA or contemporary dance in France and Belgium.
The programme focuses on questions concerned with passing on knowledge of choreography and dance between generations, and accordingly, also on building up a repertoire of contemporary dance. Possibilities surrounding reconstructions of historical works and their physical and performative transformations will also be explored. What methods are used to translate historical material from the archives into present-day dance, and which appropriations and enhancements are practised? How does this material and performance relate to one another? And how can archives be reinterpreted as a place of creative process for historical as well as contemporary dance?
An extensive exhibition and installation, Das Jahrhundert des Tanzes (The Century of Dance), brings together materials from German dance archives and international performances. A programme series of more than 20 current dance productions focuses on the exemplary dance heritage of Isadora Duncan, Mary Wigman and Valeska Gert through to Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker and Xavier Le Roy using dance as a contemporary art form. A master class is set up to guide international students through the subjects of choreographic movement and body research. A discursive special event programme reflects on societal and politico-cultural meanings of dance and choreographic heritage, situating them in the context of postcolonial and historical-theoretical debates. A film series and a reader on “The Century of Dance” complete this diverse programme.
What the Body Remembers: On the Topicality of Dance Heritage
A programme of the Akademie der Künste, Berlin,
in cooperation with DIEHL+RITTER and the Kulturstiftung des Bundes (German Federal Cultural Foundation)
Funded by the Federal Agency for Civic Education (bpb) and the Institut Français Germany. In collaboration with Tanz im August and Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart – Berlin. The master class is funded in the framework of the European Year of Cultural Heritage.
Das Jahrhundert des Tanzes (The Century of Dance)
25 August – 21 September 2019
Mon – Sun, 3 – 10 pm, 8/5€
Akademie der Künste, Hanseatenweg 10, 10557 Berlin
Press conference: 22 August 2019, 11 am
Opening: 24 August 2019, 6 pm