The Kulturstiftung des Bundes launched TANZFONDS ERBE and TANZFONDS PARTNER in 2011 after the Tanzplan Deutschland initiative came to an end. Madeline Ritter, the former director of Tanzplan Deutschland, and Ingo Diehl, the former director of Tanzplan’s educational programme, designed the content of the funds. The not-for-profit company they founded, DIEHL+RITTER, is the agency in charge of Tanzfonds. Ms Ritter is its project director.

Tanzfonds Erbe

Fund for artistic projects on the cultural heritage of dance

From 2011–2019, the Dance Heritage Fund supported projects that engaged with the cultural heritage of dance in Germany. A total of 60 projects all over Germany received funding, enabling artists to research the significance of dance history today from a range of unique perspectives and using a wide variety of formats, from films to websites, symposia and stage productions. The artists were free to choose the topics they wished to explore and were not required to use a particular approach, such as historical reconstruction. Many projects deliberately distanced themselves from historical and archival sources or embodied memories, creating contemporary responses instead.

During their in-depth research, the selected artists consulted many different archives and collaborated with experts and researchers. In the process, they also helped to clarify copyright issues. For audiences, their artistic output revealed a vibrant history of dance, which had previously only been known to a small number of experts. Productions became part of the repertory and programming of all participating theatres and dance companies. A touring fund for Dance Heritage Fund productions was established in 2014 to increase the works’ visibility both nationally and internationally.

One of the fund’s missions was to make the results of its work accessible to audiences and researchers in the long term. All projects were therefore filmed and the documentations published in a digital archive, The video material produced as part of the Dance Heritage Fund forms an extensive and diverse body of knowledge, enhanced with detailed commentary. The films are accessible for a lay audience, while still offering quality and depth for professional dance artists and scholars. It was partly this aspect of the project which led to it being awarded the European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage/Europa Nostra Award in 2016. For the first time ever, the jury recognised dance as European cultural heritage, on a level with conservation and museum projects.

When the DANCE HERITAGE FUND came to an end after nine years in 2019, the Akademie der Künste Berlin, German Federal Cultural Foundation and DIEHL+RITTER held a joint symposium entitled “Was der Körper erinnert. Zur Aktualität des Tanzerbes“ (What the body remembers. On the topicality of dance heritage). The accompanying reader “Das Jahrhundert des Tanzes” (The Century of Dance) was published by the Akademie der Künste and DIEHL+RITTER.

Tanzfonds Partner


TANZFONDS PARTNER was funding 12 partnerships between dance institutions and general education schools across Germany, each project lasting several years. The aim was for school children to experience the art form of dance as part of everyday theatre life – and to do so at the highest artistic level.

The key aspect of the initiative was the opening up of theatres and dance institutions for school children: rather than individual artists making flying visits to schools, it was about school children visiting artists as and where they rehearse. In working with the dancers, school children learned about and value artistic methods and the working conditions in the context of a cultural institution.

The co-operation between experienced dancers and choreographers with young people from different social backgrounds also provided artists with new experiences. They encouraged and taught, brought their knowledge into the institution and generated the audiences of the future.