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About the project

The CircusDanceFestival is a nationwide flagship project dedicated to making current performative forms and discourses in the field of contemporary circus and dance visible. As a model institution networked throughout Europe, the concept is based on a combination of an annual festival in Cologne, a sector-specific residency and co-production programme, the promotion of youth and young talent, international cooperation between dance and circus universities, the organisation of regular symposia, and the publication of the VOICES magazine for academic discourse.

The CircusDanceFestival was initiated by the company Overhead Project within the framework of the excellence promotion programme TANZPAKT Stadt-Land-Bund. TANZPAKT Stadt-Land-Bund is a joint initiative of municipalities, federal states and the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media to promote excellence in dance.

The project is under the overall artistic direction of the Overhead Project label, which has been internationally active in this field for over ten years. Since 2021, the company has been based at LATIBUL Cologne, a location that offers the necessary infrastructure for the specific genre and is the point of contact for cultural education and outreach.

Close to the borders of France, Belgium and the Netherlands, countries in which contemporary circus, unlike in Germany, has already been recognised and structurally supported for several decades, the CircusDanceFestival is located in Cologne – in the most densely populated federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia.

As an innovative model project, the CircusDanceFestival lays an important foundation for the sustainable structural expansion of the dance and circus sector in Germany. It takes into account the specific spatial and production requirements of this crossover sector, promotes discourse and offers international visibility for the aesthetic forms and structures currently developing in this field in Germany.

Overhead Project

The company Overhead Project is initator of CircusDanceFestival – a TANZPAKT Stadt-Land-Bund Project. Overhead Project stands for performances on the border of contemporary circus and dance – two languages that allow different perspectives on the human body and a multidimensional approach towards space and architecture. The works of the company reflect the stage situation as a place of communication and works on social and political phenomena.

The company, directed by choreographer and circus artist Tim Behren, evolved from an intensive acrobatic-dance duo work with former co-founder Florian Patschovsky. Today the artistic core team exists out of composer Simon Bauer, visual artist Charlotte Ducousso and several longtime, performers, collaborators and thinkers from various fields. Numerous productions and several guest choreographies for municipal theaters with large ensembles have been created. The company received a number of international awards and choreography prizes for its works.

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