Open Letter of Zeitgenössischer Tanz Berlin e.V.
The open letter is part of the campaign "Dance for millions of reasons", which takes place from August 9 to November 6, 2019. #dance4millions
This letter is a reaction to the Berlin Senate’s proposed cultural budget for 2020/2021 for the realisation of programs and goals set by the "Runder Tisch Tanz” (RTT).
The Senate’s proposed increase of € 700.000, in drastic contrast to the RTT’s recommended € 6 million increase, is an entirely inadequate response to the RTT’s well-founded recommendations for necessary structural investments in the dance field. The proposed budget will have no impact on the sustainable development of dance in Berlin, nor will it improve the working conditions of dance professionals. We are outraged and frustrated by such a lack of political will!
At the explicit initiative of cultural politicians of the governing parties and on behalf of the Berlin Senate Administration for Culture and Europe for a participative process, for one year over 200 dance professionals collectively developed solutions in different working groups to urgent problems inherent to our field. Now we find that this work has been dismissed and disrespected by the policy makers and funding bodies who initially declared their readiness to collaborate with the RTT and fulfill their statement from the coalition agreement, drawn up in 2016, to substantially strengthen the dance scene in Berlin.
To enable sustainable development of the field, we must invest our resources and attention in dance. This includes adequate recognition and support of both the institutionalised and the independent dance scene. The program for development that was proposed by the RTT calls for the establishment of a House for Dance and Choreography. But it was also widely acknowledged that this House cannot stand without strengthening the manifold work of existing dance artists and venues in the city. The RTT’s final report provided alarming data on the precarity of independent workers in the field of dance, at the same time proposing innovative structures for improving working conditions. The RTT proposed a path of collective artistic and socio-cultural development that would emphasise the values of Berlin’s dance scene: artistic excellence, diversity, solidarity and equality. The achievement of these goals relies on the financial resources as indicated by the RTT. We therefore demand a reevaluation of the Senate’s response to the RTT’s report. The proposals for a long-term improvement of Berlin’s independent dance scene call for investments of € 6 million—less than half the annual budget of a single Berlin theatre, such as Schaubühne. It reflects the needs of the vibrant yet significantly underfinanced dance arts sector, whose future development and long-term strengthening is a matter of our greatest concern.
Strengthening the field of dance is not only a matter of providing support for artistic productions. Dance has too often been bound, as a "secondary discipline”, to theatre or music: its part in our socio-cultural practices has been diminished or forgotten. Dance’s rich history, its aesthetic, philosophical, and political achievements, its ever-growing importance within the field of arts demand reformulation of outdated traditions of thinking and funding. Dance has long since proven its capacity to initiate change and transformation, to articulate political grievances and struggles, and to support through movement the development of an open and pluralistic society.
Its support by the city of Berlin must finally come to reflect these contributions.
With this open letter, we call on the community of dance makers and artists from other fields, heads and staff of arts institutions, cultural producers,dramaturges, technicians, educators, researchers, journalists, critics and our audiences to show solidarity with our cause.
SIGN and SPREAD this letter!
PROTEST WITH US on August 9th, from 17:30, in front of HAU 1, at the opening of Tanz im August!
The Berlin Senate must ensure that the recommendations of the RTT are implemented. We stand against visions of development that do not include us or our futures. As dance makers, we fight for a society that does not forget its artists.
Direct link to the letter and to sign:
Sasha Waltz & Guests
Gabi dan Droste & Martin Nachbar