The Dance Congress 2019 was titled “A Long-Lasting Affair” and took place from5 to 10 June 2019 at the Festspielhaus Hellerau and other venues in the vicinity.

Its artistic director, the renowned choreographer Meg Stuart, made strides to strengthen the experimental and international character of the event. Stuart is known for her genre-crossing, thematically diverse works, as well as her innovative improvisational and collaborative formats. For the Dance Congress 2019, Meg Stuart developed an experimental convention format which addressed contemporary dance issues – inspired by the utopian setting of the Festspielhaus Hellerau – in a praxis-oriented and community-spirited manner.

Artistic utopias of community

The Dance Congress 2019 revisited the artistic utopias of community, anarchy and spirituality. These themes were embodied by the venue of the Dance Congress 2019 – the Festspielhaus Hellerau in the garden city of the same name located on the outskirts of Dresden – as well as the artistic exile colony Monte Verità in the 1910s, the legendary finale party of the first dancer congress in 1927 at a club in Magdeburg, and the happenings staged in the United States in the 1960s.

Directed by a female choreographer for the first time, the Dance Congress 2019 was conceived as a gathering for international dance professionals and dance enthusiasts. Meg Stuart and her team created a spatial and temporal structure for a community-based experience. Together with experts from the arts, sciences and politics, the participants explored a diverse range of physical techniques, discussed philosophical and natural-scientific concepts, and examined political activism from various times and places in hopes of gaining inspiration for contemporary dance. The Dance Congress 2019 went above and beyond conventional congress formats and created alternative environments for sharing and gaining expertise, navigating conflict and mediation, meeting and healing. The entire grounds of the Festspielhaus Hellerau, including the large hall and surrounding gardens, were converted into modular working spaces in the form of a club, cinema, dormitory, library etc.

Salons from around the world

In addition to the main programme from 5 to 10 June 2019 at the Festspielhaus Hellerau, the Dance Congress 2019 included salons from around the world which laid the thematic groundwork for the congress. In the weeks leading up to the congress, various satellite events took place in Dresden which highlighted the ideas and concepts of the event in public workshops, concerts and lectures. These included a special event entitled “Down by the Water” at which Dresden’s residents were able to meet and engage with participants of the Dance Congress.

An event organised by the Federal Cultural Foundation
in cooperation with HELLERAU – European Centre of the Arts, the Goethe-Institut and DIEHL+RITTER
with funding provided by the state capital of Dresden and the state of Saxony

Video documentation

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Documentary film for the Dance Congress 2019

Further links

Project website

Visit the project website for complete information about the Dance Congress 2019 – “A Long-Lasting Affair”, including details about the programme, the international salons, workshops and public festival programme in Dresden.

International salons

Visit the project website for information about the international salons.


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Previous events

  • 5 June, 2019 to 10 June, 2019: Dance Congress 2019

    Europäisches Zentrum der Künste Hellerau, Dresden


Antonia Lahmé
Kulturstiftung des Bundes

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Tel.: +49 (0)345 2997 117
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E-Mail to Antonia Lahmé


Jana Bäskau / Claudia Plöchinger

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