About Dance Information Norway and dance in Norway
DANCE INFORMATION NORWAYDanseinformasjonen (Dance Information Norway) was established in 1994, under the name of ‘Senter for Dansekunst’. Danseinformasjonen is a national information and resource center for dance, founded by ‘Norsk Ballettforbund’ (now ‘NoDa’- the association for choreographers, dancers and pedagogues), and funded by the Ministry of Culture.
Dance Information Norway is a non-profit foundation, aiming to promote the art of dance in a multitude of ways. Working with information and documentation is of particular importance, and in addition to our weekly e-mail newsletters, we publish a bi-monthly information folder ‘Danseinformasjonen’. We are proud to present the only comprehensive overview of dance performances and dance-related activities across Norway.
In addition to activities such as providing guidance and advice, Danseinformasjonen runs a specialised library for the dance discipline, as well as a video library compromising approximately 1000 videos/dvds. The center is utilised by professional dancers, amateurs, the general public, students, the media and politicians. Danseinformasjonen also administrates the production space called ’Scenehuset’, hiring it out to choreographers and dancers. The center also coordinates several international events such as UNESCO’s ‘Dansens Dag’ (International Dance day) and festivals such as ‘Dans for Kamera’. In addition, Danseinformasjonen is one of the six participating countries in ke∂ja, a Nordic-Baltic EU project, and hosted the ke∂ja, meeting themed ‘Dance and New Media’ in the autumn of 2009. A new edition of this project is planned for 2012 - 2015.
The center has 4 employees, in addition to two 50% researchers, leading a three year project. This project will collate oral and written documentation on Norwegian dance history, focusing on the independent dance scene during 1960-1994. Danseinformasjonen activities and projects, places us as an important component of the Norwegian dance scene. From day one, the center has worked politically to establish a unique dance venue, ‘Dansens Hus’. Now a reality, we are situated in the newly renovated building, centrally in Oslo. The center will work to further enhance our profile and increase our user-base.
THE DANCE SCENE IN NORWAY TODAY - STRUCTUREAt the moment, there are only two companies; Den Norske Opera and Carte Blanche (Bergen) which receive set annual government funding, and the art-form has mainly developed in the arena of independent dance. Several independent dance companies are working with varying degrees of continuity, on project-financing from the Arts Council Norway and additional financing from smaller
The majority of companies are based in Oslo, where the infrastructure and work possibilities for dancers are more developed. Several established companies are in the capital such as: Dansdesign (Anne Grete Eriksen & Leif Hernes), zero visibility corp (Ina Christel Johannessen), Ingun Bjørnsgaard Prosjekt, impure company (Hooman Sharifi), Oslo Danse Ensemble, Eva Cecilie Richardsen and Henriette Pedersen.
However, Norwegian dance is an emerging discipline throughout the country, both in quantity and in quality. Some companies are based regionally, with partial regional financing. Stellaris DansTeater (Solveig Leinan Hermo) is based in Hammerfest and is recognised as the dance company located in the furtherest northern point in the world. Jo Strømgren Kompani use Bergen as a base for their world wide touring. In later years, the established companies have received funding exceeding 1 million kroner, for multiple years.
In addition to companies with annual support, approx. 40 companies received funding for smaller productions nationally in 2006. Regionally, new initiatives and milieus are occurring more frequently, as is the case in Stavanger/Sandnes, Trondheim and the north of Norway, but still the majority of project-based companies working with smaller funding, are based in Oslo.
Venues and tours
Prior to ‘Dansens Hus’ starting their activities on various rented premises in 2004, the three theaters for independent performance art: Black Box Teater (established 1985), BIT Teatergarasjen (1983) and Teaterhuset Avant Garden (1984) were of great importance to the development of Norwegian dance. Through the collaboration in ‘Nettverk for scenekunst’ the theaters also work to promote exchange and the touring of Norwegian and international performance art. The theaters have extensive international networks and have contributed to the promotion of Norwegian dance.
There is no tailor-made infrastructure for the touring of dance performances in Norway. From 2002 to 2006, eight productions in total toured with ‘Riksteateret ’. ‘Den kulturelle skolesekken’ and ‘Scenekunstbruket’ produce and promote performances for children and young people. However, due to practical limitations, only smaller and technically undemanding performances are considered.Festivals
There are three dance festivals in Norway; October Dance Norway (Oktoberdans ) in Bergen, established 1997, Coda – Oslo International Dance Festival, established 2002, and Dance Festival Barents , established 2004. The first two festivals occur biannually and function as a showcase for Norwegian contemporary dance, as well as visiting choreographers and companies.
‘NoDa’ – the association for choreographers, dancers and pedagogues, has 740 members this year. However, this also includes pedagogues as well as retired dancers, thus one cannot give an accurate view of the working field. Dancers are also working within theatre productions, especially musicals. Additionally, not all dancers and choreographers are unionized, but high numbers do indicate increased growth.
Dance Information Norway has documented the number of dance performances in Norway and Norwegian performances abroad, from 1995. Comparing the numbers from 1997 with 2007 reveals an increase of nearly 116% in all. The biggest increase, we see in Norwegian performances abroad with a 682% increase. In Oslo, performances increased by 123% and regionally by 51%.
For several years political parties have, across the board, agreed to increase their support of dance. The current government launched ‘Kulturløftet’ with the aim to contribute 1% of the GNP to the cultural arena, by 2014. Dance is one of the 15 entries in ‘Kulturløftet’.
NORWEGIAN DANCE HISTORY - AN OVERVIEWNorway has a relatively short dance history. This may in part be due to our unions with Sweden and Denmark, as Norway did not have a royal family, nor aristocratic patrons, under which ballet and dance could develop and flourish. But despite its short history, dance has developed greatly, especially post-WW2, and today we have a multitude of Norwegian dance of high quality.
‘Ny Norsk Ballett’, was established in 1948, as Norway’s first independent company, and is seen as the forerunner to ‘Nasjonalballetten’. The founding of a trade union for dancers in 1947, was markedly earlier than in other countries. ‘NoDa’ has continually worked to improve the conditions and rights for dancers, and has contributed to the proliferation of dance in Norway today.
Establishing the full-time education at ‘Ballettinstituttet’ (now ‘Den Norske Balletthøyskole’) and ‘Den Norske Opera’ in the middle of the 60s led to the education of more dancers and choreographers, which in turn led to the establishment of independent companies.
There were no permanent positions beyond ‘Nasjonalballetten’, so dancers would freelance, and as a result several independent companies were established in the 70s and 80s. Their directions would vary, but many were based on contemporary dance. This was in contrast to the classical direction dominating ‘Nasjonalballetten ’. In 1979‘ Statens Balletthøgskole’ was established. The educational institutions have been, and are today, very important for the development of Norwegian dance.
A public funding policy for independent performance art was first introduced in the 1980s, in the form of funding of ‘running costs’ as well as artistic development, for independent companies. The policy has since changed many times, resulting in a definition of the funds as ‘project funding’. The consequences of this have been that the majority of independent companies ceased to exist, and usually work was defined by individual projects. A choreographer would run a project and collaborate with artists and performers varying from production to production. This kind of dynamics created a notion of project-based work, contributing to a less stable work situation for dancers.
In 1989 the independent company Carte Blanche was nationalized, and relocated to Bergen. The aim was to strengthen the art of dance outside Oslo, but the decision led to extensive controversy in the dance profession. Carte Blanche is today the national contemporary dance company, and the only company bar ‘Nasjonalballetten’ with set annual funding. Permanent positions are only available in these two companies, leading to all choreographers and the majority of dancers freelancing. Contemporary dance is the dominating dance form on the independent dance scene.
In 1993 Norway showcased dance as an independent art form, in their Year of Dance. As a result, ‘Senter for Dansekunst’ (now ‘Dance Information Norway’) was established with funding from the Ministry of Culture. The founding of such a resource center for dance, with several employees, led to further the professionalism of dance and the center has contributed to the positive development of the art of dance. The center was also given the task of establishing a ’Dansens Hus’ . Today ’Dansens Hus’ is a reality and opened in February 2008. A historical and defining moment has been reached for dance in Norway.
Not here / Not ever
Kein Applaus für Scheisse
Corps de Walk
Masja Abrahamsen / Ink Productions
Dobbel bill: Abrahamsen og Skjeldal
(Multi-bill) I am about to express myselfNed i mosen med deg, menneske!
Inclusive Dance Company
Appelsiner og sitroner
Teater Innlandet, Hamar
FRIKAR dance company
Workshop med Andrew Morrish
Improfestivalen 2013: Forestillinger
Mind The Gap
Mind the Gap 2013
Gitar vs dans
Le Cirque Éloize
Time has fallen asleep in the afternoon sunshine
Marit Loe Bjørnstad
Å la falle. Å reise seg att.
Workshop med Martin Nachbar
Grilo – “En Concierto”
Dunongen og Tempusegget
Karmaconsult / Ellen Johannesen
Suppe & Spas: Jenny Svensson
Membran - Beethovens testamente
Rodrigo Sobarzo de Larraechea
A P N E A
I hengende snøre
Ingun Bjørnsgaard Prosjekt
Sigurd Johan Heide
Jo Strømgren Kompani
A dance tribute to the art of football
Untitled Black / Your Passion is Pure Joy to Me
(Multi-bill) Untitled BlackYour Passion is Pure Joy to Me
Ellen Sejersted Bødtker
Ella Fiskum Danz
Clément Layes / Public in Private
Der grüne Stuhl