The Dance Congress is a cultural institution of excellence funded by the Federal Cultural Foundation. Since 2006, the Dance Congress has evolved into one of the most important venues for networking and self-reflection in the German dance scene. With performances to international audiences featuring outstanding dance artists, the Dance Congress has gained recognition and acclaim far beyond the borders of Germany.
Every three years, the Dance Congress provides an opportunity for dance professionals to discuss and further develop current trends in stage dance. In addition to its accompanying programme of dance productions, the Dance Congress also serves as an important place of contact and exchange within the cultural scene.
Each Dance Congress is organised by a different city and generally runs for three to five days.
The history of the Dance Congress
The Federal Cultural Foundation’s support of the Dance Congress continues a longstanding tradition. Dance artists in Germany were invited to the first “Dancer Congresses” in the 1920s. The meetings were briefly revived in the 1950s, but it wasn’t until 2006 that the Federal Cultural Foundation re-established the tradition of the Dance Congress. The first congresses in the Weimar Republic – in 1927, 1928 and 1930 – invited participants to collectively reflect on the social and aesthetic potentials of modern dance. Initiated by the dramaturge Hanns Niedecken-Gebhard and the choreographer Rudolf von Laban, the congresses served as an expression of self-empowerment and celebrated the ideals of modern dance in a public setting: new images of the human body, free movement and social utopias. In addition to aesthetic and artistic debates, the congresses negotiated working and training conditions for dancers. Several events also highlighted the fascist potential of modern dance, as both Niedecken-Gebhard and Laban later played an integral role in shaping the dance politics of the Third Reich.