90 years of the Palucca School- a retrospective

The Palucca School and Modern Dance

Germany’s only university specializing in dance is located in Dresden. It was founded in 1925 by the dancer Gret Palucca, who until then had given lessons in her own apartment. While there are many dancing schools named after their founder, no other has been shaped single-handedly by one person. Gret Palucca always avoided any form of categorization of her dancing and teaching methods.

Gret Palucca

Gret Palucca

The conflict potential of Modern dance

Palucca’s encounter and subsequent lessons with Mary Wigman, German pioneer of Expressionist Dance, were formative for her artistic development. The Nazis forbade her the teaching of free dance in 1936 and shut down her school in 1939. Already in July 1945 Palucca was able to reopen her school, which in 1957 moved into its own building. The curriculum was now dominated by classical dancing of the Soviet tradition. Modern dance did not ‘fit in’ with the cultural ideals of the ruling Communists. This led to ongoing conflicts with Palucca who even threatened to move to West Germany. Thus she was under strict observation by the Stasi Secret Police.

The Palucca School gains university status.

Gret Palucca died on the 23rd March 1993 at the age of 91, having witnessed German Reunification. The new times brought new challenges for her school in 1999. With the new Saxon University Law, the school gained university status and remains the only university in Germany specializing just in dance. The school building was completely renovated in 2004 and a modern extension completed in 2007, effectively turning the school into a campus.


German Year of Dance and the “Tanzwoche” (week of dance) in Dresden 2016

From April 19th to May 1st 2016 it´s again time to dance in Dresden. The 25th anniversary of this event fits perfectly, because Germany also celebrates the Year of Dance. More about the Tanzwoche in Dresden on the official website.