In 1925, at only 23 years old, Gret Palucca established her own school in Dresden after realizing she wanted more than a dance career. In the Nazi period, she was not allowed to teach from 1936 onwards and her school was closed in 1939. However, she was still allowed to dance and even performed as part of the opening Ceremony of the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin.
In July 1945, shortly after the end of the war, Palucca reopened her school in Dresden. Her school was nationalized in 1949, and granted the status of a technical school for artistic dance. Palucca invented the subject of “new artistic dance”, so as to be able to incorporate her own individual concept for the teaching of improvisation into the school syllabus. Instruction in the new Palucca School building, built in Dresden in 1957, was dominated by classical dance in the Russian tradition.
Palucca taught here until shortly before her death in 1993. After the peaceful revolution in the GDR, and in the search for a contemporary education profile, the School began to reflect on its own tradition. A thorough education in the three pillars of Ballet, Contemporary/ Modern Dance and Improvisation became a permanent component of the profile of the School and is what sets it apart. In 1993, the Palucca Schule Dresden was accorded equal status with the Universities of the Performing and Fine Arts as a stand-alone institution.
In 1999, the School was restructured and became the first and so far only independent German Hochschule (University) solely for Dance. Since August 2006, Canadian-born Jason Beechey has been Rector of the School. In 2010, in recognition of the evolution of the School, the name was adapted to Palucca Hochschule für Tanz Dresden.
Jason Beechey – Rector
Rector of the Palucca University of Dance Dresden since August 2006, Jason Beechey is also the General Coordinator of the D.A.N.C.E Programme.
A graduate of Canada’s National Ballet School, he completed his training at the Vaganova Ballet Academy in St. Petersburg and under Stanley Williams at the School of American Ballet in New York City.
Beginning his career as a soloist with the London City Ballet, he then danced for 15 years with Charleroi/Danses in Belgium. Passionate for dance based upon ballet, contemporary and improvisation, as well as of providing opportunities for young dancers to explore their creativity, this led him to assume parallel to his dance career, the position of Training Director for the National Choreographic Centre Charleroi/Danses, to founding his own studio in Brussels, “The Loft” and to the creation of the D.A.N.C.E. Programme, in close collaboration with William Forsythe, Wayne McGregor, Frédéric Flamand and Angelin Preljocaj.
Bringing his vision to the Palucca Hochschule für Tanz Dresden since 2006, this has led to a redefinition of the profile of the university as well as the creation of new initiatives, such as the Apprentice Programme with the Semperoper Ballet, Tanzplan Dresden and the building of a global network of exchanges programmes and partner schools.
He is the first speaker of the AKT Conference (Ausbildungskonferenz Tanz) which unites the 10 professional dance training institutions of Germany, serves regularly as a jury member for Youth America Grand Prix and is a member of the Artistic Committee of the Prix de Lausanne.