Montag 24.06.24
From: Laura Jaeggi

The major event "Totentanz zu Basel", which was due to take place at the end of June, has been canceled and the organizers have filed for bankruptcy. This is a catastrophic threat to the livelihoods of the artists involved, as they will receive no compensation.

The dancers had rehearsed intensively for two months, completing the piece. Choreographer Richard Wherlock, the ensemble, and an assistant were ready for the final phase of the dance event, which was to be performed on Münsterplatz from June 24 to 29.

The shocking news arrived at the end of May: The project was being canceled due to insufficient ticket sales. The dancers, who had signed three-month contracts with Totentanz GmbH, suddenly found themselves without a job. This is particularly fatal for freelancers, as the cancellation means the loss of indispensable income. Many of them traveled to Basel and rented accommodation there especially for this project, meaning they now had to pay double rent.

One of the dancers described the precarious situation: "Most of us are paying double rent during this time. The cancellation not only hits us hard financially, but also in terms of our careers. The time for a dance career is short and we didn't take advantage of other performance opportunities in favor of the Basel project. This is a great loss for us."

There was still hope for financial compensation until the end of May. Dominique Mollet, one of the initiators of the project, had affirmed that he wanted to find a solution for everyone involved. He initiated the large-scale project and founded the private company together with percussionist Edith Habraken, actor and director Raphael Bachmann, and painter Pascal Joray.

Danse Suisse deeply regrets this devastating situation. The cancellation of projects of this size shows the precarious situation of freelance dance professionals and underlines the need for better safeguards and support systems for artists in Switzerland.

Anyone wishing to support the artists can do so via the → GoFundMe page created for this purpose.