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Rethink Aging - a symposium on dance and aging

The symposium will be held on April 1, 2020 in connection with the final meeting of the project Rethink Aging Nordic: Art, Health & Research. The project is a network of actors from the five Nordic countries and is funded by the Nordic Cultural Gateway. The first meeting of the network was in Stockholm in the spring of 2019, but the final meeting of the project will be held in Reykjavík in April 2020. The special guest of the event in Reykjavík will be the German dance group Resistdance, who will perform the work Best of 65 by choreographer Silke Z.


The goal of the symposium is to start a conversation about dance and aging on a broad basis. Dance is a healthy movement, but it is also an art. Dancing can be a fun workout, but it also opens up avenues for expression and activates the imagination. We want to reach a diverse group of participants; dancers of all ages, staff and participants in the leisure activities of senior citizens, health professionals and people interested in public health, to name a few. The content of the seminar is truly relevant to many people.


The draft agenda can be seen below.


More about the project Rethink Aging Nordic: Art, Health & Research and the symposium


The project Rethink Aging Nordic: Art, Health & Research examines age and contemporary dance from various perspectives. What is it like to age as a dancer? What challenges does it bring? Does age open up new opportunities? How do different ages appear on stage? What effect does working with contemporary dance have on senior citizens, who do not have a background in dance? What is the value of the participation of senior citizens in art events? 


Rethink Aging Nordic is based on a conversation between five Nordic choreographers, who deal with the subject of dance and age in different ways. In one year, five meetings are held in five countries. In connection with each meeting, more people are invited to the conversation and the discussion is thus expanded so that it reaches the local community. In Stockholm, orthopedic doctors took an active part in a symposium when the first meeting was held, and in Aarhus, representatives from local authorities in the region attended the discussion, but there a pilot project on dancing with the elderly has recently been completed and a decision is being made on the next steps._cc781905-5cde-3194- bb3b-136bad5cf58d_


Here we would like to connect the project with various groups that work to increase the quality of life in the elderly. We are collaborating with Berglindi Indriðadóttir, an occupational therapist at the Successful Aging Knowledge Center, who has shown great interest in the project and connected us with both interesting groups and speakers. We are also in conversation with Þórhildi Kristinsdóttir, a geriatrician. Good work is being done in many places in this area, but we want to strengthen the role of art and especially dance in the conversation about the second half of the training, and Ásgerður G. Gunnarsdóttir, the artistic director of Reykjavik Dance Festival, has already confirmed his participation in the seminar.


Nordic participants in Rethink Aging Nordic: Art, Health & Research

Nønne Svalholm (DK)

Danish choreographer Nønne Svalholm has for years focused on artistic projects with non-professional dancers and the age group 60+. She has done both large group works that test interaction and listening, and smaller works that give the opportunity to dig deeper. She is currently working on a solo exhibition for Sisse Lunøe, 69. 


Anna Nordanstedt (NO)

As the years increase, the field of interest changes, and after a long career as a dancer and choreographer, Anna Nordanstedt now works mainly with older dancers. She is the Artistic Director of Creme Fraiché Dance Company (60+). Anna is the manager of Dans i Trøndelag and  a consultant at Nasjonalt kompetansenter for kultur, helse og sorgm.


Björn Säfsten (SE)

Some time ago, the collaboration between Björn Säfsten and Dansens hus in Stockholm began, where he was hired to give participatory lectures for the public to increase the understanding of artistic dance as a means of expression. The courses were a hit, and later he developed the course specifically for older participants. The courses are in the spirit that everyone has the right to enjoy art and participate in artistic creation.


Elli Isokoski (FI)

Finnish choreographer and filmmaker Elli Isokoski works a lot with those who, due to physical or mental aging, find it difficult to attend art events. She visits people where they live and through the short film format they explore movements, ideas and dance together. The latest film is based on the idea of Anja, a 91-year-old dancer, who herself plays the main role in the film.


Ólöf Ingólfsdóttir (IS)

After a long career as a choreographer and teacher, Ólöf now works as a project manager at Dansverkstæðin. For years, she has taught Hafdís Árnadóttir's musical gymnastics group, but the age range of the group is currently 58 - 80 years old. Ólöf has now started an artistic collaboration with the group and the group has exhibited at the Golden Age Gym Festival in Italy.

The dance workshop


Dansverkstæðið - studios of choreographers, was founded in 2010 by a group of choreographers who wanted to improve the working conditions of choreographers. The dance workshop rents practice rooms to performing artists; dancers, theater groups, opera groups and circus artists. 

The dance workshop organizes regular training sessions and courses for dancers and other performing artists. By participating in various international projects, Dansverkstæðið participates in the development of the art of dance and contributes to increased opportunities for dance artists. The dance workshop is a common platform and a home for independent dance artists.


Draft agenda: Wednesday, April 1, 2020


10 - 12: What are choreographers thinking? Participation lecture - Björn Säfsten (SE)

12 - 13 Lunch break. Soup and bread offered by the house.

13 - 15 Short talk

  • Art and public health. The possibilities of art to increase the quality of life in later years - speaker unconfirmed.

  • Dance shorts. A way to create with senior citizens - Elli Isokoski (FI).

  • Danced for 60 years - Hafdís Árnadóttir, musical theater teacher and owner of the Kramhús.

  • Creativity is ageless - Nønne Svalholm (DK)

  • A national lecturer from the health sector tells about his work - lecturer unconfirmed

  • Age and Visibility - Anna Nordanstedt (NO)

15 - 16 Discussions and coffee - Ólöf Ingólfsdóttir leads discussions.




19 - 20 Best of 65. Dance performance by German choreographer Silke Z and Resistdance.

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