Thirty years ago a series of pioneering dance productions from Belgium created a "Flemish dance wave" that catapulted the country to one of the most important "dance nations" in Europe. However, in the opinion of many Belgian dance artists, dance funding in Belgium hasn't been able to keep pace with the scene's rapid development and has repeatedly failed to meet its current needs. Dissatisfied with the situation, a group of artists organized themselves to call for cultural and funding policy change based on the master plan "Canaries in the Coal Mine". Long ago canaries were used as an early warning system in coal mines to signal dangerous levels of poisonous gas. In the same way, this group of dance artists used the symbolism of the canary to warn cultural policy makers of the danger of neglecting their artistic field. European neighbouring countries have provided additional momentum for this plan - in particular Germany where the Federal Cultural Foundation's Dance Plan Germany established comprehensive measures to ensure long-term, sustainable dance funding. The project Canaries in the Coal Mine focused on Belgium and examined the appropriate cultural political conditions for high-quality, field-specific artistic funding. In addition to presenting contemporary dance performances and exemplary "classics" of contemporary dance, the project hosted a round of discussions that focused on production conditions and developed specially designed dance funding measures. Canaries in the Coal Mine was part of Tanztheater International, a festival for contemporary dance.

Artistic director: Christiane Winter
Artists / ensembles: Jan Lauwers & Needcompany (B), Les SlovaKs Dance Collective (B), and others

Venues and schedule:
Orangerie Herrenhausen, Hochschule für Musik und Theater, Hannover, Ballhof eins + zwei and other venues, 3-12 Sep. 2009


Tanz und Theater e.V.

Roscherstraße 12

30161 Hannover