Since his youth, the passion for dance has led Dhélé Tchekpo Agbetou to many different countries and cultures of contemporary and urban dance styles. He has since developed into a versatile dancer, choreographer and mediator. His artistic side is closely coupled with social and political commitment - especially in his homeland, Ostwestfalen-
Lippe, which he links with the whole world.
After training in stage dance and dance pedagogy at the "Dansart Tanznetworks" Bielefeld, Dhélé went to the "Centre du Jazz Rick Odums" Paris, France, and then contemporary dance led him to the "Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company (KCDC)" Israel.
Due to his talent across dance styles, he was recognized as part of various companies and crews, including "Armstrong Jazz Ballet Paris", "Hype N Spice Hip-Hop Company Paris", "Company Moritz Ostruschnjak" Munich, and "Company Frederik Rydman" Sweden. He also danced in engagements in his home country, especially with "Tchekpo Dance Company" Bielefeld and "Samadhyana Company" Essen. With the choreographer Simone Sandroni he performed two years for the City Theater Bielefeld.
As a solo artist, Dhélé is in demand internationally, as in Europe, Japan, USA and South Africa. He shares his performance art and transdisciplinary experiences from then on. He passes these on as a lecturer, facilitator and performer. His unique style is based on contemporary dance techniques and intertwines with hip hop (hype), waving, isolations, floorwork, African dance, Afro jazz and footwork (house, Chicago footwork).
In 2011 Dhélé founded his own dance crew "Wake up OWL" (Youngcompany) and thus a movement for the region OstWestfalen-Lippe. This was joined in 2017 by the "Urban Stylez Festival" with workshops, battles, performances, jam sessions and panel discussions. This dance style-diverse platform for international exchange, which has since taken place annually under his artistic direction in Bielefeld, was successfully expanded to Berlin in 2021 and to Israel in 2022.
Due to his dance career and social commitment, Dhélé was awarded the cultural prize of the city of Bielefeld in 2021. As the youngest council member of the Dachverband Tanz, he is committed to the expansion of sustainable and future-proof structures in the urban dance world.
Anika Bendel is a freelance dancer and producer in Stuttgart and Cologne. She works with emerging artists and established companies such as MOUVOIR/Stephanie Thiersch, DIN A 13 tanzcompany, MIRA performance, Helena Waldmann and others. What drives me is the desire to bring dance and the people who practice and facilitate it more into the center of society. For me, this includes more visibility and accessibility of dance events, and especially the improvement of the social situation of dance practitioners.
I bring the perspective of dancers and cultural producers into the work of the umbrella organization. With dancersconnect, I have an agile network of dancers behind me, which comprehensively represents the different creative contexts - fixed and free - and the internationality of our industry. I stand up for a young generation of committed artists who are fully determined to participate in cultural policy.
Margrit Bischof is committed to a versatile networking of research, education and art in dance. She is enthusiastic about a lively dance art scene as well as about the intangible cultural heritage of dance. She was a lecturer for dance at the University of Bern and created the university continuing education program DAS/MAS TanzKultur. As director of studies from 2002-2015, she built up an international network and gained deep insight and understanding for the diversity of dance cultures. She published in the field of dance education, dance research, dance education. She was president of the German speaking commission for theater and dance of the canton of Bern. She has been associated with the Society for Dance Research since its foundation in the 1980s and was 1st chair from 2015-2019. She contributed to the establishment of the project kulturerbe,tanz! and presided over the commission from 2017-2021, a project that was awarded a prize by Kulturerbe Tanz Schweiz by the BAK (Federal Office of Culture) in 2018.
In the German Dance Association, she is committed to more visibility of dance knowledge in the interaction of dance science, dance archives and dance journalism and would like to promote the educational aspect in dance more. The further development of the Ethics Committee has become a matter of the heart for her.
Sabine Gehm is artistic director of the international festival TANZ Bremen, freelance curator, dramaturge and cultural manager. Decades of work in various cities, projects and constellations in the field of dance and performance provided me with a wealth of experience in many respects, which I would like to contribute to the umbrella organization.
Due to my program research in Germany and abroad, my international networks, and through my several years of voluntary work as chair of the board of trustees of the Fonds Darstellende Künste (Performing Arts Fund), I am constantly gaining up-to-date insights into the national and international dance work of artists. In addition, as a long-time festival director, curator, coordinator, project manager, jury member, applicant and consultant, I am familiar with the day-to-day work of performing arts projects from a variety of perspectives. Especially as an artistic director, I see myself as a host not only for invited artists or speakers, but also for spectators or participants, as well as a mediator or moderator between art, politics and the public.
Nina Hümpel has been the editor of www.tanznetz.de, an internet community for artistic stage dance in the German-speaking world, since 1996. Since 2012 she has been the Artistic Director of the Biennale DANCE, the International Festival for Contemporary Dance of the State Capital Munich, Germany.
Nina Hümpel was a jury member of the Bavarian State Association for Contemporary Dance, the Dance Jury of the City of Munich and the Jury for the Cultural Honorary Award of the City of Munich as well as a jury member of the Fund for Performing Arts in Berlin, for the program Kreativtransfer and for the German Dance Award of the Dachverband Tanz Deutschland. She is a member of the initiative Access to Dance - Tanzplan München, which is committed to improving access for contemporary dance in the city with a wide-ranging network.
As a founding and board member of Tanz.Media, she would like to strengthen her commitment to the future of dance journalism and dance archives in the digital space within the Dachverband Tanz Deutschland. Likewise, her focus is on ethical and climate-friendly curating in an international context. Her credo for the board, however, is to always keep dance as a whole in mind. Only through cohesion can this unique art of dance receive the recognition it deserves in society as a whole.
Helge Letonja is a choreographer, festival and project developer, dance producer, organizer, and lecturer, and has been the artistic director and managing director of steptext dance project Bremen for over 20 years. After his training in classical and contemporary dance, his international career as a dancer took him to the Bremen Tanztheater with Susanne Linke, among others. There he founded steptext in 1996 as a freelance company and has since choreographed around 40 dance pieces presented in Germany and abroad. In 2003 he was one of the concept developers and founders of the Schwankhalle Bremen. He is involved in a wide range of institutional and artistic collaborations for the regional and international development of dance, opening it up as a mediator of cultural diversity, social participation, interdisciplinary art and research. His activities include: 2005-10 concept and direction of the "independent companies" section of the Norddeutsche Tanztreffen - Tanzplan Bremen in whose context the festival Xtra Frei, continued 2011-12 with the ballet of the Hanover State Opera. 2009-11 the EU-project KoresponDance Europe, 2011-12 the European-West African training and production project HOME 52° 30' N 13° 23' E ELEV 37 m, 2014 the foundation of the festival AFRICTIONS - CAPTURED BY DANCE, organized with numerous partners in three cities nationwide, with over 100 artists_ from the African continent. Since 2015 collaboration with the University of Applied Sciences Bremen, founding member of the Tanzinitiative Bremen, since 2016 Bremen transnational project SEHNSUCHT EUROPA and currently the project THE CHOREONAUTS - artistic relations between Europe and Africa within the framework of the fund TURN. He is also active as a guest choreographer at home and abroad, as well as for opera productions at the Staatsoper Berlin, the Semperoper Dresden, the Opéra national du Rhin and the Salzburg Festival, among others.
Born in Pune, India, and raised in Bangalore, Rajyashree Ramesh received extensive training in the solo dance theatre forms Bharatanatyam and Kuchipudi, and in classical singing, parallel to her schooling and degree (B.Sc). Living in Berlin since 1977, she was confronted with the connotation "temple dancer", coupled with a deep admiration to the point of exoticization on the one hand and ignorance to rejection on the other.
Her over four decades of cross-cultural dance mediation since then, through performances, teaching assignments, workshops, lecture performances, essays, academic papers, the founding of her own Academy for Performing Arts in 1993 and Rasika Dance Theatre International in 1996 for multi-genre, cross-cultural stage productions, brought opportunities, but also great challenges and questions about the prevailing understanding of dance in general and non-European dance forms in particular. After being certified as a Laban/Bartenieff Movement Analyst in the USA, she channelled her questions into academic research in 2008 and received her doctorate from the Europa- University Viadrina in 2019. In her doctoral thesis, which was evaluated as opening up a new field of research, she unveiled the as yet unexplored connection between Indian dance and body knowledge in theory and practice and the latest findings from Linguistic Gesture Research, Cognitive Linguistic Research, Brain Research on Emotions and Fascia Research.
At the same time, she developed the first of its kind transcultural-interdisciplinary Dance/ Movement Studies programme. At this interface between art and science, she sets her mediation forth for a still needed global yet diversified understanding of dance today, beyond the still prevailing dichotomies and tendencies to contextualize, categorize and segregate.
Since 2019, Juliane Raschel has been the coordinator of Tanzplattform Rhein Main, a cooperation project between Künstlerhaus Mousonturm and Hessisches Staatsballett that is unique in Germany and promotes dance and its diverse actors in the Rhine-Main region and networks them both nationally and internationally. She trained in dance at the State Ballet School in Leipzig until 1997 and then studied history. During her history studies, she was a member of the Leipzig Dance Theater and was involved in networking the independent dance scene with each other and with institutional structures. Before moving to Frankfurt's Künstlerhaus Mousonturm as production manager and advisor to the artistic director, Juliane Raschel was a research assistant on the research project "Body Politics in the GDR - Dance Institutions between Elite Promotion, Popular Art and Mass Culture" at the Institute for Theater Studies at the University of Leipzig from 2012-2014.
"My work has been significantly shaped by the dual perspectives I have gained as a dancer and as an employee of various dance structures backstage. These have been particularly shaped over the last three years by my work in an inter-institutional initiative, between an international production house and a dance company based at two state theaters. I see it as a central task to bring together different resources and pools of experience across the various structures and scenes in order to advance dance at all levels and give it a voice in its many forms of articulation."