The Kulturstiftung des Bundes (German Federal Cultural Foundation) is continuing its commitment to dance after the end of Tanzplan Deutschland with the launch of two new funds: TANZFONDS ERBE (DANCE HERITAGE FUND) and TANZFONDS PARTNER (DANCE PARTNERS FUND). Madeline Ritter, the former director of Tanzplan Deutschland, and Ingo Diehl, the former director of Tanzplan Deutschland’s educational programme, are responsible for the funds’ concept. They founded the not-for-profit company DIEHL+RITTER in July 2011 in order to manage the funds. Madeline Ritter is the funds project director.


TANZFONDS ERBE finances creative projects that promote the cultural heritage of dance. Contemporary dance enjoys only limited public visibility as an art form in Germany despite the fact that the international reputations of dance artists such as Mary Wigman, Dore Hoyer, Tatjana Gsovsky, Rudolf von Laban, William Forsythe or Pina Bausch, began in Germany.

Discussions with both publicly funded as well as independent dance companies revealed a desire to preserve the cultural heritage of dance, but also that there is often insufficient capacity to do so. It is not only a question of lack of funding, but also of a lack of access to choreographers and relevant material. Copyright in the dance repertory of the 20th century is often unclear or involves high costs. These same reasons make it difficult to present all the facets of 20th century dance to any satisfactory extent. Young dancers and choreographers wary of working with historical works and the German public rarely gets the chance to see key works from modern dance history and to relate them to the present day.

TANZFONDS ERBE lays the foundation for reconstructing the history of contemporary dance in Germany. The openness of the project – barely any limits have been set in terms of approach – facilitates access to 20th century modern dance and builds a bridge to the present. TANZFONDS ERBE does not create a museum of work and people from the past, but rather a lively commemorative culture that reveals the topicality of modern day dance. In this way, TANZFONDS ERBE coincides with the aims of the UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage.


Individuals and institutions with a proven background in dance are eligible to apply. Applicants must have their principle place of work or domicile and/or production location in Germany. Funding is available for:

  • Reconstructions, restagings, new productions or new interpretations of choreographic works that were created in Germany in the 20th century and which had a particular impact on the development and reception of dance.
  • Adaptations of international choreographic works that had a particular influence on the development of dance in 20th century Germany.
  • Dealing with themes, periods, places or artists that are relevant to 20th dance history and in doing so using different artistic formats, for example lecture performances, installations, exhibitions or film and online projects.

Medium-sized and large projects will be awarded funding up to a maximum of €100,000. A higher funding level is possible for individual, well-founded cases on an exceptional basis.

Projects awarded funding will be developed in conjunction with experts. Applicants can include choreologists, historians, contemporary witnesses and dramatic advisers in their projects to help with the selection of appropriate works as well as the inclusion and reworking of source material.
The TANZFONDS team is happy to support and advise applicants when making contact with experts and archives.

The resulting projects will feature in the repertoires of the theatres and companies involved and enjoy national visibility. Selected projects will be presented at the Dance Congress in 2013 and be discussed in detail with artists and experts during the event.


The research and production processes funded by TANZFONDS ERBE will be documented competently and in full by DIEHL+RITTER. There is great interest in making this documentation available to the public, teachers and researchers in online databases, such as the Digital Atlas of Dance as well as in specialist archives and university libraries. The collection of material emerging from this process will become valuable study material for future researchers and artists, affording them an in-depth look at German dance history. It will also show how to adopt a creative approach to dance heritage.