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Prof. Gabriele Klein has been professor by special appointment of Ballet and Dance to the Hans van Manen chair of the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Amsterdam (UvA). The new chair was set up on behalf of the Dutch National Opera & Ballet Foundation and is named after Hans van Manen, one of the most important Dutch choreographers of the 20th century. Klein is the first professor in the Netherlands in the field of ballet and dance. She will combine the chair at the UvA with her professorship at Universität Hamburg.
Gabriele Klein (photo: Johanna Liebsch)
Gabriele Klein (photo: Johanna Liebsch)

The academic field of dance studies is still in its infancy in the Netherlands. The appointment of Klein to the Hans van Manen chair lends a powerful boost to interdisciplinary research into the historical, current and future developments of ballet and dance in the Netherlands in an international context. ‘The chair bridges the gap between practice and theory and between production and academic research,’ says Ted Brandsen, artistic director of the Dutch National Ballet. ‘The practice of ballet and dance will inspire and stimulate academic research and vice versa.’ Among other things, Klein will focus on the relatively short history and the social and historical context of ballet and dance in the Netherlands and on the international positioning of the Dutch National Ballet.

‘As the first professor of ballet and dance in the Netherlands, I am looking forward to promoting research and teaching about dance, and building bridges between science and dance, between the University of Amsterdam and the Dutch National Ballet, and between stage dance and the broader public. I hope that I can inspire students about dance and that I can contribute to establishing dance studies in the Netherlands. The UvA offers a fantastic setting for this,’ says Klein.

Dance as both aesthetic and social practice

In her dance research Klein focuses on issues of diversity, race, gender and the relationship between the social, the political and the aesthetic forms and figurations of dance. Klein is one of the few international dance scholars to consider dance in relation to the social/political and the aesthetic. In her research and teaching, she combines social science methods (ethnography) with approaches from dance and theatre studies. She always works together with dance practitioners. Klein has conducted research in popular dance cultures (e.g., techno, hip-hop, tango, salsa), contemporary dance, ballet and dance theatre. Her most recent research focuses on the globalisation and digitalisation of dance.

Klein has nearly 300 academic publications to her name, including 27 books (monographs and anthologies), book chapters and articles. Klein has many years of teaching experience and has taught at various universities and art colleges in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the United States. At the UvA, she will teach ballet and dance as part of the Master's programmes in the Department of Arts and Culture. Klein will also supervise doctoral students.

About Gabriele Klein

Klein studied sociology, history, pedagogy, sports science and dance and received her doctorate and Habilitation in sociology. Her dissertation was titled: FrauenKörperTanz. Eine Zivilisationsgeschichte des Tanzes. She has been at the University of Hamburg since 1994, first as associate professor in the Department of Sociology, and since 2002 as full professor of Sociology and Psychology of Human Movement, Dance and Performance Studies. Klein directs the International Centre for Performance Studies and initiated the postgraduate programme Performance Studies at the University of Hamburg. She has led various externally funded research groups and research training groups. She is currently principal investigator of the Cluster of Excellence "Understanding Written Artefacts".

Klein previously worked as a research associate at the Mozarteum Salzburg (Austria) and at the Ruhr-Universität Bochum (Germany). She has also been a visiting professor at the University of California Los Angeles/UCLA (USA), the University of Bern (Switzerland) and Smith College (USA), and a visiting scholar at Osaka City University (Japan), Stellenbosch University (South Africa), the International Center for Global South Advanced Studies (Argentina) and New York University (USA), among others.