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Ukraine protest 1

On the war in Ukraine

together with the management of Burg Rothenfels we, the scientific committee of the symposium, would like to explain here our position in the debate about Putin's invasion of Ukraine:

For more than two months war has been raging again in Europe. Every day we receive news and images of the horror of war, of terrible devastation and uncounted deaths. While the people in Ukraine are fighting for their lives, a great wave of solidarity is forming in the Western world, which, in addition to impressive symbolic acts, has also launched an incredible amount of concrete aid for Ukraine and the millions of Ukrainian refugees.

It is understandable that in this atmosphere there are also calls for a boycott of everything Russian, for Russian art and culture to be banned and for all people of Russian nationality to be declared enemies. We too have been approached with demands to disinvite our Russian speakers. While we have already sent a signal of solidarity with Ukraine at an early stage, we have, however, decided to stick to our program, which also highlights Russian dance history, and our speakers from Russia. Of course, this does not change our condemnation of Putin's war of aggression and our solidarity with the people of Ukraine.

As dance historians, we are used to looking at European history in its context. The fact that we are intensely concerned with the joyful side of dance in no way allows us to overlook or downplay the atrocities of war that can be found everywhere and in all centuries. We are also aware that the past 70 years of peace have been an extraordinary event in European history. Precisely for this reason, we are convinced that fueling the spiral of prejudice and hatred out of a sense of "having to do something after all" in the face of horrific events will not help the Ukrainian people in the short or long term and will only make the necessary return to peace more difficult.
When we developed the 2020 Symposium program three years ago, we were pleased to be able to include some contributions from Eastern Europe and Russia, cultural regions little known in Western Europe. The fact that these contributions are now being put in a new light by the invasion of Ukraine is not something we see as a reason to "clean up" our program, but rather as a motivation for a thorough examination of the diverse history and culture of Eastern Europe, which has often enough also been shaped by Western invasions.

It is our firm conviction that cultural, artistic (dance) and intellectual exchange has been an essential element of international understanding and peaceful coexistence over many centuries. Therefore, even and especially in these oppressive times, we want to hold on to this and welcome people from all regions with our conference and create connections beyond political divides in the common experience of our dance history. We would be delighted if as many dance researchers, dance makers and dancers as possible would support us on this path.

Herrsching, 8 May 2022:

Markus Lehner, Herrsching
Prof. em. Carol Marsh, USA,
Prof. em. Marie-Thérèse Mourey, France
Dr. Irene Brandenburg, Austria,
Dr. Anne Daye, Great Britain
(Scientific Committee of the Historical Dance Symposium 2022)

Phillip Fuhrmann, Rothenfels
(Bildungsreferent Burg Rothenfels am Main)