Racism in Dance – a critical examination of power in dance
October 21st to 23rd
Last year's symposium POSITIONS:DANCE #3 CONDITIONS - QUALITIES OF ARTISTIC WORK AND WORKING CONDITIONS of the Dachverband Tanz Deutschland taught us many things, but above all one: the international dance scene may appear diverse, but still needs a good deal more awareness, further sensitization and change when it comes to diversity.
A structural white hegemony still prevails here as in other areas of society. This is why the German Dance Association has decided to develop its vision and structures further in order to guarantee access, diversity and balance whether for its institutional identity, or for its public commitment. In parallel to many necessary transformations being gradually implemented via a critical discourse of the DTD towards its own operations and internal dynamics, we move forward and approach the Dance Prize celebration with a symposium entirely dedicated to diversity, under the umbrella theme of "Creating Access." Next year we will talk about another urgent topic – #Inclusion –which is also still neglected in the dance scene.
This year's symposium POSITIONS:DANCE#4 Creating Access #Diversity (AT) is already thought differently in its preparation. With a curatorial team made of: Nora Amin (main curator), David Konno and Mey Seifan, the symposium is conceived and curated from an already given diverse and non-traditional perspective. The aim is to raise awareness, to uncover hidden or misunderstood racism, to deal with body images and culturally shaped views of dance.
This year, the symposium suggests an approach that is embedded in the intersection between the representation of dance history, the images and definitions of the dancing body, and dance education in all its forms. To conceptualise the encounter with an intersectional approach means to finally open each category to dialogue with the other, to examine how the structures of discrimination are recycled, interwoven and expanded across dance history-telling, the normalisation of racism within the images, notions and definitions of dance and the dancing body, and the rooting of a discriminatory perception and consciousness of dance within education and pedagogy that reproduce all the above and disseminate it. If we aim for access and diversity, it is high time to question our notion of normality, to work across all the sections that support and feed each other towards discrimination, elimination and injustice. If those discriminatory sections are strengthened by the fact that the zones of dance operations are dismantled and dispersed, then one force of resistance would be to collect all our knowledge and creative criticism to mend the fragmented field of dance with an egalitarian healing eye. Hence to analyse across and beyond, and from a critical stand, while being aware of all the past discussions and conferences, integrating and building on them, and going beyond them towards concrete future actions.
Access and diversity should be discussed beyond the usual circles of allies, so that the impact can expand and have further socio-political consequences. These topics should be addressed with the awareness that the obstacles are strongly rooted and are empowered by the fact that they cut across all systems of knowledge transmission creating blockages, and inherently supporting each other. Dance is one segment of those systems, a segment that is representative of the infiltration of discrimination and of its thread of connections, alliances and intersections.
It is our intention to not only approach those three zones in an intersectional way where each topic addresses and reformulates the others, and vice- versa, but also to conceive the symposium in a manner in which all three topics are interwoven within the daily program and across the course of the three days. We plan to offer experimental formats of presentations and encounters within a space where friendly and unconventional exchanges can take place and grow beyond verbal statements. Therefore, we extend the contributions towards interactive, participatory, creative and performative contributions and testimonies.
Creating Access#Diversity aims to explore perspectives from the silenced voices and from the non-elitist angle, while aspiring to trigger critical discourse from the practitioners’ point of view, and from experiential journeys.
The symposium suggests to navigate across the following themes and questions:
Nora Amin (Main curator)
Performer, choreographer, writer, theater director and scholar, researcher and lecturer.
Scholar of the Center for Theatre of the Oppressed (Brazil, 2003), founder of Lamusica Independent Theatre Group (Egypt, 2000), where she choreographed, directed and produced 40 performances of dance, theater and music. Founder of the Egyptian nationwide project for Theatre of the Oppressed and its Arab network in Lebanon, Sudan and Morocco, fellow of the Academy of the Arts of the World (Cologne, 2015), fellow of the International Research Center for Interweaving Performance Cultures (FU, 2015-2016), Valeska Gert Visiting Professor of Dance Studies (FU, 2018), Visiting Lecturer at the Center for Contemporary Dance, Hochschule für Musik und Tanz (Cologne, 2020), Workshop Leader at Tanzfabrik (2019-2021), at Berlin Mondiale (Wasserwerk Program, 2020-2021), and Mentor at PAP (Performing Arts Program / Berlin-LAFT) and at the Flausen + Bundesnetzwerk Program. Her most recent book is Dance of the Persecuted, a feminist perspective on the history of Baladi dance in Egypt, linking coloniality with patriarchy and capitalism, published by MSB Matthes & Seitz, 2021.
Actor, performer, dancer - Dortmund, Germany
Participant International Forum 2019
David Guy Kono was born in Douala. After completing his training as an actor, dancer and puppeteer in 2005, Kono was awarded best actor at the 2009 festival Theâtralement Votre. Kono worked with kainkollektiv from Bochum in pieces such as "Fin de Mission," which traced the colonial traces of Europe. In 2015, Kono developed the performance "no title" as part of the program "The Incantation of the Disquieting Muse" at SAVVY Contemporary in Berlin, which explored different perspectives on the body and the invisibility of the soul. In 2017, Kono conceived the performance "Lah Kâm" as part of the MusraraMix Festival in Jerusalem, which addressed the tension between an inside and an outside. As part of the FAVORITEN theater festival in Dortmund, Kono developed the performance "tchâ. sol. Boden", in which he explored the historical parallelism of wealth and exploitation. In 2018, David Guy Kono was awarded the Förderpreis des Landes Nordrhein-Westfalen für junge Künstlerinnen und Künstler.
Choreographer, lecturer, cultural manager and activist - Berlin, Germany.
The Syrian choreographer and performer has been working for several years on the possibilities of expressing protests physically - of letting body and protest enter into a dialogue. She explores the conscious and unconscious levels as well as the possible space in between. In 2011, she created the Syrian Dreams Project, archiving dreams of Syrian citizens from the revolutionary period. Since then, her projects have been based on this archive and the questions that follow it. Mey Seifan developed a performance concept based on field studies and academic-artistic studies on the themes of "dream, lucid dreaming and dream after trauma". She implemented this in her trilogy "Destruction for Beginners" and in the installation and performance "Siesta".
After many years of ballet training in Damascus, Mey Seifan studied dance at the Frankfurt University of Performing Arts. She then worked both in Germany and Syria, where she founded the company TANWEEN and established the "Damascus Contemporary Dance Platform" at the Damascus Opera House. She then studied theater at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University in Munich. Besides her choreographic and pedagogical activities, she has a long experience in the field of cultural management and has directed several international projects, among others at the Goethe Institute Damascus. She also works frequently as a lecturer and consultant, and has been a member of several juries for theater and dance projects in Arab countries. Mey Seifan is political and feminist and in 2018 she co-founded NESWA. E.V. co-founded and is now the executive director of the association.
She has been living back in Germany since 2011.
Since 2018, the award ceremony has been accompanied by an annual symposium that focuses on current social and (cultural) political issues. Under the title POSITIONS: DANCE, dance practitioners discuss in rounds of talks, on panels and in workshops.
POSITIONS:DANCE #1 The Future of Dance - Artists, Collectives, Collaborations (2018)
Here you can find the flyer of the 2018 symposium.
POSITIONS:DANCE #2 Ethics (2019)
Here you can find the flyer of the symposium 2019.
POSITIONS:DANCE #3 Conditions - Qualities of artistic working methods and working conditions (2020)
Here you can find the flyer of the symposium 2020.
Here you can find the documentation of the symposium 2020 as PDF.
Seit 2018 lädt der DTD nach Essen zum Symposium POSITIONEN: TANZ ein, jeweils im Rahmen der Verleihung des deutschen Tanzpreises.
Mit den Symposien setzen wir aktuelle Themen der Tanzszene ins Zentrum, geben Raum für Perspektiven und Positionen. Tanzschaffende ergreifen das Wort, um über ihre Arbeitssituation, über künstlerische und kulturpolitische Ziele zu diskutieren, aus denen Forderungen und Arbeitsaufgaben erarbeitet werden. Für den Dachverband sind die Symposien ein wichtiges zentrales Forum, um als kompetenter Partner für die Tanzszene die kulturpolitische Agenda zu schärfen.
Drei Editionen von POSITIONEN: TANZ wurden bis jetzt realisiert: #1 Zukunft des Tanzes, #2 Ethik im Tanz, #3 Bedingungen im Tanz.