The Deutsches Tanzarchiv Köln (German Dance Archives Cologne) and the Dance Museum in Cologne have a special relationship. While the Deutsches Tanzarchiv Köln preserves all kinds of archival evidence of the art of dance, the adjacent Dance Museum makes the past and present of dance come alive in the form of exhibitions.
The Dance Museum sees itself as a place of cultural remembrance and also a place to convey, encounter and share ideas on the art of dance. The wide-ranging subject matter and huge variety of exhibits: photographs, programme notes, reviews, posters, films, diaries and letters from dancers and choreographers, costume and stage drawings, plus examples of how visual artists have responded to “dance” over the years demonstrate over and over again how informative, exciting and stimulating ‘Dance in a Museum’ can be.
The Dance Museum wants to encourage visitors to see the reality of dance “through different eyes, which is why it keeps asking fundamental questions in its thematic exhibitions: what do we see when we see dance? What determines our image of dance? Why do we see dance the way we do? They are questions designed to motivate visitors to ask more questions, investigate further and search for answers. It is possible to look for such clues in the archives, and also in the supporting events staged within the Dance Museum, which explore the themes of the exhibition in more depth and encourage visitors to look at the exhibition again through different eyes.
The Deutsches Tanzarchiv Köln houses over 400 personal estates and collections of dancers, choreographers, dance teachers and ballet critics, including Harald Kreutzberg, Kurt Jooss, the Sacharoffs, Mary Wigman and Dore Hoyer. The photographic collection contains over 160,000 photographs, 117,000 original negatives and bequests from photographers like Siegfried Enkelmann and Hans Rama. In addition, the archive has an art collection on the subject of dance – including the estates of Ernst Oppler and Arthur Grunenberg – plus a costume and poster collection.
The library boasts a reference collection of 13,000 titles on all aspects of dance as well as contemporary journals on the subject from all over the world and an overall magazine collection of 19,000 issues. The video library has a reference collection of 3,500 films and the archives also hold 600,000 newspaper clippings documenting the history of German dance events in an almost unbroken sequence from the early 1950s to the present day.
For further information regarding special exhibitions please visit the homepage of the museum.