“In front of Silke Z.’s relentlessly analytical gaze, cool self-portrayals collapse and show their shrivelled core: a few years ago, it was harmonious aunts and powerful martial arts heroes who demonstrate above all helplessness in the face of the big questions of life, but today it’s stalkers, eternally young old people, or the cuddly male mates of the 30+ generation. At Silke Z., these zeitgeist types are allowed to do what most people like most: failure. In humorous theatrical scenes and precisely worked movement choreographies with a preference for brute body checks and dance stunts, the embarrassing becomes the all-too-human. Silke Z. – a guarantee for emotion. Only at pain thresholds does reality reveal itself. “

(Nicole Strecker, dance journalist)


Silke Z. lives with her family in Cologne. After graduating in sports (DSHS) with a focus on dance and skiing, she studied dance at the European Dance Development Center (EDDC) in Arnhem, NL and the Moving On Center – School for Participatory Arts and Research (MOC) in San Francisco, USA.

She is artistic director of the company Silke Z./resistdance and the intergeneartional ensemble »die metabolisten« based in Cologne. She develops dance and performance art at home and abroad.

The ensemble – a constantly changing, transdisciplinary space of thought and action – with the focus on dance and performance observes people, society(s) and their movement sequences and shifts. The collaboration of a wide variety of artists, dancers, thinkers, producers, acquisition and office workers makes it possible to examine social and individual movements heterogeneously and from different perspectives.

Her productions have received numerous awards, including the 1999 and 2008 Cologne Dance Awards, the 2000 and 2004 Promotion Awards for Free Theatre NRW Theaterzwang, and nominations for the Isadora Duncan Dance Award (California).

For her youth work she was nominated for the German Theatre Prize Der Faust 2013, invited to the 1st Dance Meeting of Youth in Berlin and awarded the Children’s and Youth Theatre Prize in 2015. She is the head of dance and play development at the theatre and media class of the Albertus Magnus Gymnasium in Cologne, where she regularly works on productions with schoolgirls.

Silke Z. heads the ehrenfeldstudios, an intergenerative and interdisciplinary production and work place for free dance in Cologne.

From 2004 to 2008 she curated the dance series Tanzkonkret in Cologne and from 2010 to 2012 the performance series “Wie Leben geht”.

In 2011, together with seven European partners, she founded the studiotrade network, which now counts 15 partners and is a very active network led by artists that offers alternative support to traditional institutions in the production process for artists as well as performance platforms.

In 2014 Silke Z. published a book about the previous dance performance series Unter Uns! entitled: “UNTER UNS! – Artistic Research – Biography – Performance” published by transcript Verlag. Her artistic and practical research on the subject of “Performing Immediacy” takes place as part of a doctorate at the University of Falmouth (GB).

In the winter semester 2018/2019, she will take over the NRW lectureship at the Ruhr University Bochum as part of the M.A. programme Scenic Research.

In 2020 she received conceptual funding from the state of North Rhine-Westphalia for her multi-year project “The empathic body”, which is being implemented in cooperation with Fokus Tanz München and the Junge Schauspielhaus Bochum. The result is both intergenerational stage productions with a focus on young people and educational formats that are offered in schools. 



Silke Z. resistdance – a constantly changing, transdisciplinary space of thought and action – with a focus on dance and performance. The Cologne-based company has been producing and touring at home and abroad since 1999. It sees itself as a kind of open system that focuses on research into dance performance development, audience encounters and the break-up of the classical stage space. Under the artistic direction of Silke Z. it observes people, society(s) and their movements and shifts. The collaboration of a wide variety of artists, dancers, thinkers, producers, acquisition and office workers makes it possible to examine social and individual movements in a heterogeneous way, looking at them from different perspectives. In this way, transmedial performance and dance theatre pieces are sometimes created, sometimes questioning, sometimes provocative or reflective, that provide impulses for consciousness, feeling and thought.



die metabolisten (the metabolists) are a free, intercultural and intergenerative dance and performance ensemble dedicated to an interdisciplinary, research-oriented working method at the interfaces of socio-cultural phenomena and their somatic manifestations. In doing so, they pursue the approach of absolutely contemporary and contemporary artistic work.


  • Intergenerational

The 10 members of die metabolisten have an age difference of 44 years. They thus follow the ideal of the so-called real bodies concept, an attitude in contemporary dance that deliberately turns against normative-aesthetic attributions of physical beauty.

  •  Free

As a non-institutional and free ensemble, die metabolisten are willing to record their artistic work in a flat-hierarchical manner under conditions that do without the constraints of a spectator’s taste to be fulfilled. Thus, they are able to bundle and explore a large intersection of thematic focal points of interest with the ensemble leadership.

  • Intercultural

die metabolisten originate from various socio-cultural backgrounds of life and socialization and thus, as ensemble bodies, possess a high diversity and density of mental and organismic resources.

  • Interdisciplinary

die metabolisten work on the background of an enormous pool of artistic origins with the basic demand of an interdisciplinary approach to all projects that they transform into artistic products. Thus they develop a contemporary dance theatre that uniquely reflects and transcends life and its conditions at the beginning of the 21st century.



Art is space for action!

Located in the heart of Cologne-Ehrenfeld, the site of the former games circus with its two halls, spacious cloakrooms, toilets and showers, foyer, storerooms, office buildings and a covered courtyard, the dance interested audience and the scene itself should invite to linger. In addition, an artists’ café will be set up on the site, which will work according to the needs of the dance venue. The local connection to public transport is optimal due to the stop of line 5 – Liebigstraße. The ehrenfeldstudios are only a 2-minute walk away. A regional connection is also optimally given by the proximity of the Ehrenfeld railway station (5 minutes on foot). Ehrenfeld is a district with strong cultural growth, many children and multicultural. Here, culturally active places have developed and new ones that think and work together in a network are constantly growing. This results in synergies and cooperation that have a positive effect on urban society.

The location pursues an intergenerational and interdisciplinary approach and stands for artistic works – productions as well as projects – which create a place for urban society through their open, diverse image of man. Artists* produce and show their productions, mediate, research artistically (participatively) and develop unusual formats for all ages.

Under the direction of Silke Z. and Caroline Simon, the association works with the active founding members on the visibility of the performing arts – especially dance – and on regional, supraregional and international networking. Intergenerational, interdisciplinary and inclusive thinking is strengthened and lived as a broadening of perspectives. The integration of new knowledge opens up innovative work and promotes the development of the art scene.

All age groups are invited to make their own experiences on site, exchange ideas and enter into a lively dialogue.