Gesellschaft für Tanzforschung
Wir schaffen Begegnung!


The annual symposia are at the core of the Society's activities.

Interdisciplinary in nature, the symposia facilitate exchange as they bring together people from different areas of dance research (dance studies, dance practice, dance therapy, dance educationpedagogy) who present their latest research findings. The symposia offer different presentation formats and constantly develop new ones in which participants are invited to join the discussions.

Additional social events complete the symposias' programs and create space for encounters. Since the symposia are often conceptualized and organized in collaboration with other associations and institutions, they initiate and support the creation of productive local networks focusing on dance.


(In-)Visibilities – Moderner Tanz Re-Visited

Symposium of the Gesellschaft für Tanzforschung e.V. (gtf) 2024
19.–21.09.2024 in Essen

in cooperation with the Institute for Contemporary Dance (IZT) at Folkwang University of the Arts, AG Moderner Tanz, Department of Musicology and Dance Studies at Paris Lodron
University Salzburg at the Dance department at Music and Arts University of the City of Vienna


In 2022, the "Praxis des Modernen Tanzes in Deutschland" was added to UNESCO's list of intangible cultural heritage. This recognition has given modern dance renewed significance. However, there is a risk that it may be perceived as a historical movement lacking relevance today. The Gesellschaft für Tanzforschung (gtf) annual conference wants to to promote a fresh perspective on modern dance. The conference aims to critically revise the politics of modern dance and to broaden our understanding of modern dance by exploring numerous »hidden narratives« through transnational, decolonial, and queer perspectives. This includes subjects such as emigration, exile, and diaspora, as well as geographically peripheralized and queer histories of dance.

Although much research on the history of modern dance in Europe has tended to view it as a Central European phenomenon, this year's gtf conference intends to explore the transnational links that connect dance artists and their schools to other parts of Europe and the world. It will investigate the influences that have shaped the careers of dance artists between the metropolises of modern dance, such as Munich, Vienna, and Paris, and the more peripheral dance scenes in Europe and beyond. How do cultural transfers manifest in the works, styles, and genres of these artists? Additionally, how have social processes of interreligious and transnational discourses contributed to this phenomenon?

One aspect that requires further exploration is the transmission and modification of modern dance schools during exile and the diaspora. Many dancers, choreographers, and dance activists left Germany and Austria during the National Socialist era, either voluntarily or by force, and brought their art with them to countries such as South America, Scandinavia, or the USA. Although there have been some studies and initial overviews on this topic, which are mostly biographical, a comprehensive examination from the perspective of transcultural history of relationships and entanglements is still limited.

Additionally, the annual conference of the gtf aims to unite dance artists and researchers to explore the connection between dance and art in their research. The focus is on the specific dancer's and movement knowledge that is produced, preserved and developed in and through dance practice. Considering the venue of the conference, the Folkwang University of the Arts, creative and artistic-practical contributions should be a central moment of the conference.

The conference will address four primary themes:

  • Resonances of the transnational: Critically diversifying perspectives on dance modernity and its historical representation as a Central European phenomenon. How has modern dance been experienced and understood in other parts of Europe and beyond? How can the processes of circulation of forms, styles and practices be traced and narrated? In what ways can translocality lead to the production of knowledge in a different way?
  • Queer Dance Modernity: What (transgressive) concepts of gender and sexuality does modern dance produce? And how does modern dance relate to sexology, homosexual emancipation and queer culture of the 1920s? Where do issues of queerness and race intersect in dance? Which queer networks exist, in schools or artistic groups, and how do these continue to have an impact under National Socialism? Finally, how do we deal historiographically with the hidden, with secrets and rumours?
  • Artistic practices and methods of mediation:  Exploring the presentation of practices, approaches, and concepts of modern dance from the perspective of pluralisation and diversification. Which transnational and/or diasporic experiences are inscribed in the body or are evident in the movement repertoire? How can "hidden narratives" of modern dance be methodically addressed in pedagogy and artistic creation?
  • (Im)material cultural heritage: What does be included on the UNESCO list mean for the practice of modern dance? What understanding of modernity does dance reflect? How does nationalisation impact modern dance? What is the relationship between dance and modernity? How can modern dance traditions be expanded beyond established master narratives? What potential does modern dance offer for contemporary developments?

Concept/Planning/Realisation: Dr. Anja K. Arend, Dr. des. Miriam Althammer, Dr. Claudia-Fleischle-Braun, Dr. Christiana Rosenberg-Ahlhaus, Prof. Dr. Eike Wittrock