Header Image City Dance Cologne

©Martin Rottenkolber

MOUVOIR/Stephanie Thiersch:
City Dance Cologne

The title of Stephanie Thiersch’s community-dance project refers to the four City Dances that Anna Halprin staged in San Francisco in the 1970s, when it was a hotbed of racial unrest, and which were intended to make it possible to experience dance as both a collective and democratic creative process.

With her City Dances, as well as their predecessor, the City Walks, Halprin became a pioneer of ‘dance as action’ in public space.

While public dances took place regularly in urban spaces in the US, against a backdrop of community movements campaigning for social change, there is no such tradition in Germany. Ideas for a dance community did emerge here at the start of the 20th century, e.g. in Rudolf von Laban’s movement choirs, but the exploitation of mass choreographies by the National Socialists brought this development to an end. Stephanie Thiersch and her company MOUVOIR wished to revisit this development.

The CITY DANCE COLOGNE has emerged in close co-operation with Halprin and was performed as a one-off community performance in central Cologne on 3 September 2016. It took place from sunrise to sunset and integrated musicians, visual artists, dancers, performers and academic/scientific collaborators in a collective working structure.

The ‘art procession’ used a choreographic mapping to create social and cultural links between diverse city districts and thereby created an opportunity to renegotiate topics such as public space and participation in relation to dance.

Working in co-production with the Kölner Philharmonie (Cologne Philharmonic), the Cologne University of Music and Dance, the Academy of Media Arts Cologne and many other artistic partners, Thiersch designed a route in which 10 to 12 interventions passed through, and took place at, different city-centre locations.


Based on an idea by Anna Halprin

Executive artistic director – Stephanie Thiersch
Musical director – Brigitta Muntendorf
Art objects/scenography – Bettina Buck
Choreographic directors – Viviana Escalé and Martin Sonderkamp
Workshops with refugee initiatives – Sunday Israel Akpan
Dramaturgy – Kirsten Maar
Sternenspaziergänge and route design – Frank Dommert and Boris Sieverts/Büro für Städtereisen (Office for City Tours)
Costumes – André Buch
Procession leader – André Erlen
Music – Asasello Quartet: Rostislav Kozhevnikov (violin), Barbara Kuster (violin), Justyna Sliwa (viola), Teemu Myöhänen (cello); Ensemble Garage: Frank Riedel (saxophone), Till Künkler (trombone), Yuka Ohta (percussion); Dj Elephant Power, Holger Mertin, Mariana Sadovska and Mats Thiersch
Dance/choreography – Fabien Almakiewicz, Matteo Ceccarelli, Marika Gangemi, Katharina Kamph, Viivi Keskinen, Moo Kim, Valenti Rocamora I Tora, Katharine Sehnert, Hilke Kluth, Jana Berg, Charlotte Brohmeyer, Jennifer Döring, Maria Golding, Susanne Grau, Salim Ben Mammar, Clara Marie Müller, Karoline Strys, Sven Bande and Tim Weseloh

Students from the Cologne University of Music and Dance (HfMT) and the Academy of Media Arts Cologne (KHM) – Elsa Artmann, Kelvin Burkard, Lisa Bless, Sophie Boße, Samuel Dobernecker, Samuel Duvoisin, Silvia Ehnis, Maximiliano Estudies, Katharina Geyer, Kijong Kim, Sooyeon Kim, Greta Salgado Kudrass, Lena Kunz, Philipp Lack, Jakob Lorenz, Marlena Meier, Yana Novotorova, Hannah Nürnberg, EunJin Park, Michelle Park, Alina Reißmann, Miriam Rieck, Amanda Romero, Constanza Ruiz, Kim Töpfer, Diana Treder and Stefan Weyel
KHM lecturer – Jens Schillmöller
Rheinische Musikschule and Centre for Contemporary Dance (ZZT) lecturer – Rick Kam
HfMT (Studio for Electronic Music) lecturer –  Michael Beil
Morning classes – Dwayne Holliday, Viviana Escalé, Stefan Steinshorn and others

Choirs – deineMaids (rehearsals: Jan Hendrik Hermann), Heimatklänge – Chor der Russlanddeutschen (choir director: Margarita Prinz), O de Cologne (choir director: Thomas Wutke), PolizeiFrauenChor Köln e.V. (choir director: Mariano Galussio), Schwullesbischer Chor Köln (choir director: Jürgen Terhag) and a project choir with HfMT students

Ensembles, orchestra and bands – Das triologische Quartett, Ensemble für Neue Musik der Rheinischen Musikschule (director: Ulla Grümmer), Mutzbacher Alphornbläser – Die Kölner (Simone Pietruschka and Martin Wiemer), Sambateure (director: Maxim Zettel), SBOK – Sinfonisches Blasorchester der Rheinischen Musikschule Köln (director: Christoph Hamborg) and Soulverein

Dance groups and institutions – Baris Dance Company Köln, butohWerkstatt Köln (director: Claudia Maschek Anna Dimpfl), Hop Spot Tanzstudio (Esther & Bernd Chrischilles), House of Melody, Mambo #5 (director: Felicitas Martin), MD Kollektiv, Tänzer*innen der ZAIK Open Session, Pia Neises, Synchronschwimmerinnen der SG WAGO (director: Tatiana Reich) and Tango für alle (director: Viviana Escalé)

Scholars/scientists/lectures/guests – Prof. Bill Dietz, Prof. Dr. Yvonne Hardt, Angie Hiesl, Kay von Keitz, Marco Laufenberg, Jörg Leeser, Gisela von Mutius, Prof. Vera Sander and Gabriele Wittmann

Schools and kindergartens – Elisabeth-von-Thüringen-Gymnasium (co-ordinator: Silke Drägestein), Gymnasium der Stadt Frechen (co-ordinator: Simone Keßler), Humboldt- Gymnasium Köln: Musikzweig/Rheinische Musikschule (co-ordinator: Andrea Tenhagen, Musikzweig director), Patuljak e.V. (co-ordinator: Conny Wiens) and Tanzakademie Rheinische Musikschule Köln (head of the dance department: Rick Kam)

Numerous initiatives and associations – AWO Kreisverband Köln e.V. (Club Westend), Deutsches Rotes Kreuz Köln Betreuungs gGmbH, DRK-Kreisverband Köln e.V., Fliehkraft e.V., Johanniter- Unfall- Hilfe e.V., Regionalverband Köln/Rhein-Erft-Kreis/Leverkusen, Südstadt-Leben e.V. and the Willkommen in der Moselstraße initiative

Press and public relations – neurohr & andrä
Production team – Béla Bisom, Felix Dornseifer, Karolin Henze, Philine Herrlein, Olga Koziluk, Sarah Mitter, Jan Rohwedder, Annika Schröder, Ruth Stern and Anna-Luella Zahner

Sponsors – TANZFONDS ERBE – an initiative of the Federal Cultural Foundation, the Arts Foundation of North Rhine-Westphalia, the Ministry for Family, Children, Youth, Culture and Sport of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, the RheinEnergie Cultural Foundation and the City of Cologne’s Office for Cultural Affairs

Co-operation partners – Claudiustherme, Futur3 Köln, Freihandelszone – ensemblenetzwerk köln, internationale tanzmesse nrw, Kölner Seilbahn, KHM, Oberlandesgericht Köln,, TanzFaktur, VolXbühne – Ensemble der Generationen am Theater an der Ruhr, Mülheim a.d. Ruhr und A.TONAL.THEATER, ZAIK – Zentrum für Austausch und Innovation Köln, and the Contemporary Dance Centre and Studio for Electronic Music at the HfMT



Information on the supporting programme

The trailer is Stephanie Thiersch's/Mouvoir's own production.

Performance Dates
  • 3 September 2016 | Public urban spaces in Cologne
    From sunrise to sunset (6.30am – 6:30pm)
  • 7 May 2017 | Public urban spaces in Cologne – part of the tanz nrw 17 festival – City Dance – A Fragment




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