This collection of impressions and statements about HZT Berlin accompanies the 2023 negotiations for the centre’s next 10-year contract. The heads of the two founding universities (i.e., HfS Ernst Busch and UdK Berlin) as well as representatives from the TanzRaumBerlin network examined previous experiences, studies and evaluations from 2012 onwards through a participatory development process lasting two years. Jointly identified strengths and weaknesses of the centre have resulted in an urgent need for action towards stabilisation of the structures as well as enormous development potential for the future of HZT Berlin.
Deepest thanks to all those who support HZT with their ideas and statements, with artistic and political voices.
Five of the twenty-two international Pina Bausch Fellowships for Dance and Choreography have been awarded to graduates of HZT. In the past eight years, eight of twenty-four residencies (each lasting eight months) at the K3 Choreographic Centre Tanzplan Hamburg were granted to HZT graduates. At Tanzplattform Deutschland 2020, three of the fifteen selected productions were choreographed by HZT alumni. Eleven HZT alumni were involved as dancers in five of these productions.
At Tanzplattform Deutschland 2022, two of the thirteen selected productions are choreographed by HZT alumni. Eight HZT alumni are involved as dancers and in other functions like light design, dramaturgy, stage design, production management. Success of the founding idea of HZT - the development of teaching and research in close, cooperative connection to the professional field - is documented by a 2020-21 study of HZT graduate retention. According to this study, more than 95% of graduates remain professionally active in the artistic field.
“Like many of my colleagues, I have followed the development of the centre with great interest; the directors, teachers and alumni of HZT have become an important voice in dance and in the discourse on education. HZT is a pioneer in European higher education; its structure continues to point the way to the future. There is hardly a centre that has so much experience, initiative and potential.” Marijke Hoogenboom
“The HZT Berlin is widely regarded as a leading institution, not only in Germany but also internationally, for its unique offer in developing some of the most exciting, innovative and successful dance artists and choreographers in the 21st century. The emphasis on a partnership between creative and intellectual enquiry enables HZT and its graduates to make a significant contribution to the dance community and this has been possible through the excellent faculty, who have continually strived to offer a challenging and holistic training and education.” Sarah Whatley
In 2020 HZT graduate Miriam Kongstad’s performance “Worker’s Choice” got acquired by The National Gallery of Denmark (SMK) and has become part of the Danish National Collection, which documents both contemporary and historical artworks. This is remarkable because Miriam Kongstad became the youngest contemporary artist to enter the collection and because this is the first choreographic piece the museum has ever acquired.
“Not only did the studies at HZT allow me to develop a professional practice as an independent choreographer, but also supported the investigation of choreography and dance as expanded notions. I am now working full-time as an interdisciplinary artist operating both within the fields of performing arts and visual arts on an international level.“ Miriam Kongstad
“Since its founding, the Inter-University Centre for Dance Berlin (HZT) has, in my opinion, developed into the higher education institution in Germany. With a view toward the quality and artistic innovation of the students, HZT contributes significantly to the further enrichment of the independent dance/choreography scene not only in Berlin, but throughout Germany and beyond, thus significantly advancing the field as a whole.” Kerstin Evert
“HZT is the academic backbone of the Berlin theatre scene and one of its outstanding education centres. The stages of HAU and Tanz im August regularly feature such fascinating artists and HZT graduates as Kat Válastur, Jasmin Ihraç, Tümay Kilincel, Dragana Bulut, Lee Méir, Kareth Schaffer and Lea Moro. Julian Weber and Sheena McGrandles, both graduates of HZT, are two of thirteen choreographers invited to Tanzplattform Deutschland this year.” Annemie Vanackere
“Sixteen years after HZT’s pilot phase began, it is hard to imagine the dance and performance scene in Berlin and beyond without HZT alumni and their influence on the city’s institutional landscape. Choreographers who graduated from HZT make up about half of our annual festival Tanztage Berlin, which is a clear testament to the quality of the education offered in the three degree programmes at HZT.” Mateusz Szymanówka, Franziska Werner
“HZT is not only significantly involved in the further development of the exchange and mediation formats within the framework of the Dance Education Biennale; through its keen sense of current discourses, HZT also addresses important thematic fields. For example, the students and teachers of all AK|T institutions were sensitised to the topic of inclusion on the initiative of HZT.” Susanne Triebel
“With PATTERNS, Magda Korsinsky has brought a passionate, moving and choreographically fascinating “score” of Black women*’s lifeworld to the stage; a lifeworld that is still too little represented in the German theatre landscape.” Gloria Reményi
“Through its comprehensive study programs, HZT provided me, a visual artist, with an entry into the world of dance and theatre.” Magda Korsinsky
HZT graduate Julian Weber received the Berlin Art Prize in 2015. He founded NEW FEARS - a gallery for dance and performance in Berlin Wedding. His choreography Allongé has been invited to Tanzplattform Deutschland 2022:
“HZT has made a great contribution to my development as an artist and provided a necessary fric- tion-surface that has allowed me to position myself in the independent scene.” Julian Weber
“Kat Válastur (...) currently considered one of the most exciting choreographers on the Berlin dance scene (...) is a perfect ambassador for the Berlin scene.” Sandra Luzina
“What makes HZT strong is its opening of a space to engage with reality, something that we should all experience as practitioners in every institution. It was a space to grow as a performer and as an art-worker who would co-creates society and work in it as part of it.” Kat Válastur
“Raphael Hillebrand is German, raised in Hong Kong as the son of an African father and a German mother, a circumstance that still leads to discrimination today. This is mentioned here to honour his belligerence both for a meaningful contemporary dance and for an urban dance with a clear message: This belligerence is important for both the hip hop community and the contemporary scene. To this end, Raphael Hillebrand has dared to step across borders and studied at the HZT Berlin without ever denying his breakdance origins. (...) We honour Raphael Hillebrand because, with all his charm and openness, he is an artist through and through, who recognises in the body an engine that can only overcome the social imbalance in our society through courage.”
Jury statement Deutscher Tanzpreis 2020: Award to Raphael Hillebrand, HZT alumnus for
"outstanding artistic developments in dance".
“Uferstudios has become the epicentre of contemporary dance in Berlin, and in the middle of it all is HZT (...) “It’s about taking research into the city, exposing education to society instead of isolating it in a university laboratory.”, says Nik Haffner, artistic director of HZT.” Katharina Deparade
“Meanwhile, HZT is run by the University of the Arts Berlin (UdK) and Ernst Busch Academy of Dramatic Arts (HfS)...The students not only delve into a wide variety of dance techniques, but also learn to contextualise them, to work conceptually and interdisciplinarily, and to place dance in a philosophical or political context.” Marion Koch
The TanzRaumBerlin (TRB) network has been cooperating with the Hochschulübergreifendes Zentrum Tanz Berlin (HZT) since its foundation more than ten years ago. A unique contractual model involves active cooperation between the degree programs of HZT and TRB network partners in the professional dance scene. This has contributed to the internationally acclaimed development of HZT, establishing it as a beacon for dance nationwide.
“Tanzfabrik works continuously with many of the HZT graduates. Since the Tanzfabrik Berlin is very well connected internationally, for example also through the EU network apap, we can say that in just 10 years the HZT has developed into one of the most important education centres for choreography not only in Germany but also worldwide and is often compared with similar institutions with a much longer history.” Jacopo Lanteri
“As a co-initiator and founding supporter of HZT, I have been following the fantastic development of this extraordinary educational institution for years. HZT was the most ambitious project of Tanzplan Deutschland and its impact on the national and international dance landscape cannot be overestimated.”
Madeline Ritter, Diehl+Ritter gUG, former project manager Tanzplan Deutschland, initiator of national dance funding programs such as Tanzfonds Erbe and TANZPAKT Stadt-Land-Bund and chairwoman of the advisory board of the Pina Bausch Foundation
“A major focus of our considerations for a future Berlin House for Dance and Choreography is the area of research, learning and knowledge. This includes close cooperation with partner institutions from academic research and education. HZT is the most important educational institution for dance and choreography in Berlin and thus by definition a main strategic partner.” Moritz Majce
“It is no coincidence, especially in areas where key education centres for choreography and dance are located, that particularly stimulating and dynamic dance scenes are active. In Berlin, HZT acts as an essential humus, seismograph and point of reference for the development of contemporary dance in Germany and has put the city in focus of the international dance scene for years. Critical examination of the body, its social and political constitution, its relationship to the environment and to other bodies is a defining characteristic. At HZT, body knowledge is created in the truest sense of the word, which has an impact on society far beyond the boundaries of dance.” Matthias Mohr
Exploring the politics of audienceship and strategies for queering performance, HZT graduate Daniel Kok has worked with pole dance, cheerleading, rope bondage and other figures of performance, before shifting to examine the figure of the Trans-individual. His performances have been presented across Asia, Europe, Australia and North America, notably in the Venice Biennale, Maxim Gorki Theater (Berlin), AsiaTOPA (Melbourne) and Festival/Tokyo. Since 2018, he has been the Artistic Director of Dance Nucleus (Singapore), an arts intermediary for artistic and creative development in contemporary performance.
“For me, an institution like HZT plays a crucial role in bringing artists, producers, thinkers and differ- ent practitioners in the arts ecology together to cooperate, to review the challenging questions of the moment, and to chart pathways towards greater sustainability.” Daniel Kok, HZT-Alumnus