A work in progress MANIFEST

During four weeks some of us had a lot of discussions within the working groups of Surviving Dance in which we reflected about our working conditions and how we live as artists in our community. We know that there is the Potential Analyses of the free scene Hamburg commissioned by the Cultural Department carried out by the Center for Theater research of the Hamburg University. In order to support the on going political discussions we would like to introduce a collection of thoughts that came up.

How do we understand our work…
Contemporary Dance is cultural heritage!
Choreographic art is not a hobby.
We are artists.
Dance as an art form consists of choreographers, dancers, performance artists but also visual artists, musicians, dramaturges, curators, writers, scientists…
We are innovators, we provoke and inspire.
We are specific and open, egoistic and generous.
We give dynamic form and expression to big and small interests, personal and social, historical and futuristic, the fantastic and the simple.
We change constantly the rules and entrances to our work, which makes us sometimes difficult to define and to understand.
Artistic work is labor intensive.
Artistic work is research.
Artistic work is a critical point of reflection for society.
We are independent professional creative workers.
We are a part of society, which results in making this city fun, exciting, sexy and attractive to its citizens, visitors and investors.
We share a discourse with the other dancers and performers around EU and overseas and the work you find at festivals all around EU and overseas.
We move you!

What we offer…
We offer exclusivity.
The originality of our labor results in the fertile foundation of cultural development.
We are important partners for cultural, social and economic development.
We offer new models of economic success.
We are an economy - a small economy, but an economy nonetheless.
When we have financial support we offer jobs to our creative, provocative and inspiring colleagues from all artistic disciplines.
The activities surrounding our work makes us specialized in many fields: group dynamics, human resources, time organization, creative use of resources, project management, concept development, production, interior design, health, physical training, curating, coaching, communications, marketing, brainstorming etc.
We have highly qualified educations (BA’s, MA’s, and PhD’s) in art, choreography and theater science - we spent years studying.
We are professional and competent.
Our work is an alternative to the mainstream entertainment economy.
We work hard to offer a vibrant culture to society, to offer something original, a rich alternative to the mainstream, which is merely repeated in any bigger city.
It’s like the Bundesliga. Sometimes we play good, sometimes we play very good, sometimes we play not so good, sometimes it's boring, but we are still entertainment, in the sense that our work enriches the spectator’s daily life.
Using the skill of non-verbal communication with our bodies we can try to open boundaries.

How we live and work…
We are freelance, we don't have a fixed income, we move from project to project which often includes a nomadic state of existence.
We are not qualified to receive ‘Arbeitslosengeld’ in times of unemployment.
There is no concept of artists’ money (like in France, Belgium, Holland, etc.) to support free lancers when we are not engaged in a project.
There is no minimum income standard (like in Holland, Sweden, France, Switzerland and other European countries) that would potentially carry us through times without engagement.
We pay a high price for our way of life: stress, injuries, solitude; love, family life and the desire to start families are sometimes strongly disturbed.
Getting older is always a challenge.
As dance artists from the free scene we are our own managers, secretaries, administrators, visionaries, labor force etc.
We work constantly with little and sometimes no support.
We work 7 days a week beneath minimum wage, and sometimes even for free.
Yet our creativity, our research, our productivity, our innovation, and passion is not honored or accounted for.
We cannot produce within the same guidelines that measure economic impact, though with better possibilities for advertisement our economic impact would drastically improve.

Where society’s responsibility lies…
Considering that culture is, like education, an important area for national investment, governments have a continuous responsibility in shaping the best possible conditions in which cultural development can flourish.
When their economic impact is the primary justification for the arts, only arts and cultural events with the highest economic impact would attract the highest funding.
Consequently, the duty of governments must be to create the conditions in which art creation and production are free from economic constraints.
Although private sponsorship should provide supplementary funding for cultural activities and that should be further developed, it cannot be a substitute for cultural, social and other financial state resources to ensure the survival of threatened areas of cultural expression and creation.
The society’s responsibility is to draw up policies aiming at the preservation and creation of employment in the cultural sectors - not only by giving direct assistance to artists who do not receive sufficient economic backing for their production, but above all by promoting social and economic conditions in which the production, distribution and consumption of the arts can develop!

(Paragraph ‘society’s responsibility’ quoted and adapted from: Council of Europe / Parlamentary Assembly: Recommendation 1059 (1987) on the economics of culture)

What could be changed…
Our initiatives will remain hungry, if your primary justification for artistic creation and production is measured at first with economic success before investing in free dance production.
In this city the arts and cultural events with the highest economic impact attract the highest funding, and infrastructural support.
The artistic results/end production of the free dance scene cannot and shouldn’t be compared with the production of a mainstream entertainment.
Hamburg has the potential for a strong free dance and performance scene. But not only on a local basis but also at a Federal level a lot of conditions have to change.
We claim recognition by the citizens of Hamburg.
We claim to be honored by the society and the state for the work we do within society.
We claim new social policies for artists.
We claim new social status of our existence as artists at the Employment Agency (Arbeitsagentur) and at the KSK (Künstlersozialkasse).
We claim recognition within governmental bureaucracy where there are often no categories/descriptions for choreographer, dancer, performer, etc.
We claim reasonable financial conditions for production and higher wages - the current average is btw. 3-5 Euros an hour
We refuse that we continuously have to prove our status as artists, especially in case of unemployment to the ‘KSK’ and ‘Arbeitsagentur’.
We deny being pitied or even hyped for surviving a precarious status as artists.
We claim continuity and sustainability in our artistic practice.
We claim the city center the place for us to be.
We claim a new space at the city center, a space for artists in residency and research.
We visualize for instance Schiller Oper as a potential for the dancers and performers, because of its history, which is connected with performing arts.
We refuse to be pushed to the peripheries of the city center.
We hope for new and revised Models for the financial funding within the criteria of Hamburg Cultural Department:
- Artistic continuity during 2, 3 and 4 years
- Financial support for research and residencies
- Financial support for newcomers
- Financial support for touring productions
- Financial support for exchange projects in EU and overseas
- New criteria within financial funding: it should include post-production, documentation and allow us to offer higher salaries.
Hamburg, May 2011
Dani Brown, Angela Guerreiro, Claude Jansen, Ursina Tossi, Anja Winterhalter

* If you want to join us in order to go on developing this ideas/topics please leave your contact at the Surviving Dace office at K4.



Anja Winterhalter


Silent Evening Meal... a Research on Utopian Conditions of Space 
Wir veranstalten, gemeinsam mit unseren Gastgebern dem Restaurant Kuchnia,
am 9 Mai von 18:00-19:30 ein stilles Abendessen, um auf diese Weise Alltagsräume auf ihre möglichen und unmöglichen Utopien hin zu erforschen.
Der utopische Raumforschung besteht darin im Restaurant Kuchnia gemeinsam mit allen Beteiligten schweigend zu essen.
Auf Karten werden an den verschiedenen Tischen von den Teilnehmenden neue Spielregeln für die Tischordnung erfunden, in offener Reihenfolge. Jede von den teilnehmenden Gästen auf die Karte gesetzte und im Raum verbreitete neue Tischregel, kann und soll auf die Ereignisse im Raum, so wie er sich durch die Folge neu etablierter Tischregel verändert hat referieren. Der sich verändernde Raum, die Bewegung von Körper und Objekten, die Frage nach einer sich ständig neu formulierenden Raumstruktur sind hier Forschungs Inhalte. Der Abend wird filmisch von allen Beteiligten als Bestandteil der Spielregeln dokumentiert. Jeder Tisch formuliert seine eigenen Regeln. Das Restaurant Kuchnia bietet das Abendessen als eigene Veranstaltung an so dass das ganze Restaurant eingebunden sein wird. Sie werden ein kleines Überraschungs 3 Gänge Menü zaubern, dass pro Person 15,50 Euro kosten wird. Getränke werden auf Karten extra bestellt. Anmeldung unter 

Dieser Research ist Teil meiner Kurzzeit-Residenz im Rahmen von Surviving Dance – Kunst – Wirtschaft - Politik auf K3- Zentrum für Choreographie/Kampnagel.
Die entstehenden Filmaufnahmen werden auf dem Symposium auf K3 am 20. und 21. Mai vorgestellt. Teilnehmen kann jede(r ) der an dieser Art der Forschung Interesse hat- herzlich willkommen sind Leute die nicht aus dem Performance oder Tanzkontext kommen. 

Anja Winterhalter 


Alexandra Denk 

“killing with kindness”

setting to begin:
1 person is the “killer”. He/She is wearing a black cape, which has 8 pieces of Velcro attached and caries a soft ball.

Everyone else has 1 heart, also attached to Velcro.

Some (of the non-killers) are wearing a symbol of value (money, a house or food) around their neck, hanging on a lose string.

The game:
The killer has to try to tag the ones without any symbol with the ball. People wearing a symbol can not be tagged. As soon as a person is hit, he or she has to stand still and is out of the game until a person with a symbol frees her or him, by giving his or her symbol and hanging it around the tagged person's neck. When a person gives the symbol away he or she can be tagged by the killer. But at the same time the heart can be velcroed on to the killers cape. This is only possible for those who are not wearing a symbol.

The goal of the game:
The group wins over the killer by placing all hearts on to the killers cape. 


Irina Vikulina und Verena Brakonier