The following text was first published in slightly abridged form in the Tagesspiegel supplement to the Udk Rundgang 2022 on July 23, 2022.
THE PRICE OF SUCCESS
By Nik Haffner, artistic director of the HZT Berlin
Dance raises social issues in a provoking, exposing and playful way. Especially in the context of war, migration and pandemic, it becomes apparent how important and vulnerable bodies are.
This is precisely where the work of the Inter-University Center for Dance (HZT) comes in. Fifteen years after its founding, the HZT is internationally recognized as an extremely innovative, impulse-giving model, as a training center that achieves its goals by creatively integrating existing structures in Berlin with international collaborations.
IT NEEDS SUBSTANTIAL STRENGTHENING AND COURAGEOUS POLITICAL FUNDING DECISIONS
With the enthusiasm and commitment of the HZT team as well as the strategic skill of the sponsoring universities UdK Berlin and Hochschule für Schauspielkunst Ernst Busch (HfS), it has been possible to establish this successful and internationally leading training institute for dance, choreography and performance in Berlin.
However, we are currently at a crossroads. Now the centre needs substantial structural and financial strengthening based on courageous political decisions. Comparisons with other university programs for dance and choreography and an internal evaluation show that there are serious structural deficits at the HZT, especially in relation to the staff, which endanger what has been achieved.
We have about 80 artists studying in three programs at the bachelor's and master's level. Artists and theoreticians teach here, without whom the high quality of teaching and the cooperation with local and international partners could not be achieved. However, the center is threatened with the loss of this situation since it cannot offer its teachers nearly as good conditions in teaching and research as other institutions in a national and European comparison.
95% OF HZT GRADUATES WORK IN THE ARTS FIELD
This is all the more painful because over 95% of our graduates work permanently and worldwide in artistic fields - a significantly high rate for an artistic study program. Even beyond the stage, a transmission of movement and body-based experience takes place, as the HZT faculty stimulates the negotiation of body-based art practice in relation to socially relevant issues such as war, climate change, disability arts, and urban development through their expertise and research interests. Students thus broaden their artistic and professional horizons and can later act in a wide range of fields of activity and artistically influence and help shape a changing society.
With TanzRaumBerlin, the network of the professional dance scene of Berlin's theaters, festivals and companies, we have a unique cooperation partner from whom we benefit and gain practical relevance and networking. In return, the network and the dance metropolis Berlin also gain in attractiveness and profile through the HZT cooperation. The dance programs of the Berlin theaters, for example, present an extraordinary number of our graduates. All of this must be preserved and developed further.
TOGETHER FOR THE FUTURE OF THE HZT
The team of the HZT and its administrating universities UdK Berlin and HfS Ernst Busch will make every effort in the University contract negotiations with the Berlin Senate in 2023 to compensate for the lack of resources that are urgently needed to ensure a stable continuation of the unique success story of the HZT Berlin.