The Cologne Culture Prize in the category "Young Initiative" goes to CircusDanceFestival

Once a year, the Cologne Cultural Council awards the Cologne Culture Prize. On May 14th, the award ceremony took place for the 14th time, where Cologne's creative artists are honoured for their commitment and work. This year, the prize in the category "Young Initiative" went to the CircusDanceFestival. We are happy and grateful for this honour and the attention given to contemporary circus in Cologne's cultural landscape. One day before the opening of this year's festival, this was a great start to the festival days and a great appreciation of our work. Thank you very much!

A big thank you goes to the entire festival team, our cooperation partners, the sponsors, the Cologne Cultural Council, the artists who bring the festival to life and everyone who is committed to and enthusiastic about contemporary circus.

We congratulate all the winners and nominees of the evening for their great work and are proud to be part of this diverse scene.

Festival programme 2024: ticket sales have started

„Re-Inventing Circus“
Contemporary Circus between heritage and renewal

Under the title "Re-Inventing Circus", the Cologne CircusDanceFestival dedicates its current festival edition to contemporary circus between heritage and renewal and discusses the understanding of circus in terms of tradition and experimentation. From 16 to 20 May 2024, internationally outstanding works of contemporary circus will be shown open air on the LATIBUL site, directly on the banks of the Rhine in the north of Cologne. Under others, the two German premieres "Glorious Bodies" by the company Circumstances by Belgian circus artist and choreographer Piet Van Dycke and "A spectacle of herself" by British circus performer Laura Murphy, as well as "Blueprint", the new creation by the hosting company Overhead Project from Cologne. There will also be a film programme in the open-air cinema with the support of ARTE, daily free concerts and an evening discussion programme. On Whit Sunday, the "LATIBUL CircusGarden" will be held for the first time - a day for the whole family by and with the LATIBUL team. The complete programme of the CircusDanceFestival 2024 is now available on the festival website. Ticket sales have started and are available here and at Rausgegangen.

Here you find the program

Greeting word Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media Claudia Roth

  • ©Bündnis 90/Die Grünen Bundestagsfraktion / Kaminski
    ©Bündnis 90/Die Grünen Bundestagsfraktion / Kaminski

Dear Mr Behren
Dear guests of honour,
dear artists
dear friends of the contemporary circus!

Being able to look and marvel - that's all you need to enter the fascinating world of contemporary circus. Even if the issues at stake are sometimes serious and socially controversial: The circus arts bring them to the stage not only in an innovative, but also in an emotionally moving and therefore very catchy way.

The CircusDanceFestival celebrates the artistic diversity of experimental circus and dance forms. With its colourful programme, it is a nationally and internationally renowned flagship project that provides important impetus for their further development. I am delighted that the Federal Culture Budget has played its part in the creation of the CircusDanceFestival as part of the TANZPAKT Stadt-Land-Bund funding programme. Of course, my organisation is also very happy to support this year's edition of the festival.

For a year now, circus has been part of Germany's intangible cultural heritage as a separate form of performing art - and rightly so. The festival proves this again this year with its fascinating performances and inspiring discussions. Last year, for the first time, a theatre that provides a great stage for contemporary circus was honoured at the award ceremony for the Federal Theatre Prize: The Chamäleon Theatre Berlin.

This shows how much artistic and social potential circus art has and that it deserves much more appreciation - also in the form of support measures. This is where the federal states and local authorities are particularly called upon. The state of North Rhine-Westphalia and the city of Cologne are pioneers when it comes to establishing contemporary circus as a sector.

I would like to thank all those involved, both in front of and behind the scenes, who work with so much energy, creativity and passion to ensure that the magic can unfold, and wish you, dear festival visitors, a moving circus experience.

Word of greeting by Lord mayor of the city of Cologne Henriette Reker

Dear guests of CircusDanceFestival,

For more than ten years, artists from Cologne have set out to establish the new circus as an interdisciplinary, contemporary art form in Germany. Since then, Cologne has been one of the nuclei of the renewal of the circus genre and has contributed to the fact that progressive circus forms in the production and performance centres throughout Germany are now among the most innovative stage productions in the performing arts.
One of the driving forces behind this development is undoubtedly the CircusDanceFestival, created by the Cologne-based group Overhead Project, which has now caused a sensation for the third time with its unique combination of contemporary circus and dance, presenting exciting new stage art to audiences.
Many thanks to the festival organisers for their great commitment and passionate realisation of this extraordinary cultural event!
I wish you inspiring and eventful festival days!
Henriette Reker
Lord Mayor of the City of Cologne

Call for volunteers

  • ©Franziska Schardt
    ©Franziska Schardt

CircusDanceFestival in Cologne, May 16-20, 2024

For this year's CircusDanceFestival, under the theme "Re-Inventing Circus", we are looking for volunteers to help with set-up and dismantling, artist support, bar, box office and entrance. As part of the team, you will get a glimpse behind the scenes of the festival and have the opportunity to get up close and personal. Catering will be provided during your time on site.

More Information here.

We look forward to welcoming you!

Save the date: 16. - 20. May 2024

From 16 - 20 May 2024, the CircusDanceFestival will once again open its doors on the Latibul site and make way for 5 days of contemporary circus, dance and performances. You can expect an exciting programme of discussions, concerts, performances and film evenings.
From the end of March, you will find the current programme here on our website.

Open Call: ArchiveLab

CircusDanceFestival is happily announcing their new project. ArchiveLab is an artistic-reflexive research laboratory for dance and circus students and/or practitioners, especially Master's students. The laboratory will take place between May 13th and 18th 2024, in Cologne, in the frame of CircusDanceFestival, in collaboration with Deutsches Tanzarchiv Köln.

The ArchiveLab is led by Dr. Mirjam Hildbrand and Dr. des. Johanna Hilari, both Dramaturges and Dance/Theatre Researchers from Switzerland. They bring vast experience in interweaving methods and methodologies of critical theory with artistic practices and processes.

The Open Call you can find here.

We are looking forward to your application!

Nach dem Festival

A wonderful CircusDanceFestival 2023 is behind us. After the dismantling and a few days of summer sleep, we are still full of this inspiring festival experience with all the performances, films, parties, talks and encounters. It was a lot of fun! We want to say a big thank you to everyone who contributed in so many ways to make this festival happen!

Here you can browse through the program 2023 again.
For some visual impressions, please have a look at our archive.
The CDFthek is also happy to provide you with exciting input on the topics of contemporary circus and dance, e.g. with films, talks or articles.

We are going on summer break.

A nice time wishes the CircusDanceFestival-Team

Open Call: Awareness Team

We are looking for German speaking people who would like to support us as part of the awareness team at the CircusDanceFestival. The assignment days are from May 24 to 29, 2023 at the festival site in Cologne Riehl and will be compensated. All further information can be found in our Open Call (only available in German).
You are also welcome to take a look at our awareness concept, which we are currently revising together with the Initiative Feministischer Circus (IFC).

Open Call: Support at the Festival

We are looking for helping hands who would like to support us during the festival period from May 20 to 29 in the areas of box office, admission, bar or artist:inside support. If you are interested, please contact us at Here you can find more information.

Press Announcement for CircusDanceFestival 2023

From May 20 to 29, 2023, the 4th edition of CircusDanceFestival will take place in Cologne. Contemporary circus meets contemporary dance: that is the basic constant of this model project initiated in 2019 by the company Overhead Project as part of the TANZPAKT Stadt-Land-Bund excellence funding. In 2023, the CircusDanceFestival will be funded as an individual project by the German Federal Cultural Foundation, Kulturstiftung des Bundes. Curated once again by the Cologne circus artist and choreographer Tim Behren, this edition places the body at the center of social negotiations. It is about the political body, our relationship to human and non-human bodies, our relation to architectures and our physical environment.

The diverse stage program of this year's festival, with 23 different international works and a total of 34 performances, will be accompanied by panel discussions, film evenings, concert performances and festival parties, among other events. Feminist circus perspectives and interdisciplinary explorations around "grotesque" bodies reflect on the historical and colonial legacy of the circus. The VOICES magazine with the focus "Re-exploring grotesque bodies - circus perspectives on diverse bodies" accompanies the CircusDanceFestival and is already published by Verlag Theater der Zeit at the beginning of May.

What's special this year: to kick off the festival on the weekend before Whitsun, Contemporary Circus for all will be coming to town on May 20 and 21. For free and outside around the Haus der Architektur on the Joseph-Haubrich-Hof the CircusDanceFestival celebrates an extraordinary encounter of architecture, body, acrobatics and dance in public space.

From Wednesday, May 24, the festival grounds at An der Schanz in the north of Cologne will host the multifaceted world of international contemporary circus and dance until Whit Monday (May 29).

Detailed information on the festival program and the opportunity to purchase tickets will be available here on the festival homepage from the beginning of April 2023.

Open Call: Work Experience 2023

For the period from April 3rd - June 30th 2023 we are looking for an intern who would like to organise a fantastic CircusDanceFestival 2023 with our production team!

More Info (only in DE)

Open Call: Circus, Film & Digitality

The CircusDanceFestival is looking for film contributions for the open air cinema program on the one hand, and research or artistic works that deal with the interface between contemporary circus, new technologies and digitality on the other hand.

Applications can be sent in until Monday, December 5th.

Further information

Open Call: Circus & Dance 360°

The CircusDanceFestival is looking for body-intensive short pieces at the artistic interface between contemporary circus and dance. These are to be shown on the 360° open air stage (with air truss) as part of the CircusDanceFestival 2023.

Applications can be sent in until Monday, December the 5th.

Further information

Open Call: Performers for the Young-Savages-Ensemble KoEFFEKT

We are looking for young people from a performing arts field (dance, circus, drama etc.) for the ensemble KoEFFEKT. The ensemble will create a piece that dares to combine contemporary circus and contemporary dance. Literary works by the author Haruki Murakami will serve as the inspiration for this year's KoEFFEKT production.

KoEFFEKT represents an annually changing ensemble under an existing name. The production as well as the rehearsals will run under the direction of Tanja Manderfeld and Tim Plegge. This work is a part of the support project of the youth and young talent section Young Savages.

A Work In Progress Showing will take place before the premiere at the CircusDanceFestival 2023. A performance opportunity is also the festival Zeit für Zirkus, the German cooperation partner of the international Nuit du Cirque.

For more information and to register for auditions on Nov. 5 and 6 between 10 am and 5 pm, click here.

Zeit für Zirkus in Cologne

Between November 11 and 13, the nationwide festival Zeit für Zirkus, the German counterpart to the French Nuit du Cirque, takes place. In Cologne, you can even experience circus for a whole week at numerous venues. The CircusDanceFestival is also participating in this with two film evenings and one show:

On November 7 at 5 p.m., we will show three film portraits on French circus artist Chloé Moglia, the Cologne collective Raum für Zirkus and Swiss Julian Vogel in the Filmforum NRW at Museum Ludwig.

On November 12 at 5 p.m., you can see two films, one about computer scientist and juggler Adrien Mondot and sculptor Claire Bardainne, and the other about French-based artist Claudio Stellato at Filmhaus Köln.

On both evenings, Tim Behren and Jenny Patschovsky will introduce the art form of contemporary circus and give an insight into the young publication "Circus in Flux", which they have published with the publisher Theater der Zeit.

On November 10 at 2 pm + on November 12 at 1 pm you can experience the juggler Benjamin Richter with "Taktil" at the Haus der Architektur.

We invite you to have a look at the Zeit für Zirkus website for further information on the programme in Cologne and other German cities.

Upcoming Autumn Residencies

In October and November the CircusDanceFestival invites the artists Marija Baranauskaité, Ting Kuan Zhao and the make a move collective to Cologne. For a period of one week each they can dedicate themselves to their current projects, develop (further) artistically and experiment with where they want to go with their project.

We are already very happy to welcome the three artists and hope for a creative time!

Here you have an insight into former residencies.

Open Call: Autumn residencies

As part of the residency program, the CircusDanceFestival invites applications for two rehearsal residencies in Cologne for fall 2022. The call is aimed at professional artists and companies working at the interface of contemporary circus and dance. Submissions from related fields such as physical theater, puppet theater or performance art are also possible.

Further information and application formalities

Now published: Circus in flux

Workbook Theater der Zeit | Can be purchased now!

Over the past fifty years, the circus has undergone a remarkable transformation. Progressive circus forms have gained a new position within society internationally as "contemporary circus." The workbook is dedicated to this still young circus form and presents analyses, interviews, commentaries, extensive photographic material and artistic positions of international and German circus artists. With the additional special insert of the VOICES magazine "Re-thinking objects" the book dives deep into the current circus-aesthetic discourse on new materialisms and also takes up the connections to contemporary dance.

To order

To the VOICES III magazine "Re-thinking objects

Recap of an exiting CircusDanceFestival 2022

We are overwhelmed by the CircusDanceFestival 2022! For the first time the festival could take place live and on site.
On the festival grounds on the banks of the Rhine we had intense and playful performances, discussion-rich film evenings, talks and workshops as well as exuberant silent parties.
A big thank you for this common and inspiring time goes to all artists and companies, technicians, supporters and the team. And of course to our new audience, who came to the festival in such large numbers for the first time.
Our festival photographer has accompanied the 5 days and captured many beautiful moments. You can find these and an aftermovie from our festival filmmaker on our impressions page.
In the CDFthek the festival continues digitally, with the documentaries shown for the first time, the artist-talks and the new VOICES magazine "Re-thinking objects".

Support wanted: CircusDanceFestival in Cologne June 2 - 6, 2022

On the long Whitsun weekend of 2022, the CircusDanceFestival will finally be able to take place live in Cologne, with a select program of pieces that move in the realm of contemporary circus, dance and performance. In order to make this possible, we are looking for volunteers to help out on site as stand-ins, in the shift team for the bar, in looking after the artists or in designing the grounds. So if you feel like getting involved and helping to put on an unusual Cologne festival for five days with a big team, you've come to the right place. You can find all the information in the attached PDF.

Support PDF

CircusDanceFestival 2022 program online

The Cologne TANZPAKT project CircusDanceFestival is in the starting blocks for the 2022 edition.
The body and its relationships to space, objects and architecture, as well as a look at the political body that frees itself from common attributions, are the focus of this year's festival program.

With more than 20 artistic positions in the form of performances in the circus tent, site-specific performances, performative exhibitions, and an evening film program in the open-air cinema, the CircusDanceFestival invites you for five days to discover artists:inside who present the experimental field of contemporary circus forms as well as highly physical forms of dance and performance.

To the program

Tabori Award for Overhead Project

The expert jury of the Performing Arts Fund awards the Tabori Award 2022, endowed with 15,000 euros, to Overhead Project. The award honors a unique signature of the fusion of contemporary dance and contemporary circus, which creates a performative language of its own that makes a special contribution to both establishing and communicating the formats and their differentiated thematic worlds.
The Tabori Prize is the highest award for the independent performing arts in Germany. In addition to this, the jury awards three prizes. In doing so, it reacts to current developments and honors experimental, courageous formats by artists and groups who have convinced through a unique upcoming or through continuous developments of an experimental format.
On May 25, 2022, the Fonds Darstellende Künste will present the Tabori Prize and the Tabori Awards for the thirteenth time in a hybrid award ceremony at HAU Hebbel am Ufer and online in a live stream in the presence of the Minister of State for Culture Claudia Roth.

To the Tabori Awards 2022

Further event information

Publication preview: Circus in flux

Workbook Theater der Zeit | To be published in July 2022

Over the past fifty years, the circus has undergone a remarkable transformation. Progressive circus forms have gained a new position within society internationally as "contemporary circus." The workbook is dedicated to this still young circus form and presents analyses, interviews, commentaries, extensive photographic material and artistic positions of international and German circus artists. With the additional special insert of the VOICES magazine "Re-thinking objects" the book dives deep into the current circus-aesthetic discourse on new materialisms and also takes up the connections to contemporary dance.

To the publication preview

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