Sun 09.10.2016    19:30    map

Lecture Constanze Schellow - Impossible exercise or new virtuosity?

Impossible exercise or new virtuosity?

The discoursive turn for art education in dance and performance

In contemporary dance and in many of its recent study programs artists are expected to ‘create discourse‘ as well as to act from a position of ‘self-criticality’ and to think of their own practice as ‚critical’. In an institutionalized form such categories, which are tracable up to developments in the European dance scene of the 1990ties, have found their way into BA- and MA- curricula. They highly inform the programs’ goals and desires concerning the young artists they set out to produce.

Even though there is such a strong demand for embedding theory into the artistic education, the protocol of doing so remains practically fragile: How do we avoid building just another canon? If dance and performance have turned into critical practices, does that mean they have replaced understandings of dance and performance based on notions of virtuosity and skill? And to what extent could it be argued that the current self-proclaimed critical practice within dance and performance has been replaced or been amplified with neoliberal values such as opinion making and processes of self- realisation and/or emancipation?


Constanze Schellow is a theorist, dramaturge and writer in the field of dance and performance. She studied Theatre Studies, Philosophy and Performing Arts in Berlin and Antwerp, and holds a PhD in Dance Studies. Between 2014 and 2016, she was guest professor for Applied Dance Studies and Performance Theory at Interuniversity Centre for Dance Berlin. Constanze has been teaching in academic institutions (like the Institute for Media and Theatre Hildesheim/DE, Free University Berlin/DE, Institute for Theatre Studies Berne/CH) as well as in the artistic context (Tanzquartier Vienna, Dansens Hus Copenhagen). As a dramaturge she has collaborated with Sara Manente, Doris Uhlich, Simone Aughterlony and will work with Eva Meyer-Keller this year. As a critic and writer specialized in dance and performance Constanze has published in German and international daily papers and magazines such as Performance Research, Frakcija, Theater der Zeit, Tanzjournal and on web-platforms (corpus, sarma). As an editor she was responsible for the Goethe Institute website and archive tanzconnexions on contemporary dance in the Asia-Pacific region, between 2009 and 2011. Constanze's new book Diskurs-Choreographien, dealing with the politics of theorizing and academicizing dance, has just come out (epodium 2016).