The project is formed by the same principles as the Black Choreographic Initiative from the 90’s UK, where a proactive support and development for black choreographers brought a strong growth of excellence in this field. The theme and process is inspired by funding schemes such as Unlimited and Access Unlimited, created to support deaf and disabled artists.
Dance is an art form that strives to capture the individual in the global, the essence of human experience or human thought. For the continued fulfillment of the role of the arts in society it is vital that a diversity of voices comes through in expression of each art form. It is believed that it is to the detriment of human development if only a majority view of the world is being expressed. DNVCI aims to counter this directly and pro-actively. Much like the Creative Case for Diversity, The Arts Council of England’s approach to diversity and equality, the project is founded on the conviction that the range of different bodies and backgrounds add to the creative possibilities, thereby stimulating and expanding creativity and the expressive potential on stage.
Looking at the choreographic voices that are presented in Norway, Sweden and Iceland makes clear that there is a discrepancy between the demographic of the country and the demography of the artistic voices. If one takes the proportion of disabled professional dance artists in Norway for example and compares to the proportion of people in society with a disability, it is clear that we have far to go before the professional dance scene is representative. There is however a striking variation between the countries: Sweden has a small but developing number of high quality disabled dance artists, whilst Norway and Iceland have had little to no initiatives to develop this aspect of the scene and thereby few to no disabled dance artists within the professional scene.
DNVCI support all three countries at the stage that they are now by creating a unique opportunity for development of both disabled artists and of artists that work with access or norm criticism at the core of their artistic work. Thereby the long-term aim is to support the development of greater diversity of artists as well as to develop further the voices that are establishing themselves within the region.
Outside the norm?
DNVCI does NOT aim to strengthen the voice of the selected artists to fulfill a specific role as a voice of a minority. Rather, it aims to strengthen and develop the individual voice, free of any demands of being a representative of anything more than their own artistic voice.
Why this focus? The definition of an individual human being is to be distinct from a group*(Oxford Oxford Living Dictionary, www.oxforddictionaries.com). For disabled artist it is a fact that one’s artistic voice, more often than for a non-disabled artist, becomes defined by the singular physical distinction from the group, and not by the multi-layered individual artistic expression. The project aims therefore to give opportunity to strengthen and develop an individual artistic voice to bring forward the distinct and clear representation of an individual and that person’s experience and perspective. In that way it will bring forward the non-normative in each and every one.
DNVCI therefore aims to actively focus on developing artistic voices so that this will ensure that the project become an active diversifier of the dance field in the Nordic region.