International Symposium »Dance Education in Transition« gives key impulses for the future of dance

1 December ’22

On 25 and 26 November 2022 the international symposium »Dance Education in Transition« took place at the Ballet Academy of the University of Music and Theatre Munich in cooperation with the Dachverband Tanz Deutschland (DTD). More than 170 people from over ten different countries participated in the conference on site in Munich or online, 50 of whom were actively involved as speakers and presenters.

The programme topics of the symposium focused on the four central issues that are currently being discussed in the dance world, but also among the general public, in relation to sustainable professional dance education: physical and mental health of dancers, coping with standards of excellency and competition, diversity and ethics in dance, networking, exchange and reflection. The aim was to address all important topics and thereby lay the foundation for international exchange and initiate further dialogue. A team of curators from the two collaborating partners was responsible for the content of the symposium: Anna Beke, David Russo, Jan Broeckx and Andrea Sangiorgio on behalf of the Ballet Academy, Claudia Feest, Michael Freundt and Johannes Bergmann on behalf of the DTD.

Foto von Tänzerinnen und Tänzern im Ballettsaal
Foto: Pedro Dias

According to the Ballet Academy of the University of Music and Theatre and the DTD, the symposium was a resounding success and an important starting point for further international discourse on the ongoing development of professional dance training:

Conclusion by the Ballet Academy of the University of Music and Theatre Munich:

»As the Ballet Academy of the University of Music and Theatre Munich, we are committed to dance education based on the tradition of classical ballet. We love ballet and dance and are proud to pass on this passion to our students. For us as the only state institution for professional dance education in Bavaria, this symposium was a crucial step, enabling us to discuss our own pedagogical concept with the international dance community, to embrace new impulses, to learn and to network. We are at the beginning of a process that focuses on the holistic education of our students. As a result, we will engage our students to an even greater extent in our pedagogical concept. Their voice is the crucial one, and we aim to take that into greater consideration. But the symposium means even more to us: it is a starting point for our further networking with other international training institutions so that we can design our training to ensure that our students can contribute to shaping the world of dance as healthy and strong personalities. This is something we will continue to strive for.«

Conclusion by the Dachverband Tanz Deutschland e.V.:

»This symposium has laid the foundation for a new level of quality in international exchange on dance education. We were able to gain an overview of the major, including painful, issues in current dance education. But the work is really just beginning now. From our point of view, this symposium is a message to the entire dance world to continue working together on the topics of ethics, aesthetics, diversity, health and prevention. The fact that the initiative for the symposium came from the Munich
Ballet Academy, an academy for classical dance, is particularly significant. As the Dachverband Tanz Deutschland, we now consider it our duty to continue to support networking on these topics, to strengthen the dialogue with professional dance ensembles and to continue positioning dance in politics and society. For the further development of dance education and thus for shaping the future of classical and contemporary dance, the dance world requires the necessary resources. Also in this respect, we will continue to advocate for the interests of dance in Germany.«

Among the over 50 people who contributed to the various panels and workshops were representatives from the most diverse fields within the dance world: directors of training centres, academies and ensembles, students, active dancers, experts in dance medicine and dance science, including for example Martin Schläpfer (Vienna State Ballet), Mavis Staines (Canada’s National Ballet School, Toronto), Élisabeth Platel (Ballet School of the Opéra national de Paris), Frédéric Olivieri (Ballet School of the Accademia Teatro alla Scala, Mailand), Christopher Powney (Royal Ballet School, London), Stanisław Wegrzyn (Royal Ballet, London) and from Germany Jason Beechey (Palucca University of Dance Dresden), Gigi Hyatt (Ballet School of the Hamburg Ballet), Nik Haffner (Inter-University Centre for Dance Berlin), Dieter Heitkamp (Frankfurt University of Music and Performing Arts), Mariama Diagne (Society for Dance Research, Berlin) as well as Osiel Gouneo, Julian MacKay, Bianca Teixeira and Shale Wagman (Bavarian State Ballet, Munich).

Foto von
Foto: Pedro Dias
From left: Prof. Dr Andrea Sangiorgio (University of Music and Theatre), Prof. Jan Broeckx (University of Music and Theatre, Director Ballet Academy), Prof. Lydia Grün (University of Music and Theatre, President), David Russo (University of Music and Theatre), Anna Beke (University of Music and Theatre), Claudia Feest (DTD)

About the Ballet AcademyThe Ballet Academy of the University of Music and Theatre Munich is the only state educational institution for professional stage dance in Bavaria and has been directed by Prof. Jan Broeckx since 2010. Every year, between 40 and 50 students enrolled in the bachelor’s degree programme in dance (spanning three years) as well as around 70 young students who pursue their special talent in ballet while still at school, train in the buildings on Wilhelmstraße in Munich. The basis of the training is the Waganowa method. Focusing on a holistic view of the young dancers, this pedagogical method has served as the binding basis for all the training work of the Ballet Academy since October 2020.

The Ballet Academy was founded in 1995 by Konstanze Vernon, the unforgettable Munich ballerina and former director of the Bavarian State Ballet. As a collaboration between the Ballet Academy, the Bavarian State Ballet and the Heinz Bosl Foundation, the Bavarian Junior Ballet Munich is the crucial stepping stone to working in a professional company.

About the Dachverband Tanz Deutschland e.V. (German Dance Association)The Dachverband Tanz Deutschland (abbr. DTD, founded in 2004 as Ständige Konferenz Tanz) has been working as a nationwide platform for artistic dance in Germany since 2006. Founded out of the awareness of the active founding members that dance must speak with one voice in the political landscape of the Federal Republic of Germany, the DTD today acts as a federation of the outstanding associations and institutions for artistic dance in Germany – overarching aesthetic differences, different modes of production and specific professional fields.

The DTD develops position papers and concepts for the promotion of dance in Germany, it realises campaigns and initiatives and implements them in its projects. Since 2016, the association has participated in nationwide funding programmes such as TANZPAKT Stadt-Land-Bund, Tanzland-Fonds für Gastspielkooperationen and Kreativ-Transfer. Since 2018, DTD has sponsored and organised the German Dance Award (Deutscher Tanzpreis). Since 2020, the association has been realising the funding programmes DIS-TANZEN, tanz:digital and DIS-TANZ-START (for graduates) as part of NEUSTART KULTUR. In addition, the DTD supports the Association of German Dance Archives in its ongoing cooperation and participates in the intensive discourse on issues pertaining to dance pedagogy. The German Dance Association maintains a close cooperation with the Society for Dance Research (gtf) and in 2019, the first round table on dance medicine took place.

The projects of the DTD are funded by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and Media, the German Federal Cultural Foundation, the Ministry of Culture and Science of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, the Cultural Foundation of the federal states as well as foundations, sponsors and donors.