The international project Rail2Dance, which includes theater partners from Germany Die Theater Chemnitz, Slovenia PTL – Plesni Teater Ljubljana / Dance Theatre Ljubljana, Sweden Norrlandsoperan and Finland Tanssiteatteri MD, takes public space and the codes of behavior that define these spaces as its central theme.

With the help of dance movements, collective choreographies, dance pictures and games, the dancers of the project change and transform the codified rules of behavior determined for a certain space. The creators of the project are interested in places of passage and movement, such as railway stations, city squares and streets, and public transport. With dance interventions in public space, they not only reflect everyday practices in public spaces, but also question the meaning of community, which is increasingly disappearing in the modern world. The dance step sheds light on the taken-for-grantedness of everyday life and pre-set rules, which require specific movement and behavior for each space, and sheds light on our alienated environment, in which we still too often just walk past each other. With collective pop-up dance choreographies that suddenly emerge in public places, we can connect, at least for a moment, in a potentially different world, where we can dismantle social codes of behavior and create new rules. By spreading dance from theater to public space, the wall that can often be created by closed-in artistic creation is also broken down. Movements that merely transform spaces and the bodies in them are capable of bridging social differences, even if it’s just a moment of holding hands together, singing at the train station or lying down in the main square. In this way, the project seeks and educates a new audience for contemporary dance, which in the future might also enter theater halls.

The ideas, which were developed in Ljubljana with the help of mentors, will later branch out and be upgraded into individual and space-bound choreographic projects of all participants. The project will end in May 2023, when a group of dancers will dance their way from Tampere (Finland), and will pass Vaasa (Finland), Umea and Malmö (Sweden), go via Chemnitz (Germany), and will end the journey in Slovenia, first in Maribor and then in Ljubljana.

Performances during Tampere Dance Current festival

The 40-day long moving Rail2Dance residency starts from Tampere. The performances happening around the Tampere railway station are showcased as part of the Tampere Dance Current festival organized by Dance Theatre MD. The performances are happening with the support of Operation Pirkanmaa. 

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Picture: Drago Videmsek