The Live Legacy Project seeks to share the practices and techniques sprouted by the 1960s American avant-garde and that migrated to Germany, often through the Dutch institutions (e.g. School for New Dance Development and European Dance Development School).  The project reveals these revolutionary influences in German Contemporary Dance training, and highlights the visibility of such corporeal values in choreographic work and practice.   What exactly are these embodied philosophies, and what kinds of cultural shifts have been enabled by their transmission?



Dear friends, colleagues, guests and symposium participants,

When I started to write this curatorial text I was sitting on a train, on my way back home, wondering about how ‘Judson’, and its legacies have left an imprint on my professional life. My memory went back to 1989, I had just finished my studies at the Escola Superior de Dança in Lisbon. I felt empty and disconnected. I had acquired the ability to perform a variety of dance styles, but my intuition was telling me that I needed ‘something else’, which I could not find the right words to describe. All I knew, that it was ‘something’ beyond my muscle effort and the accumulation of dance techniques in my dancer’s repertoire. I heard about a school that was about to open in Holland, in Arnhem, and I went. It was a shock. It took me three months to understand, that what I had missed, was to listen and to understand my ‘unknown’ body. The Live Legacy Project was initiated with the wish to give credit to those, who with their visions — as directors of institutions, dance educators and internationally recognized artists — were major in the creation of the correspondences this project attempts to bring attention to, and to their valid contributions towards the development of experimental dance and choreography in Europe and worldwide. The research for the project started in 2012 and went on in Summer 2013, with visits of German dance archives and interviews with key figures in Germany, the Netherlands and the USA. We hoped to unearth and feature a maximum number of correspondences and lineages. However, we quickly realized that this was too much of a task, and that we could not dare attempt to write an anthology of dance history since the 1960s. Instead we decided to shine light on selected personal and artistic archives, as well as on independent organizations, and dance institutions, whose documentation have become available to us.

Curatorial decisions were impacted by the way our guests – most of whom have directed, taught and/or studied at the School for New Dance Development (SNDO) or/and at the European Dance Development Center (EDDC) – have created professional relationships throughout the years. The interviews themselves were focused not only on how ‘Judson’ dance techniques, methods and philosophies migrated to Germany, but in what social, philosophical and political context they have emerged and landed in the late 20th century. During this period of research, tanzhaus nrw celebrated its own history with the publishing of ‘das tanzhaus nrw, Von der Utopie zum Modell für die Zukunft / From Utopia to a Model for the Future’, which honored the influences of the many artists and teachers who have worked there. In this volume, writers discuss ways that the artist body is perceived and acknowledged as social phenomena, ‘the private was public, the public was personal, the personal was political’.1

The core of this symposium focuses on movement practice. We move into reflection, move while thinking, and think while moving. The workshops highlight the decades of research of significant artists and educations. The dyads, lectures, round tables and open labs are proposals towards embodied conversations about personal and professional stories, their live legacies and visions of ‘Inventing Futures.’2 2Corresponding events provide the opportunity to venture towards the unknown, to take risks and to be taken by surprise. Evening performances and events give us the opportunity to experience artistic processes, mutual correspondences and critical approaches to choreography. And finally, we are very proud and honored to host The Underscore, „a multi-phase structure for improvised dance“ developed and facilitated by Nancy Stark Smith. The symposium exhibition ‘going into contact, a permeable spiral installation’ is a collaboration with Dieter Heitkamp, and where research materials, texts, photos, video and audio documentation from The Live Legacy Project can be found.

We are very aware that this symposium does not cover all artists and institutions that should be part of this project. But we hope that we together we can plant a fertile seed for further communication. We see this symposium as an invitation, so please share your information and knowledge with us. It is with immense pleasure that we welcome you to this event.

Angela Guerreiro, Project Director

[1] Dorothee Schackow in her article ‚tanzhaus-Akademie’, pag.62, das tanzhaus nrw‚ Von der Utopie zum Modell für die Zukunft / From Utopia to a Model for the Future, Johannes Odenthal, Theater der Zeit, 2013

[2]  João da Silva, Inventing futures, Doing and thinking artistic research with(in) the Master of Choreography programme of ArtEZ Intitute of the Arts, the Netherlands, ArtEZ Press, 2014




The Live Legacy Project would not have been possible without the interviews we made with Aat Hougee, Bertram Müller and Mary O’Donnell at tanzhaus nrw, Düsseldorf, 2012. In 2013 we pursued our research in Germany with Dieter Heitkamp, Agnés Benoit, Ka Rustler, Gisela Müller, Ludger Orlok and Sasha Waltz.  We thank Monica Duncan for the video of the conversation between Stephanie Maher and Peter Pleyer in Stolzenhagen. In Freiburg we interviewed Bernd Ka und Lilo Stahl (bewegungs-art, Freiburg), Barbara Stahlberg and Anna Garms (Dance Vision Institute), Benno Enderlein, Eckhard Müller (International Contact Improvisation Festival Freiburg), and Nita Little. In Amsterdam we spent beautiful sunny days with Pauline de Groot and Trude Cone. In the USA, we met K. J. Holmes in New York, Manfred Fischbeck and Brigitta Herrmann in Philadelphia, and Simone Forti in Los Angeles. In San Francisco we interviewed Keith Hennessy, Scott Wells, and Sara Shelton Mann.  We interviewed John Lefan at the legendary studio were Mangrove used to perform. We were honored to meet Anna Halprin at her beautiful home and lay on her deck surrounded by the redwoods trees. We thank Irmela Kästner und Barbara Schmidt Rohr (Tanzinitiative Hamburg) in Hamburg. We are grateful to Andrea Keiz for the video of the conversation between Peter Pleyer and Meg Stuart in Berlin, 2014.


Further thanks to: Dani Schwartz, Lisa Nelson, Eva Karczag, Thomas Lehmen, Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen, Erin Read, Helmut Gottschild, Nina Martin and Veronika Blumstein. We thank Andrew Wass, Kelly Dalrymple-Wass, Henrique Antão, for their interview transcriptions. California State University San Marcos provided additional funding support through professional development grants.

Special thanks to: Bettina Masuch and the tanzhaus nrw team.

We also would like to thank TANZFONDS ERBE (Madeline Ritter and Ingo Diehl) and the German Federal Cultural Foundation (Hortensia Völckers and Alexander Farenholtz) for such an initiative, which we are so proud to be part of.

 The Live Legacy Project celebrates this movement by bringing together choreographers, dance artists, scholars, and educators, to converge in a six-day symposium.  They will share their movement practices and stories through intensive workshops, live dyad conversations, round table discussions, and performances. This project is primarily funded by TANZFONDS ERBE, which focuses specifically on German dance heritage.  We are fortunate to have the opportunity to host so many influential international people.  Come to tanzhaus nrw in Düsseldorf and join us for this landmark event.



During the 1950s, a new direction in contemporary dance emerged in the United States. Shifting away from the traditions of Modern Dance, Merce Cunningham and Anna Halprin catapulted dancemaking for the next generation of pioneers. With investigations in collaboration and space, and attunement to self-discovery, the natural environment, and rituals of daily tasks respectively, these artists’ interests converged to inspire the Judson Dance Theater (Judson) experiments of the early 1960s. Judson can be considered a movement that extends beyond the series of performances that occurred between 1962-1964 at Judson Memorial Church, a known safe haven for social justice in Greenwich Village. The works by Judson artists, and other related choreographers and multi-disciplinary artists, radically influenced dance practices, the emergence of new forms (such as contact improvisation), and the development of innovative models for dance education internationally. In this way, we appreciate Judson as an “elusive zeitgeist”[1] that sparked a dance revolution.

The Live Legacy Project is one among many international artists and curators engaged in an ongoing consideration of the work of Judson. Our application for the TanzFonds Erbe grant in Fall 2012 occurred simultaneously with the launch of the 50th anniversary of Judson and PLATFORM 12: JUDSON NOW, a fantastic series of discussions and performances, curated by Danspace Project in New York City. As Judy Hussie-Taylor, Curator and Executive Director stated in the subsequent publication JUDSON NOW, The Live Legacy Project also“doesn’t provide a unified narrative because there isn’t one.”[2] Instead, we envision this project as a celebration of a fairly unattended subject of German dance history. We hope the project will be a generator of numerous projects concerning and surrounding the topic.

We bring curiosity to this subject of inquiry with questions such as: What is the impact of Judson as a movement in Germany? How and when did particular embodied theories, methods, and ethics migrate to Germany? Who are the choreographers, dancers, artists and teachers that can be identified as the bridge for this transaction? In what ways was the exchange reciprocal or not? How is this artistic movement socially and politically relevant to current aesthetic trends and Contemporary Dance in Germany? How does a discussion nationalism complicate or disturb the subject? What are the implications of project when framed a part of the history of American-German freundschaft? In what ways does Contemporary Dance become articulated internationally?

The personal is political.[3] I am grateful to Angela for the invitation to collaborate on this project. Angela and I met one another in 1989 as students at the European Dance Development Center (EDDC), where we underwent radical changes in ourselves and perceptions of what dance could be. We were roommates, created meals together, and discussed our discoveries, especially in relation to cultural identity.

Please bring your stories, incite questions, generate conversations, and ”share the dance.“[4] Thank you for coming, making the time in your lives, and traveling the distance to be here, LIVE.

Karen Schaffman, Project Collaborator

[1] Borrowed from Yvonne Rainer, from the program notes for Past/Forward by White Oak Dance Project at Zellerbach Auditorium, University of California, Berkeley, November 1, 2000.

[2] Judy Hussie-Taylor. “Sanctuary” in Dancespace Project Platform 2012: JUDSON NOW, ed. by Judy Hussie-Taylor and Jenn Joy. Danspace Project: New York (2012), pp. 11-15.

[3] Credo emerged from 2nd wave North American feminism.

[4] Term borrowed from Cynthia Novack’s landmark Sharing the Dance: Contact Improvisation and American Culture (1990, University of Wisconsin Press).








The Live Legacy Project research team thanks to: Nicole Beutler, NBprojects (A dialogue with Lucinda Childs), Scott Wells (Keriac’s Last Dance), Anna Halprin (Ceremony of Us), Ines Vera Heckmann, Eckhard Müller and Martin Zeidler (BLACK FOREST Contact Jam 1996-2005),Trisha Brown Dance Company, Worldwide Representation for the Lucinda Childs Dance Company: Pomegranate Arts, Nicole Beutler (NBprojects), Fales Library New York, Walker Arts Center, Bennington College Dance Archives and the Bennington College Judson Project, organizers, Wendy Perron and Tony Carruthers (The Judson Project: interviews with Trisha Brown, Alex Hay, Robert Rauschenberg, Carolee Schneeman, Simone Forti and Steve Paxton, 1981).  We thank Lucas Marten, a Bennington student for the video files digitalization. Florence Corin and Baptiste Andrien (Contredans). João da Silva for the digital copies of the CNDO Archives (ArtEZ holds the copyright on behalf of the authors). Peter Hulton and © Arts Documentation Unit. Exeter, UK. Andrè Lepecki, Thomas Kampe, Tamalpa Germany (Petra Eischeid, Frank Hediger, Katrin Stelter), Jorg Hassmann (Contact meets Contemporary), Nancy Stark Smith (Contact Quarterly), Sara Wookey, Dieter Heitkamp – Global Contact Improvisation Archive (contactencyclopedia D / Contact Quarterly USA) and Motion Bank (A research project of The Forsythe Company).


The Live Legacy assistants Henrique Antão, Stèphanie Auberville, Jana Berg, Anya Cloud, Shelley Etkin, Teresa Hoffmann, Maria Elvira Machado, Katja Mustonen, Susana Oesterlin, Kylie Phillips, Kristianne R. Salcines, Lucie Schroeder, Margaret Sunghe Paek & Andrew Wass.

And the field studies under the Releasing Writing workshop Domenika Willinek, Hanna Sistek, Lydia Müller, Nicole Hartmann, Romain Thibaut Rose & Sylvia Scheidl.

Our special thanks to our family and friends for their love and support | unser besonderer Dank gilt unseren Familien und Freunden für ihre Liebe und Unterstützung: Gali Goldwaser, Christoph Wilms, Noah Guerreiro Lorenzen, Guy Calaf, Kristen White, Ines Vera Heckmann, Claude Jansen, Kathrin Pollow, Maria & Bernd Pollow.