Switzerland moves to the rhythm of dance, especially at the biennial Dance Festival Steps, when international dance performances sweep the entire country off its feet. Founded by Migros Culture Percentage in the early days of contemporary dance in 1988, the Dance Festival Steps draws people from all over Switzerland and gives momentum to the smallest cultural sectors. The Confederation has also joined in this endeavour, supporting events such as the annual dance festival, the biennial Swiss Contemporary Dance Days and the biennial Swiss Dance Awards, which were introduced in 2013.
Dance offers advantages over other arts: body focus allows for ways of expression that touch the audience and can cross cultural boundaries with elegance and ease. The Dance Festival Steps uses this potential by inviting around a dozen companies from all over the world to Switzerland under the motto ‘Die Welt tanzt an’ (‘the world waltzes in’). At the same time, the event brings facets of contemporary dance closer to a broad audience. Local dance creations also have their place in the festival programme, e.g. in projects and formats such as stage dancing workshops for young people.
For three decades, Steps has been a tangible expression of the Confederation’s cultural objective: to involve as many people as possible in culture. I hope that this year’s festival will be a commemorative occasion as it marks its thirtieth anniversary. I would like to thank the organisers for their commitment and wish the artists great success. To everyone attending the various dance performances, I wish you inspiring moments.
Federal President Alain Berset
Head of the Federal Department of Home Affairs
Picture: Gaetan Bally – Keystone