Transfers Dance Culture

Artistic, cultural, and aesthetic diversity are central aspects of the two projects documented on this website. Discourses on migration, cultural difference, and cultural change have recently gained importance in Europe. At the same time, in the cultural sector (specifically the institutions of „high culture“) and its analysis, the issue of migration has long been secondary, akin to a side note [1], and needs to be further theorized.

Within this field of inquiry, dance is often cited as an international art form par excellence, with the international membership of many dance ensembles as support to the claim [2]. By contrast, the projects documented on this website start from the assumption that international ensembles by themselves do not imply a dance practice that is marked by diverse cultural and aesthetic perspectives, sources, and principles. Dance can perform both foreignness/otherness and sameness via the body – independent of nationality and origins of the dancers (the matter of race does, of course, have to be taken into consideration). But the argument here is (illustrated via an admittedly black-and-white example) that a ballet ensemble can indeed have members from diverse origins, who are all trained in ballet and become trained bodies performing the vision of a (ballet) choreographer. Similarly, foreignness can also be performed through movement vocabularies coded as „different“ – and affect the categorization of the dance’s modernity and contemporaneity. [3]

Following this, the projects documented on this website, which are both funded by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) and carried out at the Department of Music and Dance Studies at the University of Salzburg - the stand-alone research project Traversing the Contemporary (pl.): Choreographic Articulations between European and Indian Dance (Austrian Science Fund (FWF) P_24190-G15) and the communication project Tanz und Migration (Austrian Science Fund (FWF) WKP 32) - investigate and communicate critical and postcolonial approaches concerning the questions of the exclusionary potential of the aesthetic category of the contemporary in dance, probing its potential for cultural and aesthetic multiplicity and permeability.

[1] Schneider, Wolfgang (2011). “Warum wir kein Migranten-Theater brauchen … aber eine Kulturpolitik, die in Personal, Produktion und Publikum der dramatischen Künste multiethnisch ist.” In Schneider, Wolfgang (ed). Theater und Migration: Herausforderungen für Kulturpolitik und Theaterpraxis. Bielefeld: transcript Verlag: 9-18, here 9.

[2] See for example Boldt, Esther (2012). “Transculturality instead of Multiculturalism – Careers in dance have always been cross-border affairs.” In Dance and Trends, Webseite des Goethe Instituts. (last accessed 11 November 2013).

and Israel, Annett (2011). “Kulturelle Identitäten als dramatisches Ereignis. Beobachtungen aus dem Kinder- und Jugendtheater.” In Schneider, Wolfgang (ed). Theater und Migration: Herausforderungen für Kulturpolitik und Theaterpraxis. Bielefeld: transcript Verlag: 47-64.

[3] Cramer, Franz Anton and Klemenz, Constanze (2004). „Einmischung in auswärtige Angelegenheiten: Tanz als migratorische Praxis.“ In Theater der Zeit 2/2004: 15- 18, here 17.