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JAHRESTAGE. Stories from the history of dance

An exhibition by the Deutsches Tanzarchiv Köln in the Tanzmuseum | Duration: April 30 -2022 to February 26, 2023

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With over 500 estate archives, lifetime gifts and personal collections, Deutsches Tanzarchiv Köln (German Dance Archive Cologne) is one of the most significant collections of archival material and past and present knowledge of dance in the German-speaking world. Hundreds of archival cartons housed in air-conditioned depots in the Cologne Mediapark form a unique treasure chest of documents and materials gathered up and bequeathed by dance creatives of all genres throughout their professional lives.

In its new annual exhibition, “JAHRESTAGE. Geschichten aus der Geschichte des Tanzes” (“ANNIVERSARIES. Stories from the history of dance”), Deutsches Tanzarchiv Köln showcases a selection of some of the more unusual objects in its collection as a way of telling stories from the history of dance. These episodes from lives lived for dance are defined by everything from the euphoria of new beginnings and the triumphs of success to disappointments and failures. At the same time, these stories unveil in their own way a subjective historic panorama of the art of dance in the 20th century from the perspective of both high-profile dancers and less prominent practitioners.

Twelve presentations, like time capsules, draw a line to the present

Like time capsules, the 12 displays in the Tanzmuseum (Museum of Dance) give visitors the opportunity to travel back in time and be captivated by things they might not expect to find in a historic exhibition about dance – from the daily schedule of a choreographer, including everything from brief diary notes, weekly living expenses and a telegram summoning a dancer to a hastily convened rehearsal, to the self-portrait of a child dance star and a programme leaflet bearing the hand-written notes of an audience member. What all these objects have in common is that, by their very existence, each in its own way forms a bridge to the present and provides answers to the fundamental question of what lies between the start and end of a life devoted to the art of dance.

Memories and objects shed light on how they came together across time and space – in defiance of the transience and impermanence of performance. In this way, visitors become the storytellers themselves as they make their way through the exhibition, picking up threads of a possible story from things stored in an archive and expanding on it, and exploring the realms of possibility.

Dance Museum of Deutsches Tanzarchiv Köln, Im Mediapark 7 (3rd floor), 50670 Köln

Tel.: +49 221 888 95 -400 or -444 (exhibition cash desk), email: tanzarchiv@sk-kultur.de, www.deutsches-tanzarchiv.de

The Dance Museum is open during the exhibitions, every day except Wednesdays, from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Admission prices: Adults €5.50 (reduced rate €3), free admission on the first Monday of the month!

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