Call for Papers: Dance Class – TQW Winter School, 12–14 January 2024


Dance Class is an invitation to interrogate class/ism in dance and performance collectively. Classism affects who practices dance: who has access to training and education, who has access to sufficient career opportunities and networks, who has access to gatekeeping positions. Classism affects what is being practised in the dance and performance landscape: what aesthetic criteria, evaluative markers and classifications are used, what forms are represented on stages and what forms are absent. Classism affects how dance and performance practices are shared and with whom: in which parts of cities venues are, what backgrounds spectators come from, how dance addresses its audiences. Classism affects how we work and how we conceptualise work in the field: how educational and professional institutions entrench excluding criteria, how precarity intersects with the socio-culturally legitimised work of the artist, which jobs are undervalued and invisibilised even though they are necessary for dance production. Dance Class invites theorists, artists, curators, artist-researchers, activists and audience members to three days of exchange to navigate affective and pragmatic, strategic and radical, transformational and reformatory responses to classism in dance and performance.

Each day is organised around a thematic axis and starts with a practice-oriented workshop followed by a communal lunch, a symposium and a keynote/lecture performance in the evening. For the symposium part of the winter school, we invite contributions by researchers with theoretical and/or practical backgrounds and methodologies responding to the themes described below. Each symposium presentation will be given a 45-minute slot; please propose presentations of approx. 20 minutes to allow time for discussion. Theoretical, historical, and artistic research contributions are welcome. Please send 

  • A short (approx. 300 words) presentation of your proposed contribution 
  • A short biography (approx. 200 words) and links to recent work/publications, if relevant 
  • A list of technical requirements for your presentation 

to Anna Leon, curator of the Tanzquartier Wien theory programme ( until 30.09.2023. 

Practical information 

  • You can submit abstracts in English or German. The winter school will navigate between the two languages, and an interpreter will be present. 
  • We ask, as much as possible, that participants are present for the three days. 
  • A fee of 120 euros is planned for each symposium presentation, and TQW will provide a partial contribution to travel costs for presenters living outside of Vienna. 
  • Vegetarian lunch, coffee/tea and snacks will be provided. 


Day 1, Crossing class: Class is not an isolated social reality, and classism is not an isolated discrimination. Where and how does classism converge with racism, sexism, and other forms of discrimination in the performing arts? How can anti-classist strategies in the field articulate themselves with other forms of anti-discrimination work? What are the links of dance’s largely ableist, normative, mobile and thin body with classism? How do practitioners of different ages experience classism? While looking at class/ism’s intersections with other discriminatory realities, this day also invites us to see class as cutting across other constructed divisions, for example countering the nationalist appropriation of anti-classist discourse by finding transnational anti-classist alliances. 

Workshop: Livia Kojo Alour 
Keynote: Trajche Janushev and Alina-Michelle Seiler (Red Edition) in conversation with Julischka Stengele

Day 2, Reclassifying: Class/ism does not always operate overtly. It creeps into aesthetic criteria that purport only to be based on artistic merit; it is present in classifications of dance as art or as entertainment and hierarchies between them; it co-defines what counts as ‘contemporary’ dance; it influences how work is understood, experienced and remunerated in the field. How can we make these tacit effects visible? What new aesthetic and artistic categories can we invent to counter classist-informed discourse and thinking? What classist hierarchies exist in dance history and how do these play out in the present? The capacity of classism to still conceal itself also results in its effects being underacknowledged: How does classism inhabit the body, what traces does it leave, what motional patterns or normalised pains? How can dance and somatic practices draw attention to the marks classism has left on bodies? And how can dance acknowledge the bodies doing the silent work that makes artmaking possible?

Workshop: Josephine Findeisen 
Keynote: Myassa Kraitt (lecture-performance)

Day 3, New classes: The concept of class is an economically, culturally, linguistically, politically and historically situated one. In what ways does it help us understand inequalities in dance and performance, and to what extent can/should it be modified or rethought? How can post-capitalist perspectives about information-based class divisions and feminist care theories inform dance and performance, especially concerning the precarious status of artists as professionals? If, in contemporary capitalism, there are new forms of class belonging, what new forms does class privilege take? What new alliances can be invented, notably in the framework of ecological thinking, forming cross-species anti-classist connections? And how might dance and performance participate in these?

Workshop: Tomislav Medak
Closing event tbc

The Winter School will be accompanied by a series of peripheral projects, including a video work by Rosamaria Kostic Cisneros, a podcast by Jan Groos and a reading/resting space curated by Christina Gillinger (TQW Bibliothek), among others.