The Deutsches Tanzarchiv Köln is a globally networked information, documentation and research centre focused on dance. Alongside the Jerome Robbins Dance Division of the New York Public Library and the Dansmuseet Stockholm it is one of the world's three foremost archives of the art of dancing.
The unique stocks of the archive, which was founded by Kurt Peters in 1948, also comprise a photographic collection encompassing approx. 170,000 photos and more than 120,000 original negatives and slides.
A host of major photographers is represented within it in vintage prints: Cyril Arapoﬀ, Marta Astfalck-Vietz, Ellen Auerbach, Roberto Baccarini, Baron, Lili Altschul-Baruch, David S. Berlin, E. Bieber, Alexander Binder, Dieter Blum, Erwin Blumenfeld, Brassaï, Suse Byk, Chargesheimer, Erich Consemüller, Minya Diez-Dührkoop, Werner Eckelt, Waldemar Eide, Alfred Eisenstaedt, Hugo Erfurth, Michael Fackelmann, Trude Fleischmann, Arnold Genthe, Maurice Goldberg, Harlip, Heinrich Heidersberger, Fritz Henle, Hanns Holdt, Dora Horovitz, Walde Huth, Lotte Jacobi, Genja Jonas, Frederick Kaeser II., Hannes Kilian, Germaine Krull, Robert Lebeck, Erna Lendvai-Dircksen, Serge Lido, Herbert List, Eli Lotar, Manassé, Elli Marcus, Willy Maywald, Nickolas Muray, d’Ora, George Platt Lynes, Albert Renger-Patzsch, Gerhard Riebicke, Riess, Anna Riwkin, Hans Robertson, Charlotte Rudolph, Sosenko, Bettina Stöß, Sasha Stone, Liselotte Strelow, Swiridoﬀ, Herbert Tobias, Umbo, Walter Vogel, Lucien Walery, Gert Weigelt, Edward Weston, Yva, Zander & Labisch, Matthias Zölle and Ridha Zouari.
The stock also includes the archives of the dance and ballet photographers Siegfried Enkelmann, Annelise Löffler, Hans Rama, Dietmar Dünhöft, Jörg Hintze and Udo Hesse, as well as dance-related subsidiary archives and special holdings, including those of the photographers Will Burgdorf, Walter Boje, K. A. Petraschk, Matthias and Gabriele du Vinage, Fritz Peyer and Robert d'Hooghe and a collection of historical photo postcards comprising 3,000 objects.
History and present day are also repeated themes of the dance museum’s exhibitions. The photographic collection therefore also comprises several archived exhibitions on the contemporary examination of dance by the visual arts, including the series curated by the Deutsches Tanzarchiv Köln, ‘Fotografen sehen Tanz’ (‘Photographers Visualize Dance’). In 2006, the Deutsches Tanzarchiv Köln developed the touring exhibition ‘Angehaltene Zeit. Bilder vom Tanz’, which was presented via Goethe Institutes worldwide.