Performer – Audience Interaction

The intention of this project is to search for, test and develop techniques for performer – audience interaction in folk dance – a new field of Norwegian dance art which is searching for a profile which include participatory elements. The project consists of four phases.

First, until March 2012 participants of the project looked into existing practices of performer-audience interaction in dance art and related fields in academic literature, asked for support from colleagues internationally. Artistic leader of the project Sigurd Johan Heide made first drafts of a possible development of the project with bachelor students in traditional dance, NTNU.  The focus was on how the public reacts to different modifications of performer-audience interaction. In April 2012 the questionnaire was sent to participants of IPEDAM – the intensive Erasmus course in dance anthropology and ethnochoreology. Teachers and students were asked in the questionnaire about their knowledge regarding performer-audience interaction. Various hints and references to artistic productions and trials were collected. Egil Bakka, Anne Margrete Fiskvik, Gediminas Karoblis, Marit Stranden og Siri Mæland – the staff from dance studies program at NTNU involved in the project – presented the main idea, the starting phase and results of theoretical search. During the same course researchers from 14 different European Universities shared their insights into theoretic and methodic aspects of such artistic research.  22-29 July, 2012 some of the participants of the project had the panel presentation “How performer-spectator relationship affects private and public place distinction” at the 27th Symposium of the ICTM Study Group for Ethnochoreology (Limerick, Ireland). The presentation will be published in Proceedings of the conference.

Second, 30 August, 2012 the brainstorming seminar analysing artistic validity and practical feasibility for performer-audience interaction took place. Three external, highly competent professionals were invited: Leif Stinnerbom, a choreographer and the director of the Västanå Theater from Sweden, Fabrice David, a choreographer from France, Professor László Felföldi from Szeged University, Hungary. Gro Marie Svidal, a musician and Bygdadansar coordinator was also invited. The staff of dance studies program, NTNU and the choreographer of the project Sigurd Johan Heide moderated the seminar. The staff from the Centre of Norwegian Council for Traditional Music and Dance and Erasmus Mundus master program students participated in the the second part of the seminar. Choreographers presented their own principles regarding performer-audience interaction. A lot of ideas were generated during the brainstorming seminar. The idea of the contract between an audience and a choreographer was in the focus. How the contract could be followed, challenged or modified?

Third, 11 July, 2013 an artistic presentation of the project took place in Trondheim as a part of the joint conference of Society of Dance History Scholars and Nordic Forum for Dance Research arranged by NTNU dance studies program. Sigurd Johan Heide’s choreography Together – an interactive five part suite based on Norwegian traditional dances was built up on the earlier developments of the project. The performance based itself on the most important premise of traditional dances from Norway – participation. A lot of experimental and innovative ideas were implemented in the choreography. In Together the stage and the audience weren’t separated. Eight professional and amateur dancers Sigurd Johan Heide, Inga Myhr, Sigrun Berstad, Sina Myhr, Asgeir Heimdal, Dina Bruun Arnesen, Nina Sølsnes, Agnar Olsen, Marit Stranden, Vegar Vårdal, Gro Marie Svidal, a musician Ingrid Stuhaug and a lightning designer Nils Christian Boberg were involved. The performance was filmed and will be included as a part of a publication on which the team of the project currently works in order to disseminate the results of the project.