The seniors of the AWO Ballet had planned several performances at the Federal Garden Show in Mannheim. But six of the 14 costumes were objected to by the organizers: there were concerns about “intercultural sensitivity”, and there were also accusations of cultural appropriation. The show was on the brink. The seniors either wanted to appear in their costumes – or not at all. An agreement has now been reached.

As announced by the organizers of the Federal Garden Show, the AWO Ballet is allowed to dance on the Buga as planned, but they have to adapt three of the costumes “in order to meet the cultural demands of the country concerned,” as the announcement says. One wants to maintain the necessary sensitivity and show cultural characteristics without serving stereotypes. The stage program should be largely retained so that the voluntary work of the AWO seniors can also be done justice. In addition, the performances are to be moved to the main stage and followed by discussions. This compromise was reached after intensive talks between the parties involved on Monday evening.

The costumes that were criticized should have symbolized a “world trip with the dream ship”. These included, for example, the Japanese kimono, the Indian sari, sombreros and ponchos for Mexico – and a disguise as a pharaoh to symbolize Egypt. “It was important for us to take something constructive with us,” says Fabian Burstein, director of cultural events at Buga.And so the pharaohs are now becoming Egyptian workers, the Mexicans have had enough of the poncho and the Asian women are becoming more modern.