Off to New Horizons, By Nicole Aurich & Frieda Pirnbaum, KOST, #1 – 2020
Since September 2019, HELLERAU has its first Teachers’ Club “Rediscovering Dance and Performance”. Under the guidance of various theatre artists and dancers, teachers set out to explore new aesthetics, ways of working and methods that they can use for their (artistic) work in school. This approach is new and rare in every aspect, because if one considers the reduction of artistic subjects at Saxony’s schools and the increasingly difficult conditions for interdisciplinary and project-oriented work, this is a special commitment that is based on different motivations. HELLERAU stands for interdisciplinary work, for current topics and diverse artistic teams. The teachers would like to discover and develop these new aesthetics and artistic contemporary forms, which may still be new and alien to the students and the young audience. Performance and dance of the independent scene can be relevant for school work, because they (can) build on an organisational structure that follows democratic principles, that listens to the stories of individuals and yet is created “live” in the collective, and that starts from the body and concrete action. All these are aspects that – independent of one’s own artistic production in school theatre – should become more relevant for the school of our time. The wholeness of learning is questioned in many learning settings in favour of knowledge that can be quickly retrieved and under the time pressure of bulging curriculum. In addition, the importance of democratic interaction, especially in schools, and the creation of shared experiences and results is also becoming apparent. The club offers the participating teachers new experiences and approaches, and conversely it tells the institution HELLERAU something about the diversity and starting position at schools. It describes the approaches needed for a theatre venue and the arts of dance and performance to challenge the designation as ivory tower and also to create a place for cultural education. As the KOST – Cooperation between Schools and Theatres in Saxony, we are pleased to think and create this dialogue and change of perspective together with a place as important and inspiring as HELLERAU in Dresden. KOST – Cooperation between School and Theatres is an initiative for cultural education at Saxon schools under the sponsorship of the Landesbühnen Sachsen. Its aims are the strengthening and qualitative development of school theatre, cooperation between schools and theatre professionals. KOST would like to expand, support and network existing school theatre structures and provide professional and organisational support to all participants such as teachers, pupils, theatre pedagogues and artists. We thank the state Office for School and Education for supporting the Teachers’ Club.