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Touch & Respect - approaches to participatory choreography in dance for young audiences

Professional exchange 2024: Theater o.N Berlin & tanzhaus nrw Düsseldorf

February 23 - 24, 2024 at tanzhaus nrw – Düsseldorf

Together with interested colleagues, we would like to reflect on the role that participatory choreographic formats can play in overcoming hierarchies in relation to age, ablelism, education and other factors in the production and reception of art. Where the boundaries between stage and audience space, between performer and audience are partially dissolved, there could also be potential, for example, to compensate for the knowledge and experience advantage of adult viewers over a young audience. In such formats, prior knowledge is of no advantage. Distanced viewing is abandoned in favor of a sensual, communal experience, thus creating a level playing field for all audience groups.

In Düsseldorf, we would like to bring together two choreographers who have been exploring the themes of touch and interaction in their work for some time. Alfredo Zinola, whose new production "THINGS at the End of the World" will be shown at tanzhaus nrw as part of the exchange, and Hanna Bylka-Kanecka (Holobiont Collective), in whose works tactile elements and a shared aesthetic experience between an intergenerational audience and the performers play a major role.

On Friday, they will present their working methods and discuss the potentials and challenges of touch-based communication with the audience with producer, mediator and lecturer Micaela Kühn Jara. Participants are invited to share their own experiences and questions about interaction and touch in small discussion groups.

On Saturday morning, in a workshop with Micaela Kühn Jara, we want to delve deeper into the concept of participation and how to deal with it from different conceptual perspectives (of participation) and reflect on our own artistic practice or the practice of dance education.

Before and after the events, there will be a space to get to know each other, have informal conversations and cook and eat together.

Der Fachaustausch findet in englischer Lautsprache mit Übersetzungen ins Deutsche nach Bedarf statt.


Friday, February 23

10:00 - 10:45 h Performance "THINGS am Ende der Welt“ by Alfredo Zinola
(please book your ticket via tanzhaus nrw)

10:45 - 12:15 h Network café - an open space to get to know colleagues, work together on the next project or simply catch up on your emails

12:15 - 13:30 h Lunch

13:30 - 16:30 h Touch & Respect: Exchange with choreographers Alfredo Zinola and Hanna Bylka-Kanecka | Moderation: Micaela Kühn Jara (Producer; Dance educator; lecturer)

16:30 - 18:00 h Closing in the open network café

Saturday, February 24

11:00 - 13:30 h Participatory processes in dance and theater for young audiences
Workshop with Micaela Kühn Jara | in English or German spoken language

We will examine together what we mean by participation. How can the terms participation and interaction be distinguished from one another? What can a participative process look like? What could be critical or questionable about it?
With the help of a dramaturgical toolbox and some practical exercises, we will take a critical look at our own work, ideas and practices and discuss our findings and experiences on the basis of short inputs. This workshop is aimed at dancers, choreographers, dramaturges, theater and dance educators, academics and practitioners involved in art production.

13:30 - 14:00 h Closing round

14:00 Lunch, break, networking

15:00 - 15:45 h Performance "THINGS am Ende der Welt“ by Alfredo Zinola
(please book your ticket via tanzhaus nrw)


Registration by Februar 16 at:

Admission to the exchange event is free. We ask for a contribution towards the cost of catering on site, as this is not eligible for funding


Involved artists:

Hanna Bylka-Kanecka is a choreographer from Poland who founded the "Holobiont collective" together with Aleksandra Bożek-Muszyńska. Her creative interest lies in interdisciplinary, cross-generational projects. Combining experimental dance, visual arts and music, she creates interactive performances and offers workshops for families with children. Her work is based on the assumption that every participant in the performance - regardless of age and experience - is a fully-fledged recipient of the performing arts. Her production, the interactive performance "My Tail and I" (2021) was presented in Berlin in 2022 in collaboration with the Somatic Academy Berlin.

The performer and choreographer Alfredo Zinola studied modern dance at the Folkwang University of the Arts in Essen and anthropology and intercultural communication at the University of Turin. His creative process is based on collaboration with other artists. Alfredo Zinola has been working with participatory formats for years, such as in the interactive performance PARTY for children aged 6 - 10 (2018) or the exploration of bodies in PELLE (2021). His latest production "THINGS at the End of the World" also explores the relationship between the audience, performers and non-human beings and things on stage. 

Moderation and workshop leader:

Micaela Kühn Jara works in the fields of dance and education with a special interest in participation and young audiences. With a background as a dancer, her work today encompasses production, education, conceptualization and research. She is the creative producer of Alfredo Zinola Productions (Germany), a company that develops contemporary performances for young audiences. She is also an artistic advisor for the program Dansehallerne (Denmark) for young audiences, which brings dance into schools through hybrid formats. In addition, she is a guest lecturer in the Dance and Participation (MFA) program at the Danish National School of Performing Arts on topics such as participation, artistic-educational practice, inclusion and creative practice.



The exchange consists of two parts. Part 2 will take place on May 15  in Berlin and will deal with multisensory theater spaces and their potential for further opening transformations in the theater. The exact program will be announced soon. Both parts of the event can be attended independently of each other.

Supported by Fonds Darstellende Künste with funds from the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media.