Heiko Hahnewald Breakdance Collection
01662 Meißen Burgstraße 29 , Deutschland
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Provenance and cultural activities
The breakdance movement emerged in the 1970s in the US and reached the GDR at the beginning of the 1980s along with hip hop and rap music, DJ-ing and graffiti art. Breakdancing came as a movement with a high potential for subversion and as part of a rapidly developing autonomous culture embraced in particular by young people. Local authorities observed this development skeptically, tolerating it until they were able to integrate it (with anti-imperialist undertones) institutionally. The movement was more easily controlled through various forms of funding and state support.
According to Leonard Schmieding's fundamental study on Hip Hop in the GDR (2014), break-dancers succeeded in maintaining their own interests, despite state support and sanctioning. Despite identification on and emphasis of the anti-imperialist codes, the majority of the images and symbols associated with hip-hop and Black-American culture remained foreign to the organs of state security. Many hip hop artists were able to break imaginatively out of the GDR by way of their iconography; through rap, they processed their dissatisfaction with "real socialism ".
Heiko Hahnewald was one of the first break-dancers in the GDR, obtaining his license as a soloist in 1987, and a license for freelance dancing shortly thereafter. Hahnewald and his "Break Crew" received gigs through the state-run district cultural center of Meißen. He started his collection initially for the purpose of preserving his own memories. In short order, however, the collection grew, via the incorporation of further documents from fellow break-dancers into one of the largest contiguous records of the breakdance movement in the GDR. Personal reflections of the people involved often provide the only opportunity to assess the ephemeral performances of hip-hop culture in the GDR. Therefore, this collection has already been consulted for several exhibitions, film and publication projects.
Description of content
The numerous documents and, above all, everyday objects from the collection offer a very good impression of the life, world of ideas, practice and autonomous adaptation of space in breakdance culture in the GDR. They likewise highlight the ambivalent relationship between various state and cultural functionaries. A focal point of the collection is the performance calendar of "Hahnys Break Crew". A large part of the collected documents is already available in digital form.
- memorabilia (posters, flyers, stamps, etc.): 100-499
- music recordings: 500-999
- photos: 1000-
- publications (books, newspapers, articles, press clippings): 500-999
- video recordings (including oral history recordings): 100-499
- voice recordings (including oral history recordings): 10-99
Geographical scope of recent operation
Date of founding
Place of founding
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Creator(s) of content
Important events in the history of the collection
- visits by appointments
Author(s) of this page
- Sonnenberg, Uwe
Hahnewald, Heiko "Hahny", interview by Sonnenberg, Uwe, August 09, 2016. COURAGE Registry Oral History Collection