Donnerstag 23.11.23
Von: Jason Beechey, Danse Suisse

Ab dem 1. August 2024 wird Jason Beechey als Head of Dance an der Zürcher Hochschule der Künste (ZHdK) die Tanzausbildung leiten. Danse Suisse freut sich über die positive Entwicklung und die gemeinsame Zusammenarbeit.

Die neu geschaffene Stelle soll den Tanz- und Ausbildungsplatz Zürich stärken und eine umfassende strategische Ausrichtung über alle Tanzdisziplinen voranzutreiben. Das Ziel besteht darin, ein national und international innovatives «Zürcher Modell» in der Tanzausbildung zu etablieren, das durch eine übergreifende Vision und Verantwortung an Sichtbarkeit gewinnt und als Vorbild dient.

Lesen Sie hier ein exklusives Interview mit Jason Beechey in Originalsprache.

Can you describe your feelings about moving to Zurich after 18 successful years as Rector of the Palucca University in Dresden, the only independent state dance academy in Germany?

I am full of excitement and inspiration to join the team of the ZHdK and be a part of this new chapter for dance in Zurich. It is also very emotional to leave Palucca after 18 years and I look forward to building a close connection between Zürich and Dresden for the future.

We are aware of your current involvement in the interim leadership team at taZ. How does this experience contribute to your new role, and in what ways does it shape your approach at the Zurich University of the Arts?

This has given me a great insight into the ZHdK and a chance to discover the people, knowledge, ideas and passion of all involved. To see first-hand how committed the University is to building a strong and progressive future for dance is visionary and I am very excited to be joining the Team.

How do your experiences at the Palucca University of Dance Dresden influence your approach to overcoming the challenges for dance education in general, and more specifically those concerning the taZ and the EFZ Basel?

In Palucca, I brought an entirely new vision to the dance education and the curriculum was completely rethought. For example, we created a Health team, were able to build a global network of partners and grow the profile into a reality. I would integrate the experience that I gained through the longevity of my work in higher education and building connections and collaborations into my work at ZHdK in Zurich.

What structural changes do you expect from your position at Zurich University of the Arts?

Together with the established team and the position of Head of Dance we are aiming for a major restructure that will begin in August 2024. Head of Dance, is among other, a key position to unify, synergize and further develop all the dance programmes currently on offer at ZHdK. However, we will aim to strengthen the voice of dance inside the ZHdK and to offer a clear voice for ZHdK dance that can play a lead role in the dance world.

As Head of Dance, how do you see your role affecting the EFZ and what prospects do you see for the institution?

The EFZ is a great step towards the recognition of dance as a profession in Switzerland and we need to continue to develop this further. There is a Bachelor in Contemporary Dance but not yet in ballet. Likewise, there is no Secondary school with a Contemporary profile. Most vocational dance educations on offer today (for example the Royal Ballet School, Dutch National Ballet Academy, Palucca) all offer Bachelor Degrees and we must ensure that the offerings in the ZHdK stay competitive. There is also a challenge with not having a dedicated Academic School in close proximity and an increase in the dormitory capacity would be of great benefit to the taZ students and assure the accessibility of the education further. A network of associated junior schools needs to be developed with the aim for ZHdK to become a pole of activities for “life-long learning”, offering Workshops and classes for dance professionals and the hosting of Conferences and events.

What are your overarching visions for dance education in Switzerland?

For Switzerland to become a “best practice example” of a strong, inclusive, progressive, and diverse landscape of dance education, on all levels and styles. To cherish diversity and to be able to offer a wide range of educations that not only support and nurture Swiss talent but attract young dancers from around the world to enrich the Swiss dance scene and be an inspiration for other Countries. A model of progressive innovation and cooperation.

From your perspective, what are the critical aspects in dance education that need attention and development?

There is already a great shift in dance education towards being more inclusive and focusing on the importance of health and well-being. Healthier training methods and mindsets are being developed, changes are being made on "how” dance is being taught and of ensuring that dance can be experienced as a supportive, constructive and secure environment. The benefits of dance in medical and research perspectives (dance with parkinsons, dance with dementia) are proving to be of great value and we need to ensure dance can be as accessible to society as possible.

Moreover, as an Organization der Arbeit (OdA) actively involved in the development of dance education, we are keen on fostering collaborations. Given the geographical proximity, we are curious to find out if you consider working with us?

Very much so. Dance is such a small and close-knit community, we can only grow, develop and thrive through a full-circle and connected approach that runs from the first contact at a young age, through to education, career and then forwards into teaching, choreography and leadership roles. It only works when it is full-circle, relevant and connected.

We are very pleased to hear this! How do you envision our collaboration in the future?

I very much look forward to a strong and close collaboration with Danse Suisse. My first contact goes back many years ago, collaborating with the AKT Conference (Ausbildungs Konferenz Tanz) of Germany and Danse Suisse. Becoming involved this past year with the taZ, Talent Scouting Days and Summer School, has given me insight into further activities of Danse Suisse and I am very keen to see how we can work together for the better of dance education.

Thank you very much, Jason Beechey, for this interview. We wish you a successful start in your new position and look forward to working with you.