Physical Education and Dance Teacher Gertrude Krombholz

„I am a Woman of Movement“

TUM Alumna Gertrude Krombholz was a physical education teacher trainer at TUM, specialised in many areas of sports and dance, and took part in three Olympic and 16 Paralympic Games. To promote her passion, she donated an award to TUM.

Dr. Gertrude Krombholz was born in 1933 in Tetschen in Northern Bohemia and spent her childhood in Leitmeritz an der Elbe. Her father held a doctorate in law, and if things had gone his way, his daughter would have followed in his footsteps. Luckily, however, she turned out very much like her sports-loving mother. Otherwise the world would have lost a great pioneer of dance and physical education.

At the age of two and a half she already stood on custom-made skis in the Giant Mountains and at the age of eighty-five she still presented the medals at the Paralympic Games in Pyeongchang. Movement is Gertrude Krombholz’s purpose in life. Her eventful life testifies to an inexhaustible enthusiasm and commitment to sports.

Unprecedented life dedicated to sports

Gertrude Krombholz studied Physical Education for Secondary Schools at the Bavarian Sports Academy, as well as Chemistry and Geography at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München and at the Technische Hochschule München [Technical College of Munich] (later TUM). After completing her state examination, she first taught at a grammar school and was soon appointed as a lecturer at the Bavarian Sports Academy in Grünwald. At the age of just thirty she was appointed Head of Sports Philology Training at the academy, which became a part of TUM after the Olympic Games in 1972. “That was indeed extraordinary,” she says proudly. “After all I am a woman of movement.” But this came to no surprise, because she was an extraordinarily versatile and highly committed training manager, who transferred her passion for sports, her drive and verve to all students, in fact even to her entire environment.

I’ve been to over 40 countries and met wonderful people. I had a wonderful work life.

With great enthusiasm, Gertrude Krombholz was in charge of the subject area of Gymnastics, Dance, Music and Movement at TUM. From 1973 onwards she was the Deputy Head and in the remaining years up to her retirement in 1998 she was Head Academic Director of the physical education teacher training programme. Be it athletics, swimming, dancing or skiing, she always taught with great passion. As a matter of course she modernised the training of physical education teachers by introducing Jazz Dance and Rock´n´Roll . After a few semesters, her university sports courses were brimming with more than 200 students. “I was a magnet,” she says confidently.

TUM's Münchner Moriskentänzer at a performance.

The Münchner Moriskentänzer [Munich Moresca Dancers] dancers of TUM have even performed their artistic jumps in the Swedish Royal Palace. The regular performances in Munich, at the festivities on the occasion of the city’s foundation or at the Munich Costume and Hunters’ Parade are a matter of honour for Gertrude Krombholz’ dance group. In this picture, TUM President Wolfgang A. Herrmann is riding in the carriage, too (Photo: Andreas Heddergott/TUM).

In order to set herself apart from her male colleagues, Gertrude Krombholz also completed her training as a dance teacher. In 1973 she became the only dance teacher of the German Dance Teachers Association at a German university. TUM could only profit from its open-mindedness towards new things: since 1976 the Münchner Moriskentänzer [Munich Moresca Dancers] founded by Gertrude Krombholz here at TUM have been receiving international acclaim. The Moresca was originally a Moorish dance with numerous capers  and leaps, which spread in the 15th century from North Africa over Southwest Europe and also to Germany. To date, more than 200 Moriscos, mostly students and alumni, have represented  the TUM at over 500 dance performances in Germany and abroad.

Enthusiasm in its purest form and across all borders

Gertrude Krombholz’s professional competence and organisational talent not only gave decisive impetus to gymnastics and dance at TUM, but also influenced their style internationally. As a proven expert, she cocreated the festivities of the Olympic Games for several years as chief hostess and co-choreographer. For a further thirteen years she worked for the “International Paralympic Committee (IPC)” – as Chairwoman of the Wheelchair Dance Sport (today “Para Dance”), which she personally founded and established internationally. Someone being as dance-enthusiastic as Gertrude Krombholz would not want to see anyone excluded from the dance movement, would like to involve and support everyone, worldwide. “I was in over 40 countries with seminars, workshops and dance performances and met wonderful people”, she says, “I had a wonderful work life and I am grateful to God that I was able to experience all this”.

Far from retirement

Since 1999 Gertrude Krombholz is supporting talented students at TUM with the award named after her. In order to make sure that the funds for the annual award ceremony are ensured at all times, she also set up a foundation with TUM President Wolfgang A. Herrmann. Gertrude Krombholz simply doesn’t do things by halves. The residents of the retirement home, located at the beautiful Ammersee Lake, to where she moved in 2006 to spend her remaining years, have noticed that very quickly. Her life here is far from retirement. After Gertrude Krombholz, sprightly and always in a good mood, did not find any comrades-in-arms to join her on her self-tracked cross-country ski trail, she started a walking frame dance group without further ado. “If there’s wheelchair dance, there’s walker dance,” she says with full conviction.