About the project

Initiated by the company label Overhead Project, the CircusDanceFestival is conceived as perennial project with nationwide resonance combining festival, genre-specific residencies, co-production programs and the promotion program for young talents Junge Wilde [Young Savages].

The five-day festival with its 3 large circustents constitutes the core of the project. It will take place in the open air area of TPZAK  Zirkus- und Artistikzentrum Cologne. There are various forms of presentation (performances under the big top, co-operations with universities and academies, site-specific and urban interventions, lectures, workshops and research presentations) allowing the broad regional public as well as international professionals to get in touch with the genre.

Accompanying the project for three years, the program Junge Wilde gives regional young talents and groups more visibility and a chance to form a network. Participants in the youth program are chosen prior to the festival and benefit from residencies and artistic coaching. In addition to that, 4 residencies and 2 co-productions are provided each year, aiming at groups producing in or from Germany andoffering them stable production conditions. For the second edition of the festival in 2021, an additional international symposium is scheduled.

Thus, the new „Circus-Dance Festival” in Cologne will be a nation-wide center of excellence for the presentation and production of performances and pieces within the interdisciplinary field of dance and contemporary circus. The project is developed under the overall organizational and artistic direction of the label Overhead Project which has been active in this field for ten years and is internationally established and networked.

TPZAK Zirkus- und Artistikzentrum Köln

The TPZAK Zirkus- und Artistikzentrum Köln [Educational Circus and Artistic Center Cologne, TPZAK] is the main cooperation partner and festival site of the CircusDanceFestival. The institution stands for networking, openness and interdisciplinary projects. The festival is supported by the Theaterpädagogische Zentrum e.V. Köln [Educational Theater Center Cologne]. TPZAK, with its infrastructure of tents and rooms, its vast outdoor area on the premises of the former Riehler outdoor-pool and its professional technical and organizational structure offers the perfect conditions for the 2020 festival edition. TPZAK also presents its own Junge Wilde [‘Young Savages’] program as part of the festival, held in its own tent.


TANZPAKT Stadt-Land-Bund (DANCE PACT Local-Regional-National) is a joint initiative by municipalities, federal states and the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media to promote excellence in dance.

The new funding programme TANZPAKT Stadt-Land-Bund is the result of an intensive dialogue between municipalities that promote dance, federal states and the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media (BKM). This dialogue has been continuously led, prepared and supported since 2012 by a Stadt-Land-Bund initiative group comprising various actors on the dance scene who together developed the conceptual considerations and framework conditions, which were then co-ordinated and approved with city, federal state and federal government representatives.

Funding of EUR 5.625 million to implement a multi-annual programme for the promotion of excellence in dance was released during the parliamentary process to set the German federal budget for 2017. The promotion programme is being managed jointly by the Dachverband Tanz Deutschland (Umbrella Association for Dance in Germany) and the non-profit agency DIEHL+RITTER gUG. A board of trustees is supporting the cultural-political implementation of the programme.

TANZPAKT Stadt-Land-Bund is aimed at established artists, ensembles and production structures with an international reach. It also addresses institutions that are drawing up innovative development concepts that are exceptional from a national standpoint. The aim is to realise substantial projects that contribute to the artistic and structural further development, strengthening and profiling of the art from of dance in Germany.

The cultural-political and structural strengthening of dance at the local and regional level is crucial both for the emergence of substantial projects and improved financing in the long term. A key aspect of the programme is therefore to encourage, through continuous dialogue, the long-term engagement of municipalities and federal states.

TANZPAKT Stadt-Land-Bund supports multi-annual projects that are funded by the federal government and match-funded to at least the same amount by municipalities, federal states and other sponsors if necessary. The promotion programme therefore covers an overall volume of around EUR 10.5 million.

The principle of additionality applies generally to funding. This refers both to project content – developing new work fields and the qualitative further development of existing activities – and finance.