Deutsches Tanzarchiv Köln (German Dance Archive Cologne)

The Deutsche Tanzarchiv Köln (German Dance Archiv Cologne) is global linked information, documentation, and research center for dance. Due to its unique inventories and the connected exhibition area, it is one of the most renowned archives of dance art worldwide.

A ballerina bows
Anna Pawlowa as dying swan around 1908.

The archive 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.

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. 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) every five years.

Archive

The Archive includes over 400 artistic estates and the collections of dancers, choreographers, dance teachers, and dance critics (such as the Sacharoffs, Harald Kreutzberg, Kurt Jooss, Mary Wigman, and Dore Hoyer), a photographic collection that includes approximately 160,000 photographs and 117,000 original negatives (among them photographers’ artistic estates such as Siegfried Enkelmann and Hans Rama, for example), an art collection on the subject of dance (such as from the estates of Ernst Oppler and Arthur Grunenberg), and a costume collection. The variety of the archive can be adumbrated here by means of selected pieces from the archive depots.

Museum of Dance

In the Tanzmuseum (Museum of Dance) which is connected to the Deutsche Tanzarchiv Köln, dance's past and present can be experienced in a unique way in yearly temporary thematic exhibitions. The exhibitions are supported by the rich collections of the Deutsches Tanzarchiv Köln. The Tanzmuseum seek to convey the essence of dance to the visitor. As such the focus is not on that which is already visible, but rather the process of visualization and perception.

A small bronze figure showing a dancer in front of a blue wall
The entrance of the dance museum. Photo: Susanne Fern

The events accompanying the exhibitions such as tours, lectures, film presentations, readings, and discussions make the Tanzmuseum a meeting place; these events further offer visitors ever-new approaches to the subject of dance, and present dance to a wide public in its cross-cultural diversity and fascinating history.

Library

The Library of the German Dance Archive Cologne has a reference collection encompassing 13,000 books on all the aspects of dance, current journals from around the world, including rare books since the 16th century and numerous dissertations. 85 current specialist journals as well as an inventory of 16,000 periodicals complete the comprehensive information offer. The Film Collection includes a reference library of over 6,500 films from various dance film categories: camera choreography, cinematic reinterpretation of repertoire, experimental dance film, documentary, dance-themed movies, musical as well as theater performance recordings.

A chair in front of a TV showing the face of a woman in black and white
The Film Collection includes a reference library of films from various dance film categories. Photo: Susanne Fern

The Museum Educational Program

The Museum Educational Program includes specially designed tours and activities in which children and school groups learn about the history of dance in the Tanzmuseum (Museum of Dance). Young visitors can thereby actively engage with the themes and exhibits. Adults, too, are able to participate in special tours of the Tanzmuseum as well as receive an introduction to Tanzarchiv's work, upon request.

Deutsches Tanzarchiv Köln Friends and Sponsors

The Freunde der Tanzkunst am Deutschen Tanzarchiv Köln (Friends of the Art of Dance Association at the German Dance Archive Cologne) was founded in 1997 by dance enthusiasts. The association's goal is to actively support the Deutsches Tanzarchiv Köln in an effort to promote the greater international exchange of dance scholars and to make known the work of the Deutsches Tanzarchiv Köln to the general public. The Association regularly organizes trips to dance performances and special events, introduces the diversity of artistic stage dance, as well as provides information about the work of the Deutsches Tanzarchiv.