HI, ROBOT! THE HUMAN-MACHINE FESTIVAL, initiated by tanzhaus nrw, was dedicated to the bodies of the future in the arts form March 13th to 31st, 2019. In co-operation with the NRW-Forum as well as with Black Box – Kino im Filmmuseum, supported by the Kulturstiftung des Bundes, the festival gathered voices from dance, performance, visual arts, science and coding in more than events, asking: How much robot can humans take? Those diverse voices, among them the fascinating “Scary Beauty” concert conducted by humanoid robot Alter 3, veered from fascination for technology and technological scepticism, opening a field for an as-yet missing debate on the encounter between human and machine in performative arts. HI, ROBOT! sees itself as continuation of the discourse on body image in the 21st century that takes place at tanzhaus nrw, starting with the Real Bodies series in 2016. The title HI, ROBOT! dutifully acknowledges Isaac Asimov’s narration I, ROBOT which became a blockbuster film in 2004 while also sending out a welcome and an invitation to meet up.


With the Tanzplattform in Deutschland, taking place from March 14th to 18th, 2018, in Essen, as well as with the International Tanzmesse NRW, taking place in Düsseldorf from August 29th through September 1st, 2018, two important festivals took place or will still take place. tanzhaus nrw is very pleased to announce that it is represented with three co-productions at the Tanzplattform: “Princess“ by Eisa Jocson, “Inoah“ by Bruno Beltrão, and also “Catalogue“ by William Forsythe, for Dance On Ensemble. All of them already guested in Düsseldorf in recent months. We are especially proud that two of the three Factory Artists have found their respective places in the Plattform programme: “The Way you Look (at me) Tonight” by and featuring Factory Artist Claire Cunningham as well as Jess Curtis and “minor matter“ by Factory Artist Ligia Lewis.
Also, this: Anniversaries are useful rituals, we believe, and we celebrated accordingly: 40 years of the Sponsoring Association (January 26th, 2018) as well as 20 years of tanzhaus nrw at the Erkrather Straße venue from April 26th to 29th! The tanzhaus nrw’s spectacular opening in a former tram depot of 4,000 square metres at Erkrather Straße took place in April 1998, and with it came the forward-looking decision to concentrate on agency for and the presentation as well as the production focus on contemporary dance. Since then, the venue has been known as tanzhaus nrw.
Additionally, we have this: The City of Düsseldorf has granted us a subsidy of 148.000 EUR, so the fire safety as well as the master key systems will again be raised to state-of-the-art technology, and there will also be an expertise given on the condition the dilapidated roof is in. We bow to 5.623 signatures in four weeks and all the demonstrations of solidarity during our Open Petition.
Following the topical focus “response-ability. Eine Ethik der Begegnung (ethics of encounter)”, versatile artist voices gather on the ability to communicate across all differences during the 2018 / 2019 season. 
In November, we received Appraisal from the Heinrich Böll Foundation NRW for our civil social commitment. At the end of the year, we also received the good news of a continuing three-year support granted by the Federal Government towards the Bündnis Internationaler Produktionshäuser/ Alliance of International Production Venues.  

Sven Hagolani Claire Cunningham_Jess Curtis The Way You Look (At Me) Tonight. Foto Sven Hagolani


The year started excitingly with the continuation of the programme series Real Bodies amongst other things, which came to an end in April with the performance of the Scottish activist Claire Cunningham and the American choreographer Jess Curtis. It was followed by the dance conference INVENTUR 2 from the 1st – 3rd of July, which examined dance in the context of a social and politically rapidly changing world together with 250 visitors. Shortly afterwards tanzhaus nrw received the Theaterpreis des Bundes 2017 together with seven other theatres including €115.000. "After decades of continuity tanzhaus nrw dared a new start with Bettina Masuch as artistic director in 2014”, the jury explains. “Since then local contacts have been strengthened and youth work continued by Junges Tanzhaus. Furthermore, with the Factory Artists the institution gained international importance. With thematic emphases like Real Bodies and Zusammen the house has devoted itself to social topics, which find expression in artistic aesthetics. Between community space and a place of education and training, with conferences like Inventur 2 tanzhaus nrw builds a bridge across international discourses of our time. tanzhaus nrw succeeds in connecting artistic avant-garde, topics of the present day and the society of the city, which is in terms of dancing – very practically – at home there. The house uses the focus on dance for building a community in motion." Before the new season started on 8th September 2017 with a happening by the Icelandic choreographer Erna Ómarsdóttir as part of the new programme series CEREMONY NOW!, tanzhaus nrw announced its new Factory Artists for the next two years: Claire Cunningham, Ligia Lewis and Choy Ka Fai.

A.R. Real Bodies_Image Kampagne 2016


First of all, so much dance is rare: With three international meetings in this country – Tanzplattform Germany from 02/03 – 06/03 in Frankfurt/M., Dance Congress from 16/06 – 19/06 in Hanover as well as internationale tanzmesse nrw from 31/08 – 03/09 in Düsseldorf – the year 2016 is a year of dance! And what about us, who celebrate the year of dance every single year? With a wide range of topics, such as REAL BODIES, the newest works of our Factory Artists including a high percentage of participation as well as the development as a place of production for independent choreographers, tanzhaus nrw pushes on the changing process regarding artistic content and brand identity, which has begun with the change of management.

A.R. Real Bodies_Image Kampagne 2016


The year began i.a. with a focus on the Factory Artists Alexandra Waierstall and Jan Martens. The appeal “Düsseldorf culture and sports for humanity/respect/diversity” moved something in the city, as well as in many others, to set a strong sign against xenophobia and intolerance. That, too: Jan Martens was honoured by receiving the Charlotte Köhler Price for “The Dog Days are over”, co-produced by tanzhaus nrw, and was named as one of the 33 “great hopes of the year” by the dance magazine “tanz”. The youth company of tanzhaus nrw, B2B Back to Basics, has gained critical acclaim by receiving a nomination and an invitation to the Tanztreffen der Jugend 2015 in Berlin, as well as the multitude of activities of Junges Tanzhaus, which received the Kulturjugendpreis der Sparkassenstiftung des Rheinlandes. The alliance of international production places for contemporary performing arts in Germany, funded with twelve million euro by the ministry of culture and media, can be seen as a small, cultural-political sensation. To one of „the seven biggest and most important places with international charism” (press information of the Bund) counts tanzhaus nrw, next to Hebbel am Ufer Berlin, Kampnagel Hamburg, Künstlerhaus Mousonturm Frankfurt/M., Europäische Zentrum der Künste Dresden-Hellerau, PACT Zollverein Essen and FFT Düsseldorf.
With the new season 2015/2016 and a multiplicity of artists tanzhaus nrw poses questions after new forms of participation and the joint experience of dance and sets clear statements with guest performances by Lia Rodrigues and Christian Rizzo, also within the social discussions about refugees. The new project Shifting Realities that focuses on the exchange between artists from different African nations and Germany and is funded by Kulturstiftung des Bundes, took its first step with the first Research phase at École de Sables in Senegal in November.

Piet Goethals Jan Martens THE DOG DAYS ARE OVER


With the season 2014/2015 the artistic style of Bettina Masuch is visible, who has been working as the director of the tanzhaus nrw since 01/01/2014. The four-day season opening in August was a lavish party and presented i.a. artists such as Emanuel Gat, Ari Benjamin Meyers & Tino Seghal, Alexandra Waierstall, Jan Martens and Sebastian Matthias. The Dance Platform Germany, whose partner the tanzhaus nrw is, invited in the end of February to Hamburg, and the International Dance Fair, the other important sector event took place in Dusseldorf from 27th to 30th of August.


The year began with the new serie Back to the future - 35 Jahre tanzhaus nrw, funded by the Kunststiftung NRW. The serie runs over the whole year and focuses on the history of the tanzhaus nrw and the former "Die werkstatt e.V." in the context of his presence and future. The International Dance Congress took place from 06th to 09th of June in Düsseldorf and in close cooperation with the tanzhaus nrw, and the new season 2013/2014 has started with an inspiring meeting of a big range of european Dancehouses and artists in the frame of the EU-project modul-dance.

Paul Schöpfer Performing Group TRASHedy


Having won the contracts for the projects Dance Dialogues Africa and Benedikt Next Generation (formely known as Tanzpartner Düsseldorf), both of them sponsored by the Federal Cultural Foundation, tanzhaus nrw entered its 14th year on Erkrather Straße. With guest performances by Saburo Teshigawara, Pepping Tom, Dave St-Pierre and Louise Lecavalier the house successfully continues its highlight series. From 29.08. until 01.09., the International Dance Fair brought again the world of dance to Düsseldorf. In September tanzhaus nrw anounced with Bettina Masuch, a.o. director of the Springdance Festivals Utrecht, the new artistic director from 2014 on. Bertram Müller has then been director for more than 35 years.


The year begins with the sixth edition of the European festival Temps d’Images. The series Global Dance Alliances, dedicated to the idea of the curating choreographer, is off to a flying start with renowned artists and groups such as the Australian Dance Theatre, Jan Fabre, Olga Pona and Gregory Maqoma. For the Eurovision Song Contest in Mai 2011 in Düsseldorf, tanzhaus nrw conjures up "a great show" (Rheinische Post) in the Altstadt with its dance mob and more than 1500 persons dancing. Good news also for Take-off: Junger Tanz: we carry on with the help of the city of Düsseldorf and the state of NRW! In the context of this project tanzhaus nrw publishes its first book with the title "Aufwachsen mit Tanz" ("Growing up with dance"), published in January 2011 by Beltz Verlag.
Much anticipation also of another project: the city of Düsseldorf with tanzhaus nrw is awarded the organisation of the International Dance Convention (Internationaler Tanzkongress") from June 6 to 9, 2013.

Marita Liulia Tero Saarinen HUNT


The year begins with the series Sacre plus, which in the course of the year will present contemporary interpretations of Strawinsky classics from 1913, amongst which works by Marie Chouinard, Tero Saarinen (photo), Raimund Hoghe, Xavier Le Roy and Carlotta Ikeda, accompanied by an artists’ lab and a symposium. Two big meetings of the dance sector will take place this year: Tanzplattform Deutschland in Nuremberg, where four of the twelve selected choreographers work in Düsseldorf: VA Wölfl, Ben J. Riepe, Fabien Prioville and the group Ludica. Furthermore the Internationale Tanzmesse NRW, which brings organizers, choreographers and dancers from all over the world to Düsseldorf. 


The biennial festival tanz nrw is successfully staged for the second time. tanzhaus nrw wins the contract for the International Dance Artist Agency NRW (in short iDAS nrw) from the state of NRW, which is to be a mediator between organizers and the multitude of choreographers from NRW. In June the world was shocked by the sudden death of Wuppertal choreographer Pina Bausch. Shortly after dies Merce Cunningham

Chris Haring Liquid Loft/Chris Haring & Jin Xing Dance Theatre (AT/CN) Lovely Liquid Lounge: DAS CHINA-PROJEKT


Together with different partners from Europe and China, tanzhaus nrw is awarded the contract for the one-year series Chin-A-Moves, dedicated to the artistic exchange between China and Europe within the context of productions, guest performances and conferences. The Internationale Tanzmesse NRW opens again in Düsseldorf in August and the International Dance Festival (ITF) directed by Pina Bausch invites to outstanding dance art in November.


With a dance platform for NRW, tanzhaus nrw establishes together with other organizers from NRW the biennial forum tanz nrw in the cities of Düsseldorf, Cologne, Viersen, Essen and Krefeld. An exciting opening of the 2007/2008 season with Canadian cult company La La La Human Steps attracts an audience of more than 1300 to tanzhaus nrw, which at the same time enters the tenth year of its operation as a theatre and school of dance on Erkrather Straße.  The society decides to change its name from "Die Werkstatt e.V." to tanzhaus nrw e.V. A new logo is created.


On January 25, 2006 it is official: Düsseldorf wins the contract! Under the direction of tanzhaus nrw, the concept Take:off Junger Tanz. Tanzplan Düsseldorf was most convincing. Together with a number of partners from Düsseldorf, the state capital will give sustained impetus to a neglected category over the next five years. tanzhaus nrw continues its international dialogue in the context of Temps D'Images and IDEE (Initiatives in Dance through European Exchange).


Starting from the beginning of this year, tanzhaus nrw is able to distinguish itself as a strong production partner: on the one hand with the coordination of the German producer award (DPC), on the other hand with a multitude of national and international co-productions. With the organisation of the European project COLINA – Collaboration in Arts in August 2005, tanzhaus nrw together with five international partners presses on with the idea of a laboratory at the interface of different art categories.



In the summer of 2004, tanzhaus nrw is for the first time partner in the International Dance Festival (ITF) under the direction of Pina Bausch. And: in February, tanzhaus nrw organizes the 6th Tanzplattform Deutschland, the most important forum for contemporary dance in Germany.


With well-defined programme formats, tanzhaus nrw wants to create a greater understanding of contemporary dance art, amongst others with the highlight series presenting dance companies such as Rosas (BE), Batsheva Dance (ISR) and Marie Chouinard (CA). In the middle of the year tanzhaus nrw celebrates its almost 30-year history during four days.


On the occasion of the dance festival Global Dance – aesthetics of diversity – more than 36 international dance companies and 150 dance experts are invited to Düsseldorf for 10 days.  tanzhaus nrw is commissioned by the World Dance Alliance (WDA) and with special funding by the Ministry of Urban Planning and Housing, Culture and Sports under Dr. Michael Vesper to take charge of the artistic programme. It is also host to the Internationale Tanzmesse NRW.


tanzhaus nrw establishes the series tanzmaxx – für junges Publikum at tanzhaus nrw and thereby focuses on dance for children and youths for the first time. With festivals, guest performances, commissioned productions and workshops for children, youths and teachers it introduces the target groups to a so far neglected art category. The foundation of the young ensemble at tanzhaus nrw (JET) under the direction of choreographer Ulla Geiges meets with great response. Bad news: the education programme European Dance Development Center (EDDC) at tanzhaus nrw must be closed because of a cut in public subsidies, which had come mainly from the Netherlands. The Festival Global Beat is the first successful open air performance by tanzhaus nrw in Düsseldorf’s Altstadt.


The tanzhaus team succeeds in concentrating the original multiform Werkstatt concept with all categories of art on the sector dance and to qualify further with respect to organisation and art contents. The Düsseldorfer Kultursalon is founded that year, which tanzhaus nrw supports to a large extent.  In spring 2000, tanzhaus nrw participates in the International Dance Festival (ITF) under the artistic direction of Marc Jonkers.


The daily professional dance training is started. Tanzhaus nrw offers daily training units for professional dancers in the region, apart from the three-year training programme of the European Dance Development Centers (EDDC). International exchange programmes between tanzhaus nrw and other partners, so-called dance links, start with the Netherlands, later on with Belgium (2001), Great Britain (2003), Switzerland (2004) Austria (2008), Hungary (2010) and Poland (2011/12).


tanzhaus nrw is inaugurated in April 1998 with a grand fortnight’s festival. In the subsequent years, tanzhaus nrw is awarded several prizes for a successful concept with regard to urban development and architecture in an impressively redeveloped tram depot – incidentally the oldest one in Germany! Taking into account the conceptual and spatial changes, the former Werkstatt is renamed tanzhaus nrw – die werkstatt e.V., which calls for a grand topping-out ceremony in 1997. The World Dance Alliance Europe (WDA Europe) is founded, with its seat at the Werkstatt and Bertram Müller as director. A small miracle: the foundation stone of the new house on Erkrather Straße 30 is laid in September 1996 by NRW minister Ilse Brusis, head of the cultural department of the city of Düsseldorf, Hans-Heinrich Grosse-Brockhoff, and the chairman of the cultural committee, Wolfgang Kamper.


In 1996 Düsseldorf city director Jörg Bickenbach and the head of the cultural department Hans-Heinrich Grosse-Brockhoff sign a 60-year leasehold contract with the Werkstatt for a part of the former tram depot on Erkrather Straße in South Flingern. The Werkstatt management succeeds in securing step by step financing for the redevelopment of the tram depot to the amount of 16 million DM: for 80% of the building cost by the state of NRW (Ilse Brusis, then minister for culture and urban development), provided that the city funded 14% and there were 6% own funds. In addition the Düsseldorf employment bureau funded a quota of 20 building workers with 1.2 million DM under the job creation scheme. The Werkstatt as developer in charge begins to restructure the 4000 square metres surface on Erkrather Straße together with architect Jochen Boskamp and to build Germany’s first dance house with six studios, a large stage (327 seats), a small stage (89 seats), a bistro and a theatre foyer with gallery, music stage and gastronomy.


After 15 years, the Werkstatt decides in 1995 not to renew its rental agreement on Börnestraße, amongst other things because of excessive rent demands, and starts looking for another suitable long-term domicile. The European Dance Development Center (EDDC) under the direction of Aat Hougée and Mary Fulkerson is founded in Düsseldorf in 1993 as a cooperation between the Hochschule der Künste und Werkstatt e.V.. The Werkstatt attracts increasing attention as a national multicultural meeting place in NRW. Experts confirm its model character as a site of intercultural exchange and its contribution to the mutual understanding of cultural identities.


Künstlerarchiv Von li.: Volker Canaris und Bertram Müller


December 1991: Jack Lang, French Minister of Cultural Affairs, decorates Bertram Müller, director of Werkstatt e.V., with the coveted order "Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres" for special merits in the promotion of foreign culture and arts and the creation of the exemplary multi-cultural meeting place, the Werkstatt. The first flamenco festival and the first Orientale festival take place in 1990. September 1987: in cooperation with the Düsseldorfer Schauspielhaus (playhouse) the Werkstatt founds the Rheinische Tanz- und Theaterschule (RTT), which teaches two classes with twelve participants each for two and a half years. Stage director Stephan Müller is the first pedagogical manager. 1986/87: After lengthy negotiations, the city of Düsseldorf increases funding in addition to the rent for the Werkstatt in Börnestraße to around 3000,000 DM. 1985: the first extremely successful "Strandtheatertage" with films, international dance and theatre in three tents are organised and staged by the Werkstatt in Düsseldorf’s Rheinpark.


1984: Christoph Honig founds the Werkstatt-Kuku programme for children and youths, forerunner of the Düsseldorf AKKI. The initiative for founding JuTA (Junges Theater in der Altstadt) by Werkstatt staff members Bernd Lohmann, Ernest Martin and Bertram Müller is showing first results. April 1982: "They’ve done it at last" (NRZ)! The Werkstatt on Börnestraße opens its doors to well over 1000 visitors and is declared to be the "Mecca of culture off opera and museum" (Rheinische Post). More than 100 courses per week and more than 200 workshops a year are held in the eight studios. More than 100 performances are put on stage in the small new theatre.


March 1981: new premises for the Werkstatt are found at Börnestraße 10 in Düsseldorf. The city pays the rent for five years to start with. However, funds for the conversion and renovation of the 1500 square metres building, amounting to 3000,000 DM, must be procured. March 1980: The industrial building on Grafenberger Allee 330 is demolished, although the Werkstatt has not yet found a new domicile. June 1979: the Werkstatt festivals, later to become the formula for success, are started - a mix of performances, workshops and communication between artists and non-professionals.


March 1979: Werkstatt e.V. is becoming a member of  Deutscher Paritätischer Wohlfahrtsverband (DPWV), thus being eligible for subsidies from the state of NRW for cultural further education. December 1978: the team of Werkstatt e.V. receives the 1st general cultural award of the city of Essen for exemplary local cultural work and thought-provoking impulses for non-vocational cultural work. June/July 1978: the first Werkstatt summer festival with a varied programme by international theatre groups succeeds in making a broad public aware of quality and alternative concept of the Werkstatt’s work.


January 1978: The non-profit society Die Werkstatt für Tanz, Theater, Malen, Werken und Gestalten (workshop for dance, theatre, painting, handicrafts and design) is founded with the aim of promoting the creativity and inventive personality of non-professionals, their direct encounter with artists and the world’s different cultures. End of 1977: on the initiative of Bertram Müller and some instructors and course participants, debt relief of the old project of the original Werkstatt and a conceptual and organisational new beginning can be achieved. In spite of its growing popularity, the project of the original Werkstatt is getting into existential financial and organisational difficulties. Important staff members and instructors leave the project. The project ends in October 1977.

Mustapha Teddy Addy (Mitte)

1973 and after

The beginnings of the original Werkstatt date back to 1973 when dance instructor Fe Reichelt temporarily established her ballet school in a condemned industrial building at Grafenberger Allee 330. Several artists such as Chris Parker, Robert Solomon, Mustapha Teddy Addy, Winni Berger, Yves leBreton and Magda van Dewalle offered courses, workshops and occasional performances, which Uli Hoffmann and Ulrike Zellmann organised on an honorary basis. Peter Achmed Kreusch, a student of Josef Beuys, designed the series of posters that became typical for the Werkstatt.