Dance has its own culture

Cultural education

Antje Klinge

To person

Prof. Dr. Antje Klinge, professor for sports education and sports didactics at the Ruhr University Bochum. Co-founder of the Federal Association for Dance in Schools and member of the board of trustees of Tanzplan Deutschland, an initiative of the German Federal Cultural Foundation. Initiator for the development and expansion of cultural education in teacher training.

Dance as part of cultural education is currently experiencing a boom. The physicality of the experience is what makes dance so special, the educational experience is close and immediate. Dance provides a variety of opportunities to break the boundaries of existing orders, to try out new, individual spaces of possibility and to discover hidden topics.

The dance is a community experience and at the same time promotes awareness of one's own physicality. (& copy source: dance in schools nrw, photo: Iris Pohl)

For the development of dance as a part of cultural education

"You can change your life in a dance class!" with this promising credo of the choreographer Royston Maldoom [1] from the film "Rhythm is it!" (2004) moved the focus of public attention to an art section that had previously had a difficult time alongside the "greats" of music, art and theater.

While dance was still highly valued as an individual expressive dance that was detached from classical ballet in the reform pedagogical times of the 1920s, it withered with the domination ideology of Nazi rule and the consequences of the Second World War. It was not until the mid-1970s that it experienced a revival in Germany as free and creative dance in youth cultural work and as dance theater on the big stages. Dance has been anchored in the school curriculum since the 1980s, as a field of movement alongside gymnastics and movement arts in school sports and as an integral part of the subjects of music, performing games and theater. In the school as in the various youth cultural educational institutions there have always been dance offers, but in reality dance has only taken place very sporadically.

With the first "Education" project of the Berliner Philharmoniker under the direction of Sir Simon Rattle, this situation has changed colossally. In 2004, around 250 young people from Berlin hotspot schools presented Stravinsky's "Le Sacre du Printemps" in a staging that attracted audiences, thus meeting the spirit of the times. The cinematic documentation of this large-scale project leads to an unprecedented cinematic success, which like a starting signal for the long due recognition and broad impact of the dance sector as an educational element leaves its mark.

Emulating the major Berlin project, a large number of dance projects emerged, which are characterized by new and fruitful collaborations between dancers, choreographers and schools. At the same time, in the course of the expansion of the schools into all-day schools, the demand for external providers who can initially work in the afternoon in the form of working groups (working groups) or time-limited individual projects is increasing. Finally, dance receives another important boost from the Tanzplan Deutschland, which is funded and initiated by the German Federal Cultural Foundation, which can develop its effectiveness as a "catalyst for the German dance scene" [2] from 2005-2010. In all initiatives, dance, especially in its contemporary form, is assigned an unmistakable cultural educational significance.

In the meantime, the number of dance projects in school and non-school facilities is obvious. The willingness and great commitment to cooperation between school and non-school providers are particularly noticeable. In addition to temporary projects in the form of half-yearly groups or one-off offers, there are dance classes that have been given a permanent place in the schools' canon of subjects. Houses such as the Bavarian State Opera in Munich ("Anna tanzt"), the Bielefeld Theater ("Zeitsprung") or the Radialsystem with Sascha Waltz in Berlin (TanzZeit children's dance company - time for dance in schools) grow together with school coffers to form fertile communities. At the federal and state level (Kulturstiftung des Bundes, Kulturstiftung der Länder, Tanzhaus in NRW or Tanzlabor_21 in Frankfurt), a wide variety of cultural institutions are increasingly committed to dance as an art form for and by children and adolescents.

Who are the actors?

Dancers, dance teachers and choreographers are the main actors in these initiatives. They are supported and mediated by existing institutions in the federal states as well as nationwide initiatives such as the Federal Association for Dance in Schools. The teaching of dance requires special training for dance teachers, the curricular and institutional anchoring of which is still in its infancy. Anyone working in dance education can still call themselves a dance pedagogue, regardless of whether they have acquired a state-recognized dance method or dance pedagogical qualification or not. There are former dancers who want to secure a foothold in mediation work or dance teachers who have enjoyed their training at private or state schools, technical colleges and universities and, depending on their orientation, bring a wide variety of expertise with them. In view of the institutional conditions of the school and the different expectations of extracurricular providers, the individual overburdening is often very massive. The dancer is used as a substitute for a lack of specialist teachers or for the missing social pedagogue. It is not uncommon for external parties to be expected to provide impetus for the urgently needed school development processes. Dance performances are welcome promotions here.

In the past five years, all the more emphasis has been placed on developing and ensuring the quality of dance in schools [3]. In addition to the establishment of dance-in-schools modules at two German universities [4], some organizations offer advanced training courses and a wide variety of formats for professional support [5], coaching or supervision [6].

Why dance

As for music, art, theater or play, the basic pedagogical idea of ​​human education in, through and in the arts, the aesthetic education of the senses or through the senses, also applies to dance (cf. Liebau & Zirfas, 2008). The proximity of the arts is due to their structural similarities. There are analogies between music and dance e.g. B. with regard to time, dynamics and the build-up of tension, between visual arts and dance with regard to the design and spatial design and between theater, play and dance in their performing and showing character.

As a physical phenomenon, however, dance is a special point of contact for cultural education. Dance is always on Physicality bound and thus up close and right away. All life-world experiences are experiences of the body and experiences with the body and are deposited in the physical. At the same time, the body is the place where past experiences can become virulent and visible. The processes of experience building are seldom conscious; Only the directed attention to the sensations and perceptions of his body in space and time can bring the unconscious or preconscious, the everyday and the familiar as well as the not yet known to the surface. In its contemporary orientation towards spatial, temporal and dynamic structures (and less towards fixed forms of movement), dance contains this potential for immediate, body-oriented attention.

The physical bondage refers to the individual and subjective Character of dance. In contrast to other physical activities, such as B. sports, dance contains a very large amount of freedom for subjective interpretations and individual designs. [7] In the individual handling of one's body, dance makes it possible to find that which corresponds to the individual or the group, which is subjectively coherent. Lifeworld sensations and experiences can be processed and expressed in their own way. The possible perspectives that the physical experience and movement opens up for the person are diverse; To experience them and to prove them with your own meaning seems to be an increasingly necessary challenge for young people in view of the overwhelming abundance of meaningful offers. In this sense, dance, as a shaped self-expression and self-determined form, always contains a political dimension, in that in and with the shaped movement people take a stance on the world around them.