Tanzplan Deutschland
Tanzplan Essen 2010286

Current Activities64
The project initiator PACT Zollverein will continue the Explorations inter-disciplinary working meetings and the Agora information exchange programme for universities. Both formats have won praise beyond the European cultural scene and international partners are ready to continue working together in the future though we are still awaiting the result of negotiations with the State of North Rhine-Westphalia and other sponsors. (May 2011)619

Project description78
Essen has a long tradition of dance education, as well as many resources in the field. So it is particularly pleasing that Essens project, through a synthesis of symposia, workshop weeks and exchange programmes, is devoted to the research and testing of pioneering instructional methods for dance. Owing to radical changes in artistic practice that have taken place over the past twenty years, as well as important realisations in educational psychology, neurobiology, and didactics, the conditions for transmitting knowledge, information, and experience are being questioned on several different levels. Issues involved include educational methodology, environment and content as well as possible educational goals.

Tanzplan Essen 2010 will combine and further develop the educational, academic, and artistic resources and skills of its partners, and see to it that the processes and results that are worked out can be taught according to models. In addition, the theoretical and practical testing of new models for instruction, learning, and partnerships will create new synergies among different regional artistic and cultural institutions.

Three modules will create interaction among institutions and participants, leading to something like an educational skill centre in and through dance.
The annual symposia titled Lernen lernen (Learning to learn), will explore issues such as forms of learning, the transfer of knowledge and skills, learning environments, and instructional theory. International experts will be invited to a week of lectures and discussions that will also involve new forms of dialogue and exchange.
The Workweeks will be a crucial instrument for the practical testing of partnerships, especially among the different institutions in the City of Essen and the State of North Rhine-Westphalia. Each time, two different partner institutions will participate in one of the five work weeks that will take place throughout the year, when they will explore themes of mutual interest. There will be public presentations at the end of each week.
There will be trans-disciplinary exchanges with students from the graduating classes of international art conservatories, academies, and post-graduate institutions ("Werktausch"). One hundred graduating students and twenty instructors will work for a week on practical and theoretical questions. They will deepen and expand the knowledge students require in order to work together and learn in increasingly complex situational contexts.

As the sponsor of Tanzplan Essen 2010 the city of Essen will commission individual partners to carry out projects. This will be co-ordinated by an organisational office that will be established at the PACT Zollverein.

Partners include Aalto Ballett Theater, Berufsverband fr Tanzpdagogik, Folkwang-Hochschule, Folkwang Musikschule, Folkwang Tanzstudio, Gymnasium Werden and PACT Zollverein. Associated partners include Frauenhofer Institute for Autonomous Intelligence Systems AIS St. Augustin, Hartware MedienKunstVerein Dortmund, Institut fr Theaterwissenschaft der Ruhr-Universitt Bochum, Kulturwissenschaftliches Institut Essen and MusikFabrik NRW.
(Current as of January 2007)

Contribution by Franz Anton Cramer in
"Jahresheft Tanzplan Deutschland 2006/07" (March 2007)

Polycentric forms of learning
It is often said that Western societies are currently undergoing a knowledge crisis. Life has become so complex and the resulting demands on individuals and on larger organisations have grown to the extent that no one-dimensional learning concept is helpful any more. A constant process of appropriation, of transformation and of the adapting of skills has become necessary if people are to stand their ground in a living environment. As a result, teaching can no longer be about teaching from fixed compendia and relying on the mere transmission of knowledge, skills and techniques. The processes of learning itself must be better understood, be made more mobile and be adapted to new requirements. In this sense, knowledge and dealing with what is known itself becomes action and the design of form.

This is the point at which Tanzplan Essen 2010 starts. The city and the region of Essen have a privileged place in the area of artistic and especially dance training. Since its foundation in the 1920s, the Folkwangschule has been setting standards in the redefinition of the relationships between dance, the stage, theatricality and individual artistic creation. Over the years countless other institutions have been added, forming a dense network of different dance skills, perspectives and interests. From this concentration of teaching, researching, educational and institutions that initiate dialogue on these subjects developed with Tanzplan Essen 2010 a tripartite concept for researching and trialing teaching models, whose implementation began after a long development and organisation phase at the end of 2006. The city of Essen is funding the project, as is Tanzplan Deutschland, providing
500,000 Euros annually.

The most direct approach is the Workweeks, which will take place three times a year. The project partners involved organise themselves without a central controlling authority. Meetings with experts and institutions with whom an exchange and an expansion of ones own perspective seems possible will be initiated. The Workweeks are the smallest, most mobile and most decentrally structured units in the proposed learning area of Tanzplan Essen 2010. A project with musician Jens Thomas on improvisation, for which the Folkwang-Tanzstudio got together with the Schauspielhaus Bochum, has already been held. An event on strategies for dealing with obstacles to learning, in which the Folkwang Musikschule will cooperate with Gymnasium Werden (Werden Secondary School), is also planned. Martin Puttke from the Aalto Ballet has also networked with a team of neurobiologists to investigate the extent to which dance images arise in the brain before movements are physically executed.

The basis of this and other projects should be exchange and the insight that an artists own work can be made fruitful through external impulses. During the Workweeks, so-called "low-threshold working situations" will be created, in which the basis of the individual activities in the area of dance (and in the other disciplines invited) will be illuminated and examined. Processuality, development and medium-term innovation are the key words of this format, which relies entirely on the initiative of the partners. There will be no programme authority or specified input.

With a Werktausch (interdisciplinary exchange) planned to take place every two years at the PACT Zollverein, the Essen Tanzplan is using the experience gained from three meetings of European dance colleges, which also took place at PACT between 2000 and 2004. Any restriction to the areas of dance and choreography in the Werktausch has been abandoned in favour of a broader exchange with students from other artistic disciplines, also in view of the development of a Biennale for students in the area of dance performance through the Tanzplan Deutschland training projects planned to take place as of 2008 (the first Biennale will be held in 2008 in Berlin and the next in 2010 in Frankfurt/Main). This opening-up arises from the conviction that artistic training can be proposed as an example of new forms of teaching knowledge stocks and the skills of experience. The first Werktausch will be held in December 2007. About 100 teachers and students from the graduating classes of various international art colleges and academies will work together on theoretical and practical questions for one week.

In addition to teaching a repertoire of technical skills and abilities including the practices of writing, researching, quoting and disclosing sources and stocks of knowledge described as theory artistic training especially confronts the position, status and dimension of individuals shared creation. The British educational expert and knowledge researcher Irit Rogoff calls this the urgency of artistic activity and emphasises the necessity of insisting on the openness of processes of teaching and learning. Nobody can know what will emerge at the end of artistic processes and especially at the end of a process of education and training. The gulf between the demands of efficiency and the orientation towards results here and resistance to the rationalisation of knowledge and artistic skills there, that is sometimes hard to convey and harder to defend, must be made clear and maintained. Comparisons with other forms of artistic practice visual arts, architecture, acting etc. are designed to systematically expand the concept of training and education and push it beyond its boundaries through its own technical questions.

As the third element of Tanzplan Essen 2010, annual symposia will be held that will deal with concepts of learning and knowledge from an overarching perspective. These will be especially designed to find out which forms and practices of transmitting and itemising knowledge are appropriate for which object or vice versa, and whether every form of knowledge does not perhaps require its own transmission. These should explicitly not be a combination of presentations and the expertise participants bring to the symposia, contrasted with each other in module form. Rather, a core group of about 40 participants will get together over a period of several days at the PACT Zollverein premises and work on other, newly thought-out formats of exchange, communication and expansion. Here too, the development is more important than the result, the limits of the disciplines are less crucial than the exploration of new territories. The focus will not be on the optimising of learning or speeding up of results, but rather on opening up individual practice.

Tanzplan Essen 2010 will thus be asking one of the central basic questions in the area of artistic and especially of dance and choreographic training: how can the specific, situation-bound and performative structured knowledge of the individual be brought into a fruitful exchange with the stocks of knowledge in their environment?288

Tanzplan Deutschland