Out Of Stage

Created for the Nordic Countries Collaboration project 2020.

A collaborative project involving Finnish National Ballet, Royal Swedish Ballet and Norwegian National Ballet, that began as an initiative to create a filmed dance work during a period of banned and canceled cultural events involving audiences due to the pandemic. Initial themes discussed included, exploration of natural and urban locations for dance, reflection on the impact of the pandemic on dancers and the future of the industry, reimagination of traditional dance platforms and how they can become more accessible through digital presentation.

These themes were then used as a framework to generate written and choreographic material. The dancers learnt a unison movement phrase which emphasised a quality of extension away from the centre, searching for new space around them. Danced without music, it required the establishment of a silent rhythmic structure, embodied and controlled by the dancers. The dancers also developed solo material through guided improvisation and movement choice clarification. The decision to use recorded spoken text instead of music allowed for a more direct characterisation of the dancers as dancers who, unable to perform on their stage, wander out, looking for someplace to dance.

The unison movement phrase was filmed on the main stage of the Oslo Opera House with a circling steadicam, exposing the naked stage and empty auditorium whilst capturing the dancers performing for no audience. The solo phrases were filmed at two outdoor locations that were at the intersection of natural and urban environments. In front of an art gallery overlooking the Oslofjord, and in front of a glass room installation inside a forested park. These then became the new stages for the dancers, as they reframed their perception of the traditional proscenium.

Video: Jørund Langeggen
Text: Simon McNally
Voice: Kathryn Walsh Thomas
Dancers: Alberto Ballester, Nae Nishimura, Sonia Vinograd
Photography: Akira Hojo (joephotography)