Tanzplan Deutschland
Tanzplan Dresden234

Current Activities64
The Semperoper Ballett, the Palucca Hochschule fr Tanz Dresden and Hellerau, which are all heavily funded by the City and State, co-financed the Tanzplan activities from their own budgets. The three institutions will continue their collaborative work, for example for the Dance Platform 2012 event, the Dance Education Biennale in 2014 and many other activities. At the start of 2011, Hellerau launched Linie 8, its own event-staging initiative for the independent dance scene, with TanzNetzDresden, a new network of dancers and choreographers. (May 2011)617

Project description78
Tanzplan Dresden is a joint project involving three Dresden institutions: the Palucca Schule Dresden Hochschule fr Tanz, the Dresden Semperoper Ballett, and HELLERAU European Center for the Arts Dresden. It offers young professional dancers the opportunity of preparing themselves for a career in dance through collaboration with experienced choreographers, by producing their own works and by taking part in various workshops.

The Artistic Directors are the Rector of the Palucca Schule Dresden, Prof. Jason Beechey, the Artistic Director of the Dresden Semperoper Ballett, Aaron S. Watkin and the Artistic Director of HELLERAU European Center for the Arts Dresden, Dieter Jaenicke. Tanzplan Dresden is supported by the Dresden City Council for Culture and Heritage as responsible body, as well as by additional partners.
Over the year Tanzplan Dresden focuses on several new dance productions, a workshop week in winter (ImproWinter) and a summer workshop including Creative Residencies.

Each year Tanzplan Dresden develops two projects in the studio theatre of the Semperoper semper kleine szene and one in the Festspielhaus Hellerau, which subsequently go on tour. In the Festspielhaus Hellerau, experienced choreographers work together with graduates or students of dance. For the realisation of the projects in the semper kleine szene, Tanzplan Dresden regularly offers grants. Young choreographers from all over the world are invited to apply by handing in interdisciplinary concepts. The choreographers who have been awarded a grant are supported by a mentor during the two-month production phase in Dresden.

Improvisation is at the very heart of the ImproWinter. Various choreographic improvisational techniques are supplemented by different approaches from theatre, music, art, architecture, film and the new media. This week-long workshop aims at professional dancers, students specialising in dance, dance education and choreography, and at those active in other arts and areas of knowledge; it also provides the opportunity of creatively exploring the boundaries between art, science and technology and of going beyond them by means of improvisation.

Every year the Summer Workshop for dance takes place during the summer holidays and offers dancers and artists from other disciplines as well as students in these fields a platform for international and interdisciplinary exchange. The focus is on contemporary dance as a means of artistic expression, comprising a multiform vocabulary and undergoing continuous development in the exchange process with different disciplines. The offer is supplemented by scholarships for young choreographers, the Creative Residencies.

(Current as of: December 2009)

Contribution by Katrin Bettina Mller in
"Jahresheft Tanzplan Deutschland 2006/07" (March 2007)

Last summer the Palucca School (Conservatory for Dance) in Dresden got a lovely new home, with daylight everywhere in the studios, views through double storey glass walls and transparent corridors between the elements of the building - an ideal place to start afresh with the training and education of dancers, choreographers and dance instructors and an ideal place for a workshop for dance and the moving camera. Just such a workshop, directed by Lutz Gregor as part of the first ImproWinter in the Palucca School, will be one of Tanzplan Dresdens first projects.

A trio works on stairs leading to the outside between the cubes of the buildings. A dancer with a camera moves in large loops around a couple who come together then separate again. Later we will see how her camera follows the glances the dancers exchange, making the moments of attraction and repulsion more powerful.

Three of the twelve participants in the course have media-technology training; the others are holding the camera for the first time. For Lutz Gregor it is an instrument for sharpening visual perception. The showing of Gregors class on the last evening of the ImproWinter was a group improvisation that developed out of the movements with which the camera-dancer followed her colleagues. It is dramatic and funny, a miniature on the power of looking, on appropriation through the gaze, and on the capture of elements within the framework of an image.

Jason Beechey regards such experiences with different forms of art as very important. He is a Canadian with a Belgian passport and since the winter semester of 2006 the new Rector of the Palucca School and one of the three artistic directors of Tanzplan Dresden. His experience as a guest lecturer in various countries has shown him that trained dancers are often not sufficiently able to use improvisation as a way of discovering movement or to deploy different media as instruments for reflecting on their own work. Multi-disciplinarity and space for experiments are therefore at the top of his list of goals for the Palucca School. In this respect, he is in agreement with the other artistic directors of Tanzplan Dresden, Aaron Watkin, director of Ballet at the Semperoper, and Udo Zimmermann, director of the European Centre for the Arts in Hellerau.

The mood of a new beginning links all three men. They have taken over their tasks knowing that historical respect and cultural heritage alone no longer provide a sufficient perspective for the future of culture. The change is greatest for Hellerau. The long empty, and now renovated Festspielhaus (Hellerau Festival Theatre) forms a sort of shell, which Udo Zimmermann is working on filling with a new programme on the unity of experimentation and production. The "Ausbildungssttte fr rhythmische Gymnastik (Training Centre for Rhythmic Gymnastics)", built in 1911, is quickly becoming a meeting place for the European avant-garde. William Forsythe has shown his pieces since its reopening in 2006 and when the working and living spaces are completed he also wants to develop productions here. He is not directly involved in Tanzplan Dresden, but is one of the people who have put their energies into the many new plans for Dresdens dance landscape.

Since then, Dresden has been thinking big when it comes to dance. Tanzplan Dresden is one of the many steps towards approaching this goal. The plan is to mark Dresden out again on the international map of important dance and cultural centres, not only through the Forsythe Company, but also with other projects from the city. This is also a concern linking the Palucca School with Hellerau and the Semperoper Ballet. They are supported by the outstanding commitment of Dresdens Amt fr Kultur und Denkmalschutz (Board for Culture and Heritage Protection), whose Deputy Director, Doris Oser, was one of the driving forces behind Tanzplan Dresden.

The number of students at the Palucca School proves that this new positioning is already working. More students than ever have registered with the Hochschule fr Tanz for the winter semester 2006/07, namely 245, over 60 more than in the previous year. More than half the new students come from outside Germany. This is due not only to the capacity of the new building, but also to the fact that training in Dresden, in contrast to comparable schools in England for example, is still free of charge. The scope of Jason Beecheys activities and his experience in building networks is however also especially crucial to the schools popularity. The next entrance exams for the Palucca School will be held in Dresden, Berlin, Leipzig, Dusseldorf, and in eight other European cities.

The ImproWinter, held over one week in 2007 and involving 90 participants with different backgrounds, is the smallest of the four annual projects of Tanzplan Dresden. The counterpart to this is the interdisciplinary summer workshop, which is a training course designed for professional dancers and artists from other genres and will also be held for the first time in 2007.

Two annual productions that are also designed to provide young dancers with an entry into professional work by working with experienced choreographers are also especially important. This new interface between training and commitment has been devised for students from the Master Class of the Palucca School, among others. Dancers from the European D.A.N.C.E. network were also involved in the first year. The Dance Apprentice Network aCross Europe, of which Jason Beechey is one of the founders, was also co-producer. French choreographer Angelin Preljocaj and Briton Wayne McGregor choreographed these first Tanzplan Dresden productions (premiere in March 2007 in the Festspielhaus (Festival Theatre) Hellerau). Both are interdisciplinary productions. In Preljocajs Fire Sketch, the electronic music by Laurent Garnier is a vital element, and The Living Archive, which McGregor developed with Palucca students, is an investigation of cognitive skills and human memory as a source of decision-making. A concluding tour is also planned.

Looking at a map of Dresden, the Palucca School is to the south of the centre and the Festspielhaus (Festival Theatre) Hellerau to the north. The Semperoper, an enduring magnet of attraction, is enthroned between them in the heart of the city. Its ballet has however long ceased to play an international role. The company has not toured for five years, as Aaron Watkin, director of the Ballet since August 2006, soon found out. With an ensemble of 56 dancers, of whom 32 are new, he is now working on expanding the classical repertoire with contemporary choreographers, including William Forsythe, Jiri Kylin and house choreographer David Dawson.

Cooperation with the Palucca School in Tanzplan Dresden is an important symbol in building up a new profile for the SemperOper Ballet. If Palucca students in the eleven programme join in performances on the stage of the Semperoper, Preljocaj develops a piece with them, or ballet mistress Laura Graham goes through a morning warm-up with them during the ImproWinter, then these are all leaps over a hurdle that stood for an unpardonably long time and artificially maintained a long-outdated separation between ballet and contemporary dance. Measured against the decades of separation between the Semperoper Ballet and the Palucca School (Conservatory for Dance) it is already a small Dresden sensation.236

Tanzplan Deutschland