The history of Folkwang Tanzstudio

The Folkwang Tanzstudio (FTS) can look back on more than 80 varied years of company history. The company’s prototype the „Folkwang-Tanztheater-Experimentalstudio“ was founded by Kurt Jooss in 1928. In the thirties it was regarded as the 'cradle' of German Expressive Dance and was to pave the way for German Dance throughout the world.

In September 1930 Kurt Jooss was entitled the Ballet Director of the Opera in Essen. The „Folkwang-Tanztheater-Studio“ became the permanent Dance Ensemble at the Opera house. It toured under the name „Folkwang Tanzbühne“. 1932 Kurt Jooss wins the first price in the international choreography competition in Paris with his legendary choreography „The Green Table“ and wins his worldwide fame.

In the Autumn of the same year the company left the Opera house and continued its work under the name „Ballets Jooss“. 1933 the work abruptly ends in Germany - Jooss refused to dismiss his Jewish colleagues and therefore had to leave Germany as quickly as possible. During the following years Jooss lives and works with his colleagues in Dartington Hall, England. The company „Ballets Jooss“ gave guest performances with great success worldwide- except in Germany.

1949 Jooss returned to Essen. 1951 the first performances of the new founded „Folkwang Tanztheater“ took place. Already after two years the company had to give up its work again due to funding problems.

1961 public funding - among other organisations from the Westgerman Broadcasting - allowed installing master classes for Dance. From the master classes developed the „Folkwang Ballett“. By invitation of Jooss the dancer and choreographer Jean Cébron came to Essen. His duets, which he choreographed for himself and Pina Bausch, but also his group works set up an experimental profile for the company. Guest-choreographers such as Anthony Tudor, Lucas Hoving and Gigi Caciuleanu worked with the master students. Also members of the master classes made first steps in the field of choreography.

After Kurt Jooss had retired in the year 1968, Pina Bausch became Director of the „Folkwang Ballett“. She had the company until 1973 when she got offered the Ballett Direction in Wuppertal.

From 1975 until 1977 the now named „Folkwang Tanzstudio“ was co-directed by Reinhild Hoffmann and Susanne Linke. After Reinhild Hoffmann changed to Ballet Bremen in 1978, Susanne Linke was the only person left responsible for the company. When she decided to dedicate herself to a solo carrier it is again Pina Bausch who took over the Artistic Direction in 1983.

These three choreographers and their work have decisively formed the profile of the Folkwang Tanzstudio and beyond it contributed to the Renaissance of Modern Dance in Germany. But also other choreographers have contributed to the company’s character: Among others following choreographers have worked with the Folkwang Tanzstudio: Mitsura Sasaki, Carolyn Carlsson, Urs Dietrich, Mark Sieczkarek, Raffaella Giordano and Daniel Goldin.

From 1999 until 2008 the Folkwang Tanzstudio is co-directed by Pina Bausch and Henrietta Horn. The choreographic work of Henrietta Horn is the main focus of the company. Additionally, there are co-operations with international guest-choreographers to enrich the company’s artistic experience and development. Numerous guest-performances at home and abroad more over help the cultural exchange.

In October 2008 Rodolpho Leoni, Professor of Contemporary Dance at Folkwang University of the Arts, took over the artistic direction of the FTS together with Pina Bausch. Following the death of Pina Bausch in June 2009, the ensemble has been under the joint artistic direction of Lutz Förster and Rodolpho Leoni since July 2009.