TANZ Bremen since 1988

“Internationality and local ties are the reasons for the success of TANZ Bremen”, says journalist Irmela Kästner about TANZ Bremen, and indeed the festival is characterised by the fact that it has always retained its local roots despite constant internationalisation. Founded in 1988 by Inge Deppert under the name Tanzherbst as a small workshop festival with guest performances from the local scene, it was enriched by Susanne Schlicher, Birgit Freitag and Hans Diers with international guest performances and renamed TANZ Bremen in 2000. In 2004 Honne Dohrmann (until 2013) and Sabine Gehm took over the artistic direction of the festival, which has been held biennially since then.

Over the past 30 years, TANZ Bremen has developed into one of the most important international festivals for contemporary dance and is one of the cultural highlights of the city of Bremen. It is one of the few events of its kind that continues to make productive use of its origins and presents both internationally renowned choreographers and regional artists. Countless renowned artists and companies, but also many newcomers, have been guests in Bremen. Looking back, the list of artists reads almost like a Who’s Who of the international dance scene: Marie Chouinard, Alvin Ailey, Jérôme Bel, Alain Platel, Helena Waldmann, Tino Sehgal, Germaine Acogny, Frédéric Flamand, Akram Khan, Dave St-Pierre, Catherine Diverres, Lia Rodrigues or Bruno Beltrao. All of them and many more (see list of artists) have inspired, amused, disturbed, provoked or polarised. They represent diversity and stand for the high standards of the festival: for different interpretations of virtuosity, reflection, internationality, for departure and again and again for opening up to other forms of art and movement. Above all, however, they also represent dance as a political and social art form through which, among other things, questions of identity and origin, social participation, poverty, racism or role models are negotiated.

Dance journalist Gabriele Wittmann writes about the wealth of themes that could be experienced on the festival stage:

“The themes of the times – the festival TANZ Bremen touched on them all. Because they were all there: the virtuoso dancers and energetic hip-hoppers, the circus artists and physical dancers, the big names and up-and-coming artists who are now setting the tone themselves. Dave St-Pierre provoked with his interpretation of a world that only knows desire. Marie Chouinard fascinated with abstracted rituals driven by human breath – and with her exciting new interpretation of the Sacre. And Jochen Roller amused with his bitterly wicked analyses of the precariat and pop.”

A comprehensive programme of dance films, workshops, discussions and exhibitions frame DANCE Bremen, made possible by extensive networking with other cultural institutions in the city, including the Weserburg Museum für Moderne Kunst, the Kunsthalle Bremen, the Gerhard-Marcks-Haus and the Kino city 46.

The enormous audience response with standing ovations, sold-out performances and a meanwhile almost 100 percent occupancy of the various venues from the Schwankhalle to the Theater am Leibnizplatz to the Theater am Goetheplatz proves the great enthusiasm for the programme and the interest in contemporary dance.