The dance archive was founded in 1948 by dancer and teacher Kurt Peters. After the acquisition by the former Stadtsparkasse Köln, now the Sparkasse KölnBonn, in 1986 the archive was made available in co-sponsorship with the city of Cologne to a wider public as an information, documentation, and research center for dance.
Today the Deutsches Tanzarchiv Köln (German Dance Archive Cologne) is part of a global network of institutions and initiatives, which is dedicated to the preservation of knowledge about the art of dance. For its users it presents a variety of offers with the archive, the library, the museum, the film collection as well as own publications and events.
The commitment to the scholarly study of dance is the focus of the Deutsches Tanzarchiv Köln’s work. This includes supporting research projects as well as publications on the Foundation’s research projects (such as artist monographs, reference works on the history of dance, and exhibition catalogues), a mailing list concerning scholarly dance themes, as well as an online magazine.
The Deutsches Tanzarchiv Köln is associated with the Institut der Hochschule für Musik und Tanz in Cologne (University of Music and Dance) and additionally cooperates with North Rhine-Westphalia based dance training institutions, such as the Folkwang-Universität der Künste, Essen (Folkwang University of the Arts).
In cooperation with the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, the Deutsches Tanzarchiv Köln awards the Tanzwissenschaftspreis NRW (The NRW Scientific Study of Dance Award) to individuals that are involved in the scholarly study of dance every five years.