Tanz macht Glücklich

“Tanz macht Glücklich” is an ongoing artistic research and archival project, whereby i have informal conversations with people who are generally eighty years or older about their relationship to, experiences with and memories of dance and music. with their permission, i record, edit, transcribe and publish the conversation(s) that we have online.

part of the project’s goals are to slowly cultivate an open archive, where the stories and insights about dance and music from an older generation can be accessed. when possible, i aim to provide a transcript of the conversation in the original language of the interview, with a translation in english.

another part of the project is to invite these conversations (particularly around the ways in which dance and music transform with age) to both inform and deepen my own artistic practice and relationship to dance. for each recording, i create at least one short film whereby i animate the extracts of the conversation alongside footage of the landscape/s where the person i am speaking with lived or lives. through the process of animating and editing, i enter into a deeper state of listening as well as access a kind of choreographic rhythm/attention to both the language and the content of what is being shared.

the stories that have emerged from these tangential conversations, which are loosely guided by the framework of dance and music, often reveal a lot about an individual’s historical and political context. people who are currently in their eighties were generally born during or after ww2. as i gradually continue with this project in our current political moment, i am finding it incredibly valuable to hear about the roles of dance and music during times of global shifts in power and various types of ‘collapse’.

if you know someone, or are someone, who would like to participate in this project, please don’t hesitate to get in touch, just send me an email at: nicola.van.straaten(at)gmail.com

the initiation of “Tanz macht Glücklich” was supported by the Performing Arts Fund with funds from the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media as part of NEUSTART KULTUR.

with MG

this short film shows an extract from a conversation with my grandmother, MG who was born in Colenso, South Africa in 1937. to listen to the longer conversation, click here. to read a transcript of the conversation, click here.

with U and G

This short film shows extracts from my conversation with U and R, who were both born in East Berlin, Germany in 1940 and 1945. to listen to full interview, click here. transcription in German and English, coming soon.

with MH

this short film shows extracts from a conversation about dance and music with MH who was born in Rathenow, Germany in 1933. to listen to the full interview in German, click here. (English and German transcriptions coming soon)