What we want to know

DANCE ON RESEARCHDANCE ON RESEARCH complements the artistic development of the DANCE ON ENSEMBLE with social and scientific evaluation. The aim is to make the knowledge gained from our experience with the company available for the dance field, as well as for artistic and cultural theory.
To this end, we are working with experts who will be using the individual DANCE ON projects to look at specific issues relating to dance science and other relevant disciplines such as sports science and neuro-cognitive sciences.

RESEARCH is dedicated to the theme of “dance and age”, an as yet under-developed area of research. The results of the analyses will be revealed in discussions, workshops, publications, and as a part of symposiums and conferences. The research programme is aimed at dance and theatre experts, dancers, choreographers, students and curators, as well as interested members of the public who would like to deepen their experience of dance performance with scientific analyses.

We are interested in your views:

Working with the Theatre Institute at the Freie Universität Berlin, we have developed a survey to capture attitudes towards ageing in dance. It is available here and takes no more than two minutes to complete.

Thank you!


Research Project 1

"Images of Age in Dance" with the Freie Universität Berlin

Working together with Prof. Dr. Gabriele Brandstetter from the Institute of Theatre Studies at Freie Universität Berlin and Dr. Nanako Nakajima, one of the first investigations of DANCE ON RESEARCH is to look at culturally formed perceptions of ‘age’. What does it mean when we talk about ‘older dancers’? How does a dancer’s age manifest itself and what is its impact on audiences? In order to answer these questions, empirical, qualitative surveys will be conducted among members of the public and experts. The focus of the joint research interest is on the current image of age in dance accompanied by a critical questioning of stereotypical clichés. The surveys will increase awareness of the topic among those questioned and sensitise them to what has long been overlooked. Another benefit for both dance studies and the art of dance is ultimately being able to record the particular qualities of older dancers in more detail.


Research Project 2

Dance and Age with GJUUM Ltd.

  • Is age an issue for dancers older than 40?
  • Are dancers athletes?
  • Is dance a profession?
  • Should dancers have a right to special healthcare?
  • Can you stay 40 for 20 years?
  • As a culture of human motion, can dance benefit society?


The collective GJUUM Ltd., directed by sports scientists Patrick Rump and Frank Appel, will be looking at these and other questions in a joint research project with DANCE ON. They will be working with the DANCE ON ENSEMBLE dancers to record parameters relating to sports science and sports medicine, as well as sociocultural and psychosocial parameters. The data collected is intended to help answer the questions above by creating quantifiable markers. For example, data from young dancers will be compared with those of older dancers with the possible result being a differentiated requirements profile for dance in age.

It is precisely in a fleeting medium such as dance that the researchers consider it important to discover measurable factors and then measure them. This way, the data collected and evaluated could help both future generations of dancers as well as society in terms of compiling prevention, rehabilitation and performance-enhancing programmes.

Research Project 3:

Aesthetic Distinctions of “Dance and Age ”
In cooperation with Dr. Anna Seidl

In co-operation with DANCE ON, the cultural theorist scientist Dr. Anna Seidl from the University of Amsterdam is investigating the aesthetic paradigm shift that occurs in a dance project whose participants are overolder than 40 years of age. While the aesthetic distinctions of dance in the public arena are generally based on technical bravura and powerful elegance, DANCE ON puts the artistic focus on categories such as experience, authenticity and individuality.
What are the physical and creative potentials of mature dancers? What shape does the body archive take on the level of form and aesthetic expression?
Answering these questions is not only a challenge for choreographers, dancers and recipients; it also opens up a new research field for the theoretical delineationlocation of this topic. In the form of an empirical study accompanying the development process of individual productions up to their performance, the practical, aesthetic and theoretical aspects of these works will be considered and discussed in the context of current social discourses.