Alumni Newsletter
May & June 2022

(c) Ida Zenna | Stunde des Tanzes 2022
Dear Vorname, 

Many greetings from the Palucca University of Dance Dresden! I hope you all are well. 

The past weeks have shown us that integrity and a peaceful interaction with others is not to be taken for granted. Because of this, I would like to encourage you to be grateful for all that is good and peaceful by and large. I wish you renewed encouragement and inspiration for the times ahead and hope that this edition will contribute to this in a small way.

Today, I am pleased to give you a retrospect of the successfully conducted university events and alumni activities as well as a preview of the coming events. I would especially like to invite you to the planned alumni meeting at the University this summer! The planning for this has started and you will be receiving more detailed information shortly.

In this edition, our alumna, Marlen Schumann, has provided you with a new article on health and I would like to greet Ria Akiyama, likewise an alumna, who is contributing to this edition as guest author. Don’t hesitate to add these two authors to your networks.

I also want to use this opportunity, to now say goodbye. In June, after three wonderful years working here at the University, my family and I will embark together to break new ground both professionally and privately. The alumni work at the University will continue and in the next newsletter, your will be greeted by a new team member! Please, stay informed and feel free to shape the alumni activities with your ideas.

I wish you an interesting lecture and all the best!

Shalene Schmidt

Department of Strategic Development/Communication
Student Marketing & Alumni Coordinator

University News

Stunde des Tanzes & Wie werde ich Tänzer/in (Retrospect)

To the joy of all participants, the event “Stunde des Tanzes” took place on 24 March 2022!

For the first time, after a two-year pandemic-related hiatus, the event was held in the Grüner Saal at the University. Students showed works and choreographies from their current repertoires as well as excerpts from dance productions from the current academic year. External school classes of various age-groups were welcomed as guests to the University and so, in adherence to the prevailing hygienic regulations, our students were able to perform before an audience.

Younger external school classes were also invited to attend “How do I become a dancer?” - An event parallel to “Stunde des Tanzes”. Here, within the context of the Dresden Schulkonzerte (Dresden School Concerts), pupils were given the opportunity to take a look behind the scenes at Palucca University of Dance Dresden and to try out what it means to be a young dancer.

Many thanks to all participants for organising and supporting both events!

(c) Ida Zenna - Abschlussarbeiten 2020

BA Dance Presentations 

Again, this year, we will be presenting the final projects of our BA Dance graduates before a public audience. Further information will be available shortly.

Dates: 10 June 2022, at 7 p.m.
11 June 2022, at 2 pm and 7 p.m.

Place: "Grüner Saal", at the Palucca University of Dance Dresden, Basteiplatz 4, 01277 Dresden

Read more
(c) Ida Zenna - Soirée 2019

Soirée of the Palucca University of Dance Dresden at the Semperoper

We are pleased to announce that this year, we are planning a multi-piece ballet evening at the Semperoper Dresden with all the students and pupils from our University. Further information will be available shortly.

Dates: 14 July 2022 at 7 p.m.

Place: Semperoper Dresden, Theaterplatz 2
01967 Dresden

Read more
(c) Ida Zenna - Soirée 2019

Alumni Portraits published

Since April 2022, portraits of selected alumni can be found on the website of Palucca University of Dance Dresden! In the coming months, more alumni portraits will be added. The choice of the published portraits is made by the rectorate.

Many thanks to all alumni who have contributed to the publication of their portraits!

Read more

Alumni News & More

Mario Schröder and Rita Aozane Bilibio have been elected as jury members for the German Dance Award 2022

We congratulate our alumni Mario Schröder (Ballet Director and Head Choreographer - Oper Leipzig) and Prof. Rita Aozane Bilibio (Professor for Contemporary Dance - Palucca University of Dance Dresden) on their having been selected to be two of six new members of the prestigious jury for the German Dance Award 2022! In this newsletter issue, they will share their thoughts with us on their selection to be jury members.

The press conference in which the award winners will be announced is scheduled for 4 May 2022. Further information can be found at

Mario Schröder 

“It was very nice and wonderfully enjoyable for me to be a part of the jury for the German Dance Award. I consider the German Dance Award to be one of the most important awards in Germany. Making a selection wasn’t and isn’t easy.

The spectrum of dance here in Germany is broad and there is an abundance of artists whose development, authenticity and artistic work are excellent. In the scope of jury work, I will have the pleasure to be able to get to know new artists and their cosmos of ideas.”

(c) Ida Zenna

Prof. Rita Aozane Bilibio

The German Dance Award is one of the most prestigious awards for Dance in Germany. At first, the nomination to be a jury member for 2022 was a surprise which made me very very happy.

The selection process of working together with the other jury members to identify award winners among the many nominated candidates represented an exciting and enriching challenge for me. Furthermore, I am very much looking forward to the award ceremony and Dance Gala on 15 October 2022, in the Aalto Theater in Essen.


Digital Ballet Gala from the Ballet Theater Pforzheim 
by Damian Gmür (MADT '20)

(c) Andrea D´Auquino

For the past 20 years, Theater Pforzheim has hosted the International Ballet Gala for the benefit of AIDS-Hilfe Pforzheim e.V.

Due to the continuing pandemic, the Theater Pforzheim must postpone this year’s ballet gala which includes choreographic works from Palucca University of Dance Dresden (Choreography: Rita Aozane Bilibio) and from Ballet Theater Pforzheim (Choreography: Damian Gmür) to spring 2023.

Nevertheless, dance at its best can still be enjoyed: Ballett Theater Pforzheim has invited dance companies and universities of dance throughout Germany to provide short film excerpts of their artistic works (Dramaturgy & Editing:  Alexandra Karabelas, Mirko Ingrao). The invitation was happily accepted by first soloist Friedemann Vogel from the Stuttgart Ballet, the Ballet Director Bridget Breiner, from Badisches Staatstheater Karlsruhe, Gregor Zölling from Tanztheater Staatstheater Braunschweig, Goyo Montero from Staatstheater Nürnberg Ballett, Tarek Assam from Tanztheater Stadttheater Giessen, and Jason Beechey and Rita Aozane Bilibio from the Palucca University of Dance Dresden. As host, the Ballet Theater Pforzheim concluded the programme with choreographic impressions from Guido Markowitz and Damian Gmür.

A short dance film has been created out of these excerpts, a “miniature” Ballet Gala, which, in just nine minutes, allows the beauty and richness of dance to unfold on the Internet. 

Donations benefiting the AIDS-Hilfe Pforzheim for their valuable work are always welcome.

Dance Ballet Gala (link active until 12/03/2022)

Picture of the month

"Palucca Sommerbühne" 2021

Choreography: f.o.r.e.v.e.r. by Ihsan Rustem 
Students: former BAT 3 (2021)
Image: © Ida Zenna
(c) Boris Nebyla

Guest Article

by Rie Akiyama (MADT '21)

If you are a choreographer, rehearsal director, or ballet master, you have an important and beautifully active mission to guide and lead your dancers towards a premiere. In this article, I would like to offer some small tips in making the daily studio activities for you and the dancers a more pleasant experience.

My name is Rie, I come from Japan, and I am currently living in Vienna.
My professional life has changed since last summer when I finished my full-time career as a dancer, working for over 10 years in dance companies in Germany and Austria.

Since then, my activity has been to transmit my experience and knowledge through contemporary dance: yes, I work as a dance teacher! In retrospect, my dance career was with ups and downs like probably any others, but I was generally very fulfilled as a dancer and I recognize that my mindset was the key to this experience, the mindset to always question: What do I gain while accomplishing the company‘s task? „Everyone in his company knows the journey the company is on, and everybody is in it together. You don‘t work for Thomas; you work with him.“ (Strelecky P. John 2008 p18-19). I believe articulating the group‘s goal and its intention is an essential task of a leader in order that the whole group understands where to direct their intentions. Setting goals helps to motivate dancers to engage in activities! Make sure you are translating the overall goal to them during the rehearsal. Sharing authority with dancers is another significant tool for a positive studio climate (Ames 1992). For instance, encouraging dancers to participate in studio decision-making. By doing so, you can emphasize cooperation and this in turn strengthens teamwork. Here is another possible approach: Take a little extra time to talk to your dancers, brainstorm, and inspire the excitement and efficiency of finding their own „secret purpose“ behind the premiere. While you and your team move towards the same goal, remember that the team‘s success is equal to the success of each individual dancer!

Lastly, share your enthusiasm with the dancers! This promotes a sense of rapport between the group (Andrzejewski et al. 2013). We all are in this profession with our passion, and it is so rewarding. So, let us remind each other of this, and don’t let go of the freedom to create your own path, which ever you are on!

Contact: | Instagram: rie_akiyama

Health Article

Training Science for Dance
by Marlen Schumann (MATP '06)

Knowing what I know today, fourteen years after finishing my studies, I sometimes ask myself, what might have been possible if the principles and methods (of training science) had been applied during my dance education? My assumption is: I would have been stronger and more agile as a dancer. Maybe I would have also avoided one or the other strain-injury. This assumption, an audacious one in light of dance traditions, is the core of my topic.

Sport and training sciences are fields that have been well researched for many years and there are numerous studies that highlight the body’s reactions and adaptations to movement. Very differentiated training methods can be derived from these findings, The hurdles to establishing these in dance are still very high because they would mean breaking up traditions and rearranging them both in classical and in modern and contemporary dance.

Concerns related to leaving traditions behind are understandable. We all know the training methods and traditions which we have learned from renowned instructors and which have brought us success. I myself have met formative instructors from whom I have learned a great deal and from whom I profit to this day. 

Supplementary or basic athletic training would enable the application of the principle of training control in a more concrete manner. “Training control, through measures of planning, control, assessment and correction is the short term, medium term and long term influence on the training process”.1  Group dance training offers little room for this. Strength and fitness training, planned at regular intervals which is oriented toward the dancer’s current performance level and possible history of injuries could incorporate this better. In dance training, the students’ different training levels could be compensated for at other levels.

Those skills and conditions required by dance pieces could be worked on in a supplementary training during the dancer’s daily training and professional routines in order to get through the rehearsals and performance phases with more resistance to stress and strain.

Furthermore, in order to better prevent injuries and provide dancers with healthier working conditions, greater attention could be paid to the training principle of the optimal relation of strain and recovery.

Unfortunately this is not the case in many companies. In the discussion about muscular imbalance, organised by in March 2022, solo dancer Jason Reilly, from Stuttgarter Ballett, reported about his tightly scheduled training, rehearsal and performance routines which left little time for recovery.

The contributor Hannah Hofmann, a sports scientist with experience in dance, argues in her article on the same topic in favour of “a combination of traditional training methods and strength and endurance training which are adapted to the demands“² In the study “Recovery-Stress States and Training Load of Professional Ballet Dancers during a Rehearsal and Performance Phase of a Ballet Year”, the author summarizes that ballet dancers in the participating company were exposed to a very high risk for over-load injuries and over-training syndrome by the end of the season.

More and more emerging studies and articles, for example by the International Association for Dance Medicine & Science (IADMS), dealing with weight and fitness training for dancers and thus with training science and theory have reached similar conclusions. Training has a positive effect on technical abilities, exercise abilities and risks of injuries. It raises the quality of artistic performance. To feel this as dancers results in an ease and pleasure in the artistic discourse during rehearsal and performance phases and allows us even more space for what is important to us: the dance and its impact.


1 Hottenrott, Kuno & Seidel, Ilka, Grundlagen sportlichen Trainings und sportlicher Leistung. In Hottenrott, Kuno & Seidel, Ilka (Hrsg.), Handbuch Trainingswissenschaft- Trainingslehre, Schorndorf: Hofmann-Verlag, 2017, p. 88
² Hofmann, Hannah: Muskuläre Dysbalance (2022), in:, URL: (Stand: March 29, 2022)
³ De Wet JS, Africa E, Venter R. Recovery-Stress States of Professional Ballet Dancers During Different Phases of a Ballet Season. J Dance Med Sci. 2022 Mar 15;26(1):7-14. doi: 10.12678/1089-313X.031522b. Epub 2021 Dec 5. PMID: 34865679.

This takes you to my newest training video

Next Newsletter Edition
The next newsletter will be published at the end of June 2022. Alumni news for this edition can be submitted by the editorial deadline on 31 May 2022 to

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Images: Cover/Stunde des Tanzes 2022 © Ida Zenna, Letter from the Editor & University News © Ida Zenna, Health Article © Sandra Lieb, Guest Article © Boris Nebyla, Digital Ballet Gala from the Ballet Theater Pforzheim © Andrea D´Auquino, Alumni News & More © Ida Zenna
Translation into English (and German/Guest Article):
Helen Centner (Dipl. authorized translator and English Trainer (BDÜ, ELTAF)
Palucca University of Dance Dresden | Rector: Prof. Jason Beechey | Department of Strategic Development/Communication | Basteiplatz | 01277 Dresden | Deutschland | +49493512590645 | | |
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