Education means responsibility – for our students and for our society

The combination of artistic excellence and ethical issues with the claim to focus on the holistic development of young artists into active personalities in our society is one of the central issues for which art academies worldwide must develop sustainable answers today. I am therefore extremely pleased to welcome you to the first international symposium "Dance Education in Transition" at the Ballet Academy of our university. I am very proud that this important exchange on the future of professional dance education takes place here in Munich, where we can welcome so many leading experts from all over the world as guests – here on site and digitally connected. This congress was only made possible by the overwhelming commitment of the curatorial team, in which our Ballet Academy and our wonderful partner, the Dachverband Tanz Deutschland (DTD), were represented. Many thanks to all those involved for the intensive discussions, the design of the programme and the networking with institutions, dance professionals and students.

For us as the University of Music and Theatre Munich, this symposium also makes our attitude visible: we stand for a holistic, value-based education that combines artistic excellence with a comprehensive and appreciative personal development of young artists. These values are manifested in our Code of Conduct as a consensual set of rules for our university family. In addition, our Ballet Academy adopted a comprehensive Pedagogical Concept in autumn 2020, which was developed jointly by teachers and students of the Academy in a participatory process. Since its introduction, all members of our Ballet Academy have been continuously engaged in living and further developing this concept. Again and again, new impulses have to be taken up and existing structures have to be questioned.

Against this background, I look forward to an intensive and fruitful discussion on the future of professional dance training. I hope that we can learn a lot from each other, come up with new ideas, create networks and always keep them in mind: at the centre of all our efforts are our students. We as training institutions, but also as companies, theatres and opera houses, are responsible for what framework conditions we create for artistic, and thus not least for our overall social development. I wish us all a stimulating exchange!

Prof. Lydia Grün President
University of Music and Theatre Munich

Welcome to the Symposium Dance Education in Transition, a substantial project that will once again inspire the discussions on the aesthetics and ethics in ballet and dance

An important impulse from the Munich University of Music and Theatre (HMTM) and equal impulses from other universities and academies led to this amazing forum. The fact that these debates come from ballet academies is a great sign. There, various occasions have set in motion reflections and reorientations that will change the world of ballet and dance. For it is in training that the paths to art are paved.

When the discussion on this project started a year ago, we as the German Dance Association (Dachverband Tanz Deutschland – DTD) were pleased to be involved and pleaded for networking with the other universities and with other dance fields. The curatorial team took up these suggestions with commitment and passion. Top-class experts were won from dance education, dance art, dance science and dance medicine.

We are grateful for this cooperation, for the participation in this exchange, because the development of ballet training and the work of the ballet companies are – in my opinion – still underrepresented in the DTD´s work. This is where the association and the ethics committee appointed by the DTD can get involved and subsequently communicate the results to member associations, institutions and politics, and support further steps together with training institutions and ensembles. With our Dis-Tanz-Start programme we support ballet and dance theatre ensembles at municipal and state theatres (as well as independent ensembles) in Germany. Dis-Tanz-Start enables them to take on dance graduates for a first season to a greater extent. This first transition brings us at the same time to the interfaces with education and dance art. Therefore, it is our important concern to cooperate at the symposium on a financial level as well.

I would like to thank the representatives of the HMTM and my colleagues from the curatorial team Anna Beke, David Russo, Jan Broeckx and Andrea Sangiorgio (HMTM) and Claudia Feest (DTD). My special thanks go to our long-time board member Claudia Feest for the initiative for the cooperation and to Johannes Bergmann for his commitment in the realization!

As a theatre scientist, I would like to quote Heiner Müller: "The first appearance of the new is scare." The new is already on its way. What the future may look like should not frighten us. We want to hear, think and feel it – with open senses.

Michael Freundt Executive Director
Dachverband Tanz Deutschland e.V.