“Creating from a position of togetherness. This is easier said than done, but for me it is the prerequisite for joy and success.”
Bureau Ritter has been shaped by the career of its founder Madeline Ritter and her passion for implementing change processes. A qualified lawyer, Madeline Ritter takes an analytical approach to problems and probes rulebooks and policies for their impact and effectiveness. Her training as a transformational coach is at the core of her holistic working methods, which take into account both the individual person and the larger system.
Madeline Ritter is a dance enthusiast and founded her first cultural organisation in Cologne in 1989 as part of the independent community centre Alte Feuerwache. Here she initiated a range of interdisciplinary project and festivals. From 1993 to 1998 she was the founder and artistic director of Pictures of (e)Motion, an international festival for dance, film and new media at the Art and Exhibition Hall of the Federal Republic of Germany in Bonn. With her touring programmes Dance Roads and Repérages, she enabled young artists to travel throughout Europe and as far afield as Canada.
During her years as a programmer and curator, Madeline Ritter learned the ‘craft’ of how to write successful funding applications – but in the process also discovered just how ineffective and short-sighted some funding programmes were. This experience formed the basis of her idea for the Tanzplan Deutschland (Dance Plan Germany, 2005 – 2010) initiative by the German Federal Cultural Foundation. With its collaborative approach that encouraged funders and the cultural sector to work together to develop projects and initiatives, and its insistence on joined-up thinking by funders at municipal, state and federal level, Tanzplan Deutschland became a game-changer in public funding for the arts. Like its follow-on funding programmes Tanzfonds Erbe (Dance Heritage Fund) and TANZPAKT Stadt-Land-Bund (DANCE PACT Local-Regional-National), Tanzplan Deutschland was based on the idea that every cultural project needs time to develop a distinctive identity and achieve social impact. In order for it to be successful, all stakeholders and participants need to work together and be included in the decision-making process.
In 2011, Madeline Ritter and Ingo Diehl, her colleague from Tanzplan Deutschland, founded the non-profit cultural enterprise office Diehl+Ritter, now Bureau Ritter. Based in the former headquarters of the publishing house Langenscheidt in Berlin, the office comprises a dedicated team of experts who are tackling complex issues with both purpose and joy. Project partners describe the team as competent, creative and solution-focused, and appreciate the honest, personable and trustworthy way they communicate and work together. In 2016, the team was awarded the European Union’s most important cultural heritage prize, the Europa Nostra Award, for its pioneering work in preserving European dance heritage.
until 2010. The German Federal Cultural Foundation commissions Madeline Ritter to design and implement the national Tanzplan Deutschland initiative. 21 million euros are mobilised for dance. Tanzplan Deutschland develops into a pioneering project that inspires other countries to implement their own ‘Dance Plans’.
In 2011, Madeline Ritter and Ingo Diehl found the non-profit cultural enterprise office Diehl+Ritter. After one year, Ingo Diehl leaves to take up a professorship and Madeline Ritter becomes sole managing director.
Until 2018, Diehl+Ritterleadsthetwofundingprogrammes Tanzfonds Erbe (Dance Heritage Fund) and Tanzfonds Partner (Dance Partner Fund). In 2016 Tanzfonds Erbe was awardedthe European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Award.
Diehl+Ritter founds the Dance On Ensemble for dancers over 40, supported by a four-year grant from the Federal Commissioner for Culture and the Media.
Launch of the large-scale cooperation project Dance On, Pass On, Dream On, co-funded by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union. Nine dance institutions from eight European countries address ageism in the dance sector and in society, with Diehl+Ritter as lead partner.
In collaboration with the umbrella organisation for dance in Germany Dachverband Tanz Detuschland, Diehl+Ritter designs and implements the funding programme TANZPAKT Stadt-Land-Bund (DANCE PACT Local-Regional-National). A total of 5.6 million euros is distributed to dance projects across Germany. The funding programme is a joint initiative by the municipalities, the federal states and the Federal Commissioner for Culture and the Media to foster excellence in dance.
TANZPAKT Stadt-Land-Bund receives an additional 5.1 million euros in funding.
Diehl+Ritter takes on the organisation of the Tanzkongresses 2019 in Hellerau under the artistic direction of Meg Stuart, funded by the German Federal Cultural Foundation. The Tanzkongress, which takes place every three years, is one of the most important networking events in the German dance calendar.
Diehl+Ritter, Dachverband Tanz Deutschland and Joint Adventures/National Performance Network develop emergency funding programmes to support the dance scene as part of NEUSTART KULTUR, a coronavirus rescue package by the German Federal Commissioner for Culture and the Media. TANZPAKT RECONNECT funds 51 projects with 5.5 million euros.
The cooperation project Dance On, Pass On, Dream On is funded for another four years by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union. The consortium of European dance institutions grows from 9 to 11 and is again led by Diehl+Ritter.
TANZPAKT RECONNECT is being extended and is funding 91 projects with around 11 million euros.
The Hessian Ministry for Science and the Arts (HMWK) commissions Diehl+Ritter do develop and implement the application process for the INS FREIE! (Outdoors!) funding programme, which aims to expand existing open-air venues and offerings, while also setting up new COVID-safe pop-up venues. 106 projects are funded with a total of 10.2 million euros.
INS FREIE! goes into its second round with additional funding of 4.7 million euros and 51 funded projects, again managed by Diehl+Ritter.
Diehl+Ritter is renamed Bureau Ritter.
Dance On initiative receives renewed federal funding of 2.8 million euros from 2023 to 2027.
Over the last 15 years, the Tanzkongress has become one of the most important events in the country’s dance calendar, offering opportunities for reflection and networking for the German dance scene. As a national flagship project it is funded by the Federal Cultural Foundation. In 2019, the congress took place in Dresden, in collaboration with HELLERAU – European Centre for the Arts and the Goethe-Institut. Diehl+Ritter (today Bureau Ritter) took a lead role in its organisation.
2019 was the first year that the Federal Cultural Foundation commissioned an artist to curate and lead the Tanzkongress: the renowned choreographer Meg Stuart. It was an important step, consolidating the event’s experimental and international character.
Meg Stuart is known for her thematically diverse and genre-bending works, her use of improvisation and her innovative collaborations. For the Tanzkongress 2019 she developed an experimental gathering that took a communal and practice-based approach to contemporary questions of dance. Entitled “A Long Lasting Affair”, the congress initiated a series of conversations across time and geographical distance that put forward new ideas for the future.
Before the Tanzkongress gathering at the Festspielhaus Hellerau in Dresden from 5 to 10 June 2019, a series of preparatory meetings or ‘salons’ took place all over the world. Meanwhile in Dresden, ‘satellite events’ introduced the ideas developed in the salons to the public in the form of workshops, concerts, lectures and a free event in which the Tanzkongress participants and the Dresden audience came together for performances and talks.
Jana Bäskau of Diehl+Ritter led the event in an organisational capacity.
The German Federal Cultural Foundation launched Tanzplan Deutschland in 2005 and provided 12.5 million euros to fund it. Based on a concept by Madeline Ritter and under her leadership, the initiative became a pioneering project that attracted international attention and pointed the way for other national “dance plans”, including in Switzerland, Spain, Australia and New Zealand. Between 2005 and 2010, a total of 21 million euros were mobilised for dance through match funding.
The Federal Cultural Foundation had originally planned to create a large-scale national festival to raise the profile of dance in Germany. Madeline Ritter proposed an alternative: structural development instead of a one-off event; not starting from scratch but by looking at the dance scene’s current needs. Following her advice, the Foundation decided to concentrate on local and regional dance scenes in a comprehensive way, supporting artists and emerging talent as well as higher education institutions, creative learning initiatives and efforts to preserve dance heritage. The overall concept was based on an ethos of sustainability, inviting participation from practitioners, dance professionals and local politicians alike. Over five years and through a system of long-term cooperation agreements, the partners worked to strengthen Germany’s entire dance sector. In order to deliver the funding programme, Madeline Ritter founded the non-profit organisation Verein Tanzplan Deutschland, whose dynamic team of five helped to put the plan into action.
Even 12 years after its completion, the impact of Tanzplan Deutschland is still evident: new dance degree programmes in Frankfurt (University of Music and Performing Arts) and Berlin (Inter-University Centre for Dance), venues and studios offering residency programmes for artists in Hamburg (K3-Zentrum für Choreographie) and Potsdam (fabrik Potsdam), centres of excellence for cultural education in Düsseldorf (tanzhaus nrw) and Munich (Access to Dance), invigorated local and regional dance networks, the establishment of the Dance Education Biennale and new funding programmes by the Federal Cultural Foundation (including the Dance Heritage Fund, Tanzland, Tanzkongress and NPN Coproduction Fund for Dance).
Last but not least, TANZPAKT Stadt-Land-Bund, which launched in 2017, employs the same collaborative funding principles that were pioneered by Tanzplan Deutschland. The concept has since been adopted by other arts sectors.
426 key institutions and partners worked together to strengthen the dance sector and maximise its impact.
277 performances by 389 choreographers from more than 48 countries were watched by an audience of around 168.000 people.
881 performances by and/or for children and young people and 968 creative learning initiatives generated a powerful shift towards education in dance.
Tanzplan Deutschland was described as a ‘visionary’ funding programme in 1.687 press reports and news items all over Germany.
In addition to the 12.5 million euros provided by the Federal Cultural Foundation, municipalities and federal states contributed another 8.4 million euros in funding for dance.