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Moves that move us

October 12, 2013 to July 20, 2014

An Exhibition by the Deutsches Hygiene-Museum


People have always danced – all over the world and at all times. We dance in endless variations, on all sorts of occasions, and across cultures. Dance allows us to express what we have always found moving: whether it’s the joy we feel at being alive or the anxieties of life itself; whether it’s uninhibited ecstasy or regimented discipline. Dance is not just a fun leisure activity, or an art form. Indeed, dance has always mirrored the social conditions in which it emerged and, in turn, has had a retroactive effect on those conditions. In their day innovative forms of movement have often got things moving on a larger scale, too, whether it was a Viennese waltz or rock ‘n’ roll, breakdancing or punk. By questioning inherited traditions and challenging conventions, new dance styles experiment with social role models and bring about a shift in the relationships between genders and generations.

Dance also frequently conveys our fascination with the exotic, and different forms of dance infl uence our notions of regional traditions; in fact, some dances were invented outright so they could establish cultural idiosyncrasies and national identities. Dance also exposes the way in which a society is structured. This was true as much of ballet at the court of Louis XIV as of the show girls of 1920s revues – but also of contemporary dance forms such as hip hop and choreographed mass performances such as fl ash mobs. Dance is a means of transferring into movement the fantasies, rules and balances of power that govern society; they have also had an impact on other areas of society, too.

The exhibition has tapped into the wealth of knowledge accumulated by many disciplines in order to convey the experience of the dynamic and dramatic tensions of dance. We invite you to take this dance course, both literally and fi guratively, and gain a deeper understanding of dance as a part of human nature, and of what moves us to dance.

Experience the juxtaposition of traditional exhibits and interactive installations, fi lms, artworks, and multimedia stations aimed at stimulating both the mind and the feet. So why not take to the fl oor – and dance!

Curatorial and Dramatic Concept

Dance is a volatile, ephemeral phenomenon. In order to capture its dynamic quality and complexity, the exhibition develops cognitive and physical approaches, giving equal importance to both. A knowledge thread, showing how dance both reflects and shapes culture and society, is interwoven with a dance thread that sets the visitors in motion, offering an immediate, physical experience of dance. Visitors are also integrated in the dramaturgy of the exhibition by the careful composition of conventional exhibits and multimedia installations, of artworks and performative stations. The tour becomes a dance in which each visitor invents his or her own choreography.
The exhibition reflects contemporary thinking about dance and its importance for our conception of ourselves as humans. Just as dance can be considered as a playful way of assimilating the world cognitively and physically, the exhibition with its experimental methods affords a deeper understanding of dance as a human activity.

Exhibition Data

Curator: Colleen M. Schmitz, Deutsches Hygiene-Museum
Scientific consultants: Prof. Dr. Gabriele Brandstetter, Institut für Theaterwissenschaft, Freie Universität Berlin
Scientific associate: Dr. Barbara Lubich
Scientific assistance: Bettina Beer, Cindy Denner, Charlotte Weyrauch (until May 2013)
Cultural education: Ute Marxreiter
Framework programme and Cooperations: Bettina Lehmann
Scenography: Prof. Dr. Axel Buether, artistic director
Julia Neubauer, büroberlin, Architektur,
Schnellebuntebilder, animation and interaction,
Timo Rieke, graphic design
Area: 1.200 sq.m.

Partners: Hellerau European Centre for the Arts
Palucca School of Dance
Semperoper, Dresden
Sponsors: German Federal Cultural Foundation
Cultural Foundation of the State of Saxony