The Tanztreffen der Jugend is looking for exemplary and remarkable pieces by and with young dancers who find their own topics on their own or under professional guidance and bring them into an artistic form with contemporary and/or urban movement languages.
The Tanztreffen aims to be a showcase and source of inspiration for the work of young dancers and choreographers. There are no time, formal or thematic constraints. Choreographic pieces can be submitted that have been developed independently or under professional direction. The duration of the submitted works is open, it can be ten minutes or two hours. Current stylistic genre crossings in the direction of theater, performance, music and the media arts are also encouraged, thus taking into account current trends in the dance field and in youth culture. Young dancers, choreographers and ensembles from the school context, from independent work contexts, dance schools or theaters, who find their own themes and bring them into a conscious artistic form with contemporary and/or urban movement languages, are addressed.
In 2023, the Tanztreffen der Jugend celebrates its 10th anniversary. Founded in 2014, the national contest is the only format of its kind in Germany dedicated to young contemporary and urban dance in a stage context. and aims to highlight and enhance them as independent art forms within cultural education. It is open to all institutional and non-institutional initiatives that involve the creation of dance pieces with young people, i.e. schools, dance schools and dance groups at independent, municipal and state theaters as well as at independent youth culture institutions. Connecting these different places and stimulating an exchange between them is just as much the aim of the Tanztreffen der Jugend as it is to enable a discussion about content, form and working methods in the sense of quality development in the field of young dance with young people.
Unlike theater, which is also an established art form in schools and already recognized as a school subject in many German states, dance still takes place mainly outside of school and is hardly institutionally anchored. Also the training regarding artistic practice for teachers and dance educators is still comparatively little standardized.
The Tanztreffen der Jugend wants to give important impulses for this still young scene within cultural education and to emphasize the strength of the art form dance – the possibility of artistic expression beyond language. It also aims to raise awareness for diversity-oriented work with young dance practitioners and to promote their individual skills in artistic expression. At the same time, the concerns of the young participants are to be given a public forum.
The Tanztreffen der Jugend is part of the Treffen junge Szene of the Berliner Festspiele and is funded as a national competition by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).
A jury will choose the award-winners. Initially, they make a pre-selection on the strength of the application material and, after interviews and discussions with these ensembles, the final award-winners will be chosen. The prize is an invitation to the Tanztreffen der Jugend in Berlin. Alongside artistic and formal criteria, a decisive factor in the selection procedure is that the productions are created and developed in close dialogue with the choreographers / art education teachers and the youths involved; the content should be have a clear relevance for young adults, and the attitude and perspective of young people should be strong. The productions should be an example of works by and with youths.
Each day, one of the selected ensembles performs its production in front of an audience at the Haus der Berliner Festspiele. Each group will be given one day to set up and rehearse and will receive extensive support from the Berliner Festspiele's technical team. All performances will be recorded.
At least as important as the public performances is the meeting of the groups with each other. The eight-day Tanztreffen der Jugend sees itself as a place of impulses, exchange and experimentation, where young dancers and their choreographers meet in various formats. There is a daily program of intensive and impulse workshops as well as performance talks and discussions. The atmosphere of the Treffen, characterized by openness and curiosity, offers numerous opportunities to engage with the medium of dance together and to learn from each other, even when detached from the fixed program. Former participants of the other Treffen junge Szene of the Berliner Festspiele complement the supporting program with readings and music. The Forum of Tanztreffen der Jugend offers an extensive program aimed at theater directors, theater teachers, theater educators and students. It includes various impulse and intensive workshops and discursive formats such as performance talks and discussions on specific topics. The focus of the forum is on collegial exchange.