I'm Jana Winterhalter, dance dramaturg and intercultural embassador living and working in between Kenya and Germany since 10 years.
In this time, where global pandemics and social media can lead us to the easiliy made assumption that we're connected worldwide, I ask myself:
What can a future form of global cooperation look like that goes beyond the assumption of connectedness through global crises or solidarity hashtags? How can I, in my position between art and culture and with my personal ressources support an intercultural, sustainable practice of connection? And how can (contemporary) dance provide an answer to the question of how we want to live and create together as a One World's Community in future?
From Jan - Sept 2021 the Dis-Tanz-Solo Scholarship of the Dachverband Tanz Deutschland allowed me to find answers to these questions by building TUUNGANE DANCE, a platform for sustainable intercultural exchange between the contemporary dance scenes of Kampala, Dar Es Salaam, Nairobi and NRW. I conducted talks and interviews with over 30 dance creators from the four countries and I’m inviting them to the online platform TUUNGANE DANCE since Oct 2021. TUUNGANE DANCE pursues the vision of long-term intercultural artistic collaborations that are accompanied by regular reflections and exchange formats in a shared digital space. Through this, the practice of changing perspectives through intercultural exchange is established beyond the duration of individual productions. Contemporary dance practice becomes the connecting medium and space for exploring the question of how we want to live and create together as a diverse one world’s society.
With TUUNGANE DANCE I have given my self-conception as a dance creator a new direction and visibility by positioning myself at the intersection of artistic and cultural dialogues between East Africa and Europe. For TUUNGANE DANCE I've fused my artistic work as a dance dramaturgue (CV) in NRW and my activity in Kenyan community projects since ten years (www.njoki.org).
In dramaturgical thinking I am used to recognise invisible connections and helping their creative potential find an outer expression. What does a dramaturgy of heterogeneous connection mean? What narratives can intercultural cooperation at eye level produce, how can these change over time? Making social transformation processes and their potential for a new dimension of connection visible in artistic processes, dynamics and collaborations is my concern, personal potential and new field of learning as a dramaturgue and impulse generator.
"Because there is more than distance connecting us, there is more than borders dividing us and there is more than a piece of dance that can come out of creative minds coming together."
How connected are we really? What do we know about people and colleagues in far places? About their challenges and potentials? To transform society into one of connection through mutual understanding and honest care, it needs the practise of connecting to people, lives and realities different than ours. It takes a sustainable connection that can only be built through a long-term exchange, through conversations, shared practise and time spent together that targets more than another foreign country on our CV as artists or another stamp in our passport as 'Global Citizens'. It takes digging beyond surfaces, mutual inspiration, asking questions, talking out misunderstandings and meetings that make us leave different persons than we were before.
It asks spaces where all this can happen not only during a specific artistic production, but as well before, after and in between. Here's the space for it: Let's connect, talk, converse, and grow together.