The German Dance Award is the most prestigious prize for dance in Germany.

It has been awarded annually since 1983. 1983 to 1986 by the Deutscher Berufsverband für Tanzpädagogik e.V. (German Professional Association for Dance Education). (DBfT) together with the professional journal Ballett-Journal/Das Tanzarchiv. From 1987 to 1994 by the DBfT alone. Since 1995 in conjunction with the DBfT by the Verein zur Förderung der Tanzkunst in Deutschland e. V. and from 2013 independently by the Förderverein Tanzkunst Deutschland.

The founder of the German Dance Award is Ulrich Roehm, who studied dance at the Folkwang University of the Arts under Kurt Jooss in Essen. As a dancer, he worked internationally with major companies such as the Ballet de Wallonie, the Folkwang Ballet, the Ballet of the Städtische Bühnen Essen, and the National Ballet of Canada, among others. After his return from Canada, Ulrich Roehm opened his own ballet studio in Essen in 1973, which he directed for over thirty years. In 1983, he realized the idea of an "honorary prize" for dance - and thus the "German Dance Prize" was born. During the presentation of the German Dance Prize to Pina Bausch in March 1995 at the Aalto Theater in Essen, Ulrich Roehm was awarded the "Federal Cross of Merit on Ribbon of the Order of Merit" by Federal President Richard von Weizsäcker for his services to dance in Germany.

Since 2018, the German Dance Prize has been awarded by the Dachverband Tanz Deutschland, jointly sponsored by the City of Essen, the Ministry of Culture and Science of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, and the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media. Since 2018, the main prize has been endowed with 20,000 euros. Two honors are usually awarded, which are endowed with 5,000 euros.

As the sponsor of the German Dance Awards, the Dachverband Tanz Deutschland works closely with the German Professional Association for Dance Education and the Federal German Ballet and Dance Theater Directors' Conference. The prize honors outstanding personalities of dance in Germany. The focus is on the artistic work of choreographers and dancers, but personalities from the fields of education, journalism, science or other areas of dance creation can also be nominated. In addition, outstanding performers and ensembles as well as special developments in the dance landscape are to be honored. This can refer to future-oriented initiatives, exemplary concepts as well as extraordinary productions.


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 professionals discuss in roundtable discussions, on panels and in workshops.

Here you can find more information about the symposium.