At the moment, there are only two companies; The National Ballet (Den Norske Opera & Ballett, Nasjonalballetten) located in Oslo and Carte Blanche located in Bergen which receive set annual government funding, and the art-form has mainly developed in the arena of independent dance. Several independent dance companies are working with varying degrees of continuity, on project-financing from the Arts Council Norway and additional financing from smaller
The majority of companies are still based in Oslo, where infrastructure and work possibilities for dancers are more developed, although recent years have seen the establishment of regional centres and venues for dance, from Dansearena Nord in Hammerfest, to Regional Arena for Samtidsdans in Sandnes among the largest. The larger established companies are mainly found in the capital such as: Jo Strømgren kompani, zero visibility corp (Ina Christel Johannessen), Ingun Bjørnsgaard Prosjekt, impure company (Hooman Sharifi), Oslo Danse Ensemble, Eva Cecilie Richardsen and Henriette Pedersen.
However, Norwegian dance is an emerging discipline throughout the country, both in quantity and in quality. Some companies are based regionally, with partial regional financing, for instance Stellaris DansTeater (Solveig Leinan Hermo) which is based in Hammerfest and recognised as the dance company located in the furthest northern point in the world. In later years, the established companies have received funding exceeding 1 million kroner, for multiple years, through a new funding scheme in the Arts Council (basisfinansieringen).
In addition to companies with annual support, approx. 40 -50 companies annually receive funding for smaller productions nationally.
Venues and tours
Prior to ‘Dansens Hus’ starting their activities on various rented premises in 2004, the three theaters for independent performance art: Black Box Teater (established 1985), BIT Teatergarasjen (1983) and Teaterhuset Avant Garden (1984) were (and continue to be) of great importance to the development of Norwegian dance. Through the collaboration in ‘Nettverk for scenekunst’ the theaters worked to promote exchange and the touring of Norwegian and international performance art. The theaters have extensive international networks and have contributed to the promotion of Norwegian dance. However, there is no tailor-made infrastructure for the touring of dance performances in Norway. The national touring theatre ‘Riksteateret ’ produces or co-produces 1-2 dance productions every year, while through the scheme ‘Den kulturelle skolesekken’ the organisation and network ‘Scenekunstbruket’ produces and promotes a large amount of performances for children and young people, dance being a substantial part of the performances on offer.
There are three major dance festivals in Norway; October Dance Norway (Oktoberdans ) in Bergen, established 1997, Coda – Oslo International Dance Festival, established 2002, and Dance Festival Barents, established 2004. The first two festivals occur biannually and function as a showcase for Norwegian contemporary dance, as well as visiting choreographers and companies. The latest years several smaller festival initiatives have emerged, like Multiplié (Trondheim) Ravnedans in Kristiansand, Norwegian festival for dance and film (Haugesund), Improfestivalen, Mind The Gap, Rethink Dance, Urban Moves, and more. Black Box Theatre in Oslo recently renamed Marstrand, its annual performing arts festival Oslo International Theatre festival, and continues to present cutting edge contemporary dance.
‘NoDa’ – the association for choreographers, dancers and pedagogues, has more than 700 members. However, this also includes pedagogues as well as retired dancers, thus one cannot give an accurate view of the working field. Dancers are also working within theatre productions, especially musicals. Additionally, not all dancers and choreographers are unionized, but high numbers do indicate increased growth in the dancers community.
Dance Information Norway has documented the number of dance performances in Norway and Norwegian performances abroad, from 1995. Comparing the numbers from 1997 with 2007 reveals an increase of nearly 116% in all. The biggest increase, we see in Norwegian performances abroad with a 682% increase. In Oslo, performances increased by 123% and regionally by 51%.
For several years political parties have, across the board, agreed to increase their support of dance. The current government launched ‘Kulturløftet’ with the aim to contribute 1% of the GNP to the cultural arena, by 2014. Dance is one of the 15 entries in ‘Kulturløftet’. In 2013 The Ministry of Culture launched 'Dance in all of Norway' ("Dans i hele landet"), a strategy for the development of the dance sector, pinpointing areas for development across its different parts, among other things education and touring.