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Executive Summary Aurdal Meeting Nordic Folk Pilot Study

16.12.2016 | Scen Dans Konst Lt Dalarna

View Aurdal in Norway 2016 October 22-23


The ”Nordic Folk” network for contemporary folk dance had its first meeting on 22-23/10 2016 in Aurdal, Norway. The purpose of the meeting was to establish contact between the participating parties and to discuss issues and ideas regarding establishing the network. Participating parties were from Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland represented by Andreas Berchtold from DOCH, Halgrim Hansegård and Karene Lyngholm from Frikar Dance Company, Ann-Jeanett Stål from Landstinget Dalarna, Imola Mokos from Mora Kommun, Petri Kauppinen from OUAS and choreographers Anna Öberg and Louise Crnkovic-Friis. The network pilot is supported by Nordisk kulturkontakt and Nordiska Kulturfonden.




There was a general consensus that the term “contemporary folk dance” is difficult to define. One of the major views was that it is not a genre but a perspective on folk dance in a contemporary context. Due to the divergent view of what that is, there is a wish for the term to be inclusive rather than fixed to a specific style. There is also a broad spectrum of interest within the field – everything from practical performance to movement theory and historical research.

A recurring point of concern was the political connotation to nationalism that the artists struggle with. They do not want their art politicized and especially not in the nationalist directions. There were some concerns over the “Nordic Folk” name for the network as some felt it might give the wrong idea. Generally the concept with contemporary folk dance is complex from an image point of view as the first term denotes something modern, contemporary and global while folk dance is rooted in local traditions. Oversimplifications of these concepts easily result in the whole field being taken hostage and reduced to something trivial.

Different forms for structure of the network were discussed. There was a general agreement that the fundamentals of providing the opportunity to share, interact and exchange are necessary. A discussion of relative benefits of a small vs large network was held and the conclusion was a need in flexible thinking especially considering that resources are often limited. The question of whether the network should be a creative one or facilitating one was raised and will require more discussion. An emphasis on the need for a long term vision was made – both in terms of organization, funding and planning.


A network inventory was made to see what resources existing partners are willing and able to provide and what more is needed. The primary needs are a long-term planning, funding, residency programs, laboratory programs, dancer exchange programs, touring possibilities, academic collaboration and a membership volume/commitment to reach a critical mass.

The relative benefits of an integrating vs separating the administrative and artistic activities of the network was discussed. The agreement was that while a separation may be more convenient for the artist and the administrator individually, an integrated approach opened more possibilities for exchange of knowledge and experiences. The core is a deep mutual understanding and trust of the two components.

There are a variety of reasons for interest in participation in the network and a positive sum balance must be established for the participants to get value out of it. Some parties are more interested in an abstract academic discussion while others in practical touring possibilities. The resources available may be distributed differently - the party more interested in theoretical research may have access to resources that would help a more practical minded party.

The key in using the available resources in an efficient and fair way is establishing good communication within the network. This can in part be done through electronical means but physical meetings play a significant role there – especially for a so far small network. Having a network can provide a much-needed structure in terms of organizing and communicating of the available opportunities both in terms of raw resources and of artistic collaboration.

Notes from board for the Model of 5:

1. Focus and emphasis:
Share knowledge, practices
Create a critical mass
Web based info- (community)
Choreographic folkdance
Understanding amongst each other
Develop pedagogical tools
Applications funds –get them
International co-operation
Definition of Nordic Questions of identity

2. Find out and explore:
Project management
Relevance- based on needs, interests
Meet people with different approaches
Diversity within the network
Wish for working physically
Dynamic- Good example – good knowledge of each other
A certain number of people
Initiated by the members
Act of Sharing

3. Envision the future:
Co-production Nordic dancers/choreographers
International networks – connections
Level of reflection
Circulation of dancers within the countries
Provocation, admiration
Networking is constantly changing
Activities – guest performers
Diverse definition of genre
Pushing limits
Extended platform for: understanding, generosity Interest for us-we are called upon!
Part of education- not genre specified
Affluence (not political)
Artist initiated

4. Form objectives:
Spending time
Unanimous formulations of the objects
Funding to give us time of explorations and make it happen
Based on experience and practices
Find the core
Lab Time
Collaborations with academies, institutions, research
6-year goal core values
Practical time
Meet twice a year
Att förskjuta gränsen för förståelsen av folkdans i nordisk kontext

5. Activities:
Implement feed-back models
Individual relevance
Definition: NORDIC is kind of a problematic
…the Hungarian song
Deal with the definition
Next meeting: arrangement during the pre- study: discuss goals, funding
Dissemination results…
Practical discussions, work, sharing
Core –Values: what is this? What can it be?
Multi- level – point of you or view