In professional dancers’ careers, a transition is unavoidable. In contrast to people in other occupations, dancers have to re-orient themselves after a relatively short time of activity on stage. Every professional dancer is thus confonted by retraining and continuing education (transition). Dancing is more than just a job. A dancer’s career is a calling. Dancers define their lives and their identities through dancing. Education beginning at an early age, high demands in physical performance and the intensity of dance characterize dancers’ daily life and only offer limited possibilities for a timely orientation towards a second career. Thus during and at the end of a career, doubts, insecurity and a great void often exists in dancers’ lives. What will happen next? Who can assist you in the jungle of institutions and paragraphs? Where can you get help, support, mentoring, confidence-building and sensitivity for a successful transition process? Where can you get help in the case of hardships and old-age poverty? How can a freelance artist finance a new career orientation, when he or she is not even registered in the social security system? How can you finance a university education?
In recognition of existing needs, the workgroup “Transition and Social Aspects” of the Dachverband Tanz – Ständige Konferenz e.V. and the Ballett- und Tanztheaterdirektorenkonferenz (BBTK), supported by the Fonds Darstellende Künste e.V., initiated a project study, the “Model Development for a Transition Center for Dance in Germany”, to determine the needs to establish a transition center for professional dance in Germany (published in March 2008, online at: www.dachverband-tanz.de.
The founding initiative’s next step was supported by the Dance Plan Germany, an initiative of the German Federal Cultural Foundation; it was a workshop with ministries and institutions relevant for transitions. Here the initiative realized a recommendation made by the Enquete Commission “Culture in Germany” that suggested to the federal government and the Länder – in reference to the study – “to support dancers during and after their dance careers by establishing an appropriate TRANSITION foundation on the basis of the results determined by the “Transition and Social Aspects” workgroup”. (BT-D.16/7000, p. 321)
The Stiftung TANZ – Transition Center Germany was founded with private means on January 19th 2010 and is headquartered in Berlin.
The Board of Directors and the Board of Trustees are made up of well-known individuals from the fields of dance, art, politics, society and business.
Director of the Board of Trustees is John Neumeier, Director and Chief Choreographer of the Hamburg Ballet.