Yes, the rumours are true, we did go to Tanzmesse in Dusseldorf!
As successful applicants of “Wrapped and Ready”, Ausdance Queensland granted us (Lizzie and Zaimon) with a total stipend of $3000 to support our attendance to Tanzmesse 2018.
What is Tanzmesse?
The International Tanzmesse NRW takes place every two years, generally at the end of August, in Düsseldorf, Germany and is the largest professional gathering dedicated exclusively to contemporary dance. It’s an event that values international cooperation, informal networking, and open mindedness. At the event there are exhibition halls with booths that showcase companies, artists, venues, platforms, and regions. There are debates and information sessions to discuss practical and relevant topics concerning the contemporary dance industry and there is a performance programme that showcases both finished work as well as work in developmental phases.
What did we find good about it?
Tanzmesse was focused on contemporary dance so every conversation had relevance. We didn’t have to sift through other art forms but found we always had something in common. There was a culture of sincere interest in learning and sharing that was really refreshing. It was an event where we were able to engage in deep critical discourse about works, practice, approaches, and modalities. And, having different opinions about things was not seen as a negative but as the means to expand perspective.
Who is it for?
Anyone pursuing a professional contemporary dance making career.
What were the benefits of this type of market aside from selling work?
We broadened our localised understanding of issues affecting and practices influencing the contemporary dance industry to understand them in a more global context.W
We were able to help international artists understand the Australian contemporary dance landscape and this helped us to build relationships with them.
We found other like-minded artists to connect with to discuss contemporary dance works, genres, platforms, issues, and dance practices with. This allowed us the opportunity to start positioning our practice and to understand how and where our work/interests sit within an international context. In turn, enabling us to identify people and platforms to build relevant relationships with for exchange, discussion, presentation, collaboration, problem solving of industry issues in the future. Through networking with others at the event we have been connected to residency opportunities and venues of relevance to the stage of development that we as artists are at, and that align with the values and aims that we have for developing our own work.
It was useful to deconstruct the works that we saw with other artists, producers and presenters at the performances and showings that we saw. Through this we could understand other people’s values and genuinely connect with them.
Some tips for others who are interested to attend Tanzmesse in the future:
Do some research beforehand and have a plan to visit other places/people outside of Tanzmesse too. This way when you’re talking with people at Tanzmesse they will recommend and connect you with more contacts and share more information for you to follow up on.
Stay within walking distance to Tanzmesse so it’s easy to get to everything. The days are long so be prepared for that.
People want to get to know you and your practice before they want to hear about your work. Don’t go into Tanzmesse with a hard sell.
Book your tickets to events really early to be able to get to see what you want to – they book out super quick. We booked three months in advance and still missed out on a couple of shows.
Meet up with the other Australian representatives and share information about each other so that you can network for them and they can network for you.
If you’re in town early, it’s worthwhile attending the pre-cursor social events as they are a relaxed way to start to get to know people.
Have lots of business cards and make sure you get the business cards of the people that you connect with. It’s also a good idea to write a bit about your meeting or what was memorable about the person on their card, so that when you get to the end of Tanzmesse and look back at all the contacts that you’ve made, you can remember who was who, and what conversation you had. Then you can follow up on that conversation with them.