Preserving and promoting dance heritage
Dance is an important, ephemeral part of our heritage and its preservation presents a substantial challenge. In 2011, the nonprofit organisation Diehl+Ritter launched a website (tanzfonds.de) to facilitate access to funds from the German Federal Cultural Foundation for artistic projects dedicated to the cultural heritage of dance. These projects aim to document, archive and therefore preserve the history of dance for future generations.
The selected artists are encouraged to fully research their projects and work closely with experts in the fields of history, dance science and choreography. The results allow the general public to openly access the history of 20th century and contemporary dance through a well-designed website, which includes videos of rehearsals, interviews and performances as well photographs, artworks and articles relating to dance.
By encouraging the projects to work within national and international archives, valuable artefacts have been uncovered and brought back into the dialogue surrounding dance heritage. The rediscovery of material has also led to the reconstruction of historical dance pieces, which have been reproduced as closely to the original as possible and have been reconsidered in a contemporary context. For the preservation of intangible heritage, this is an extremely important aspect of the project as it ensures the practice of something which can so easily be lost. The jury acknowledges “the importance of this supportive platform for this specific type of cultural heritage which intends to capture its ephemeral nature and make it available for the wider public as well as specialists of dance”.
“This project is remarkable in its objective and its devotion to the preservation and promotion of 20th-century dance is very welcome. The initiative highlights the need for heritage of this kind to receive the attention and protection that it deserves, especially due to the fact that the threats that face the preservation of dance are not always so apparent to those outside of the world of dance. The Dance Heritage Fund’s success in raising awareness of this beautiful heritage is sure to have a positive influence on other projects throughout Europe by power of example”, the jury stated.