Association of German Dance Archives

Preserve knowledge about dance - A challenge for the dance world of Germany

Dance is the most ephemeral of the performing arts and, at the same time, each new dance creation and aesthetic development builds on previous works, either through continuation or by setting up a radical artistic counter development (?)/by going against/diverging from previous traditions/challenging existing artistic concepts. This has certainly shaped the diversity of dance in Germany. However, different to musical or spoken theatre, often no text or written dramaturgic framework is preserved to impart cultural knowledge. The diversity of dance art in the past and present would be entirely lost if documents and materials of dance art were not preserved in archives and collections.


The German dance archives preserve a wealth of roughly one million documents about the history of dance. This includes not only manuscripts, letters and reviews, but also photos, costumes, films and videos.

German Dance Archives On Tour

Paris, 6th of June 2018
SIBMAS-conference (International Association of Libraries and Museums of Performing Arts)
To speak with one voice – the Verbund deutscher Tanzarchive – (Association of German Dance Archives) as an example of permanent and interinstitutional cooperation

Presentation by Stephan Dörschel (Academy of Arts, Berlin) and Thomas Thorausch (German Dance Archives Cologne) about cooperations of dance archives and collections of the Association of German Dance Archives

Deutsches Tanzarchiv Köln: New exhibition
24th of March 2018 until 27th of January 2019

Gert Weigelt – Autopsy in Black/White

Sculptures resembling human bodies fill the room. Sculptures in movement – staged by the photograph Gert Weigelt. His works in black/white, which are the result of his cooperation with dancers in a studio, go far beyond the understanding of conventional dance photography. They are the expression of the aesthetic demand to see and show physicality and dance with the camera from an analytical perspective, often with an ironical wink in his eye.

The exhibition, “Gert Weigelt. Autopsy in black/white” is dedicated to his studio work – staged bodies- and portrait studies – which fascinate with their strength in form and aesthetic, as well as erotic flair. In addition to his photography, Weigelt’s film art will also be displayed – image choreographies set in motion -, which Gert Weigelt created for the broadcaster, Zweite Deutsche Fernsehen and the Dutch broadcaster NOS in the 1990’s.

Further information is on the website of the German Dance Archive Cologne.

Bridges into the future.

The results, conclusions and ideas of a questionnaire from the Dance Education Conference (AK|T) and the Association of German Dance Archives (VDT) on the situation of archives, libraries and collections at dance training centres in Germany from the year 2016/17.

The results of a survey conducted by the dance education conference (AK|T) and the Association of German Dance Archives (VDT) were presented and discussed in connection with the 6th Bienniale Tanzausbildung in Berlin. You can read the results of the survey here.

Projects of the VDT

Association of German Dance Archives

Search through the archive inventory

The databases of the VdT archives are fully searchable in the search portal of the information service for the performing arts. VdT members has piloted open access to the metadata of the FID-Portal in order to enable the joint presentation of collections.

Enable access!

Representatives of the German, Austrian and Swiss dance archives came together for the first time on the 21st and 22nd of October 2016 in order to collectively discuss the challenges which archives face in today’s digitalized world.

Digital Atlas Dance

The Digital Atlas Dance serves as a showcase for documents about dance and through such documents accessible online as films, photographs, publications and sketches, gives information about personalities, works and the history of dance in Germany.

Transforming Acts

The project “Transforming Acts” is an intermedial installation which sheds light on the inspiration and transformative processes of dance in art in general and in theatre specifically.

European Video Dance Heritage

The EU project European Video Dance Heritage is tackling the issue of the preservation of the cultural heritage of dance on a European level, with a view specifically technological, legal and aesthetic challenges facing dance video.

Protection and accessability of collections

A primary goal is currently the conservation as well as centralised (use of archives on-site) and decentralised (online) accessibility of collections in the dance archives of Germany.

Projecting our past to the future

The EU scientific project ITN-DCH aims at furthering research and development in the area “Digital Cultural Heritage” on a European level.

Symposium ICH+I

The symposium presented the newest research on recording and visualisation techniques and its application in immaterial cultural heritage, providing a platform for expert discussions.

Inventory Analysis

The inventory analysis of databases of the Association of German Dance Archives was completed in 2013 and builds an indispensable foundation for the quantitative and qualitative valuation of the overall inventory of the archives.

Members of the VDT

In 2007, the five leading institutions formally came together to form the Association of German Dance Archives (VDT) for the preservation and development of sources and documents relating to the history of the development and performance of  dance art in Germany. The five institutions are:

German Dance Archives Cologne

Dance Archive Leipzig

Mime Centrum Berlin

Performing Arts Archives of the Academy of Arts

German Dance Film Institute Bremen