The Dance Congress, organized four times already by the Federal Cultural Foundation, shall receive funding in the future as a cultural institution of excellence. The last Dance Congress was scheduled in 2016 in Hannover and continued to be held every three years at various locations in Germany. In past years, the event has gained recognition as a festival with strong public appeal, an international showcase of dance performances, an interdisciplinary research site, a contest for new ideas and a marketplace for co-productions.
The protagonists of modern dance met at major congresses only three times in the 20th century – namely during the era of the Weimar Republic in 1927, 1928 and 1930. These first dance congresses soon became legendary with up to 1,000 dancers participating in the events. They proclaimed a new concept of the body, free movement and the social relevance of dance – until the National Socialists took control and brought the meetings to a grinding halt.
The Federal Cultural Foundation restarted the tradition: Initiated and organized by the Federal Cultural Foundation, the first 21st-century Dance Congress took place in Berlin in 2006. With over 1,700 people in attendance, the event was an important success for the visibility of the German dance scene. It also formed the basis of the “Dance Plan Germany”, a major programme initiated by the Federal Cultural Foundation in 2006.
The Dance Congress has led to a significant mobilization of the scene and more public support of dance in Germany. A number of internationally renowned artists have played a significant role in advancing the interests of dance, for example, Boris Charmatz, Sasha Waltz, William Forsythe, John Neumeier, Royston Maldoom, Reinhild Hoffmann, Susanne Linke and Vladimir Malakhov, all of whom participated in both events organized by the Federal Cultural Foundation.