Editorial October/November 2021
Dear audience, dear artists,
In October 2001, Tanzquartier Wien officially opened its doors for the very first time. That was twenty years ago. But it had already taken more than two decades of political activism by dancers and choreographers for a space for contemporary dance and performance to be created in Vienna. An institution that was meant to tick all the boxes regarding presentation, research and education. An institution designed to host international coproductions. An institution destined to become one of the leading dance houses in Europe. For this reason, a location in the heart of the city had had to be found – so Tanzquartier Wien went on to find its home in the Museumsquartier area among other prestigious institutions, such as Kunsthalle Wien, mumok and Architekturzentrum Wien.
Nonetheless, our 20-year anniversary will not be a curatorial retrospective. There is no adequate way to represent all the various and diverse events that took place at TQW over the last two decades. Our event series 20 Years of TQW – Past / Present / Future should therefore be thought of more as a way of taking stock of the present, with some subtle allusions to the past and a glimpse of the future. The participating artists and their works address politically charged issues just as much as questions of aesthetics in relation to alternative ways of dealing with time, our environment and the representation of bodies and history/ies. Three panel discussions, concerning Dance & City, Dance & Future andDance & Uprising, will also be part of the programme and will make it possible to hear from some of our discipline’s leading local as well as international voices.
Nevertheless, we still need to emphasize what an important moment it was for the city of Vienna to establish its own institution for contemporary dance twenty years ago. Other European cities haven’t been as fortunate and are still fighting for representation.
In other news – starting October 2021, the current artistic directorship will enter its second term. This means change in two different ways: Artist, choreographer and performer Linda Samaraweerova will take over as head of training and workshops. As outlined in her concept, she will make it TQW’s mission to define, teach and practice only dance techniques of the 21st century. Consequently, one of the first steps had to be the rebranding of Training & Workshops to Body & Performance Practices – a new name for a new era.
Another important appointment comes in the form of academic and dance historian Anne Leon. Joining our two freelance theory curators, Janine Jembere and Thomas Edlinger, this will give dance theory a more prominent role within our institution. And Anna Leon fits the bill of practice-orientated theory and transdisciplinary research. To see just how much she is the ideal candidate, you can find a text on the following pages, which illustrates her position and reflects her methods and practice.
Even if it might seem strange in times of a global pandemic and with the impending doom of climate change: We are still happy to see what the future holds – by focusing on what we can do now!
Bettina Kogler (Artistic direction & Programme) & Christa Spatt (Programme)