For International Booking 

Nathalie Hébert

For Scandinavian Booking 

Pange Öberg

Gynoïdes Project at Tacit or Loud Symposium

Posted 10/27/2014

Gynoïdes Project  will present a part of the research project at Tacit or Loud Symposium and Festival : where is the knowledge in art? Symposium and festival for artistic research in the section "Whose knowledge? A critical perspective on knowledge production in the arts ».

Tacit or Loud: where is the knowledge in art?
Symposium and festival for artistic research

A festival for experimental arts
Tacit or Loud is an international symposium and a festival for experimental arts at the Inter Arts Center in Malmö, Sweden. Tacit or Loud focuses on intermedia art and presents several international world premieres by artists from Europe and South East Asia.

Symposium Nov 28-Dec 3
At the heart of the festival is a symposium at the Inter Arts Center that brings artists and scientists together. The focus here is on the artwork and on the artistic work as process. What we want to achieve is a negotiation between knowledge construction in art and other disciplines, along the lines of Bruno Latour’s ‘modes of existence’.

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Marie-Andrée Robitaille, member of Manegen Board

Posted 7/6/2014

Manegens styrelse 2014-2015

Vald på årsmötet 5 april 2014

Linda Beijer

Vice ordförande
Viktor Gyllenberg

Ordinarie ledamöter

Emelie Envall – Organisationsrepresentant Subtopia, producent

Anna Ljungqvist (kassör) – Organisationsrepresentant Cirkus Cirkör, producent

Ulf Wahlström – Artist, producent

Angela Wand – Artist: varieté

Daniel Oja – Artist, producent Nordcirkus (Åre)Ulf G Andersson – Halmstad Teater

Marie-Andrée Robitaille – Högskolelektor i Cirkus, programansvarig för BA i Cirkus vid DOCH. Konstnärlig ledare för Gynoïdes Project samt forskare på högskolenivå.

Thorsten Andreassen – Artist, producent: varieté, gata
Josefin Lindberg – Producent Konfront
Guillaume Karpowicz – Studerande DOCH
Josefin Karlsson – Cirkus Saga, Malmö

Medlemmar som kallas till styrelsemöte (ej styrelsemedlemmar)
Ivar Heckscher – Utbildning
Simon Deschamps – Artist
Virginia Librado – Artist


Styrelsen har möte första tisdagen i varje månad. Hör av dig till oss! Vi vill gärna ta upp frågor och annat direkt från Manegens medlemmar. Ordförande Linda Beijer gör dagordningen för styrelsemötena, maila henne på linda.beijer[a]

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Gynoïdes Project at Stockholm University of the Arts

Posted 7/4/2014

Decision concerning the allocation of central research funds

1 juli 2014

In May the Research Board at Stockholm University of the Arts announced opportunities for funding for research projects, teaching staff employed by Uniarts were eligible. Three projects have now been granted funds.

In May the Research Board at Stockholm University of the Arts announced opportunities for funding for research projects, teaching staff employed by Uniarts were eligible. The funding could be applied for expenses pertaining to ongoing or new research projects. Before the decision by the Research Board the applications were processed by an assessment group of representatives from Uniarts (SADA, DOCH and the University Collage of Opera) and two external reviewers. The assessment group’s suggestions on the allocation of funds were brought up during the Research Board’s June meeting.

The following three applications were granted funds:
Lotta Erikson: The Voice – a Touch
The research project is a study on the human voice’ importance on the airwaves. In a sound based voice piece for headphones, Erikson want to explore the experience of the human voice in a documentary artistic piece.
Read more

Marie-Andrée Robitaille: Gynoïdes Project – Sound of CircusThe research project lifts the questions of female participation in circus. The aim of the project is to create new feminist expressions with the assistance of motion-capture technology.
Read more on the Gynoïdes Project

Patrik Sörling: The Body’s Open Mind – a Movement Vocabulary for Opera
The research project wants to make a comparative study between the singer’s vocal presence and the dancer’s presence in the movement. The aim is to create a movement philosophy for opera and a training method.









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Gynoïdes Project Invited at the Joint Conference ICMC/SMC 2014 in Athens, September 2014

Posted 6/29/2014

The joint ICMC|SMC|2014 Conference will take place in Athens, Greece, from 14 to 20 September 2014 and, for the first time, it will bring on the cross-road two well established events: the 40th International Computer Music Conference (ICMC) joint with the 11th Sound & Music Computing conference (SMC). The main theme of the Conference is "Music Technology meets Philosophy: From Digital Echos to Virtual Ethos". We invite researchers in music and sound computing, composers, musicologists and philosophers for a fruitful dialogue on related topics in order to redefine the past, present and future of computer music and sound computing (more details in Call for Papersand Call for Music).

The ICMC|SMC|2014 Conference will include lectures, special sessions, indoors & outdoors concerts, installations, demonstrations, studio reports, workshops, exhibition as well as a summer school, given in various places ranging from concert halls and university auditoria to museum lobbies and archaeological sites.

The ICMC|SMC|2014 Joint Conference is organized by the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (Department of Music Studies and Department of Informatics and Telecommunications), the Onassis Cultural Center and the Institute for Research  on Music and Acoustics.

 ΙCMC|SMC|2014 will take place  in Athens, a location with deep cultural roots which keeps the remembrance (anámnêsis) of the origins of Music (Mousikē) and Philosophy. The main objective of this joint conference focuses on the redefinition of the digital echos (sound) from different philosophical approaches in computer music and interactive music systems, on the origins of sound and music computing, as also on the pedagogy and the anthropology of music technology. Regarding the virtual ethos, the main focus will be on the impact of technology in contemporary composition and education, as well as in musicology (historical musicology, systematic musicology, ethnomusicology and archeomusicology) in order to reach out the society and provide wider and more direct access to knowledge, creative learning and cultural heritage.

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Marie-Andrée Robitaille take part of a professional exchange at Cirque Théâtre d'Elbeuf for the occasion of the Festival circus generation-Québec. The topic to be discussed: the influence of higher education on aesthetic circus. What circus in 10 years?

Posted 6/15/2014

Vendredi 13 juin De l’influence des formations supérieures sur les esthétiques de cirque. Quel cirque dans 10 ans ? Le cas du Québec.

De 13h30 à 16h30 - Hôtel de ville d’Elbeuf, Place Aristide Briand

Rencontre organisée par le Cirque-Théâtre d’Elbeuf et animée par Cécile Provôt, directrice de Circus Next.

Public : professionnels de la culture (programmateurs, artistes, responsables d’écoles de cirque …), acteurs institutionnels, presse.


En présence de :

  • Marc Lalonde, directeur de l’Ecole nationale de cirque de Montréal
  • Pascal Jacob, auteur et historien du cirque, directeur artistique du Festival Mondial du Cirque de Demain
  • Virginie Jortay, directrice de l'ESAC (Ecole supérieure des arts du cirque de Bruxelles) 
  • Marie-Andrée Robitaille, directrice du baccalauréat en art du cirque à L'université de danse et de cirque (DOCH), Stockholm, Suède 
  • Stéphane Lavoie, directeur général de la TOHU, Cité des arts du cirque de Montréal
  • Patrick Léonard, artiste interprète de la compagnie Les 7 doigts de la main
  • Michel Vézina, écrivain (sous réserve)
  • Modérateur : Cécile Provôt, directrice de Jeunes Talents Cirque Europe (Circus Next) 

La rencontre sera suivie de la Rencontre de création ENC / CNAC, d’un cocktail et des deux spectacles de la soirée



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Marie-Andrée Robitaille On Gynoïdes Project

Posted 4/8/2014

Conducting KU-projects

The second seminar on concepts of method bringing together teachers from DOCH, OHS, StDH and KKH who conduct KU-projects. The seminar starts with short presentations of the different projects and develops into a discussi

on lead by a moderator. The focus is on how KU-projects are conducted, what you are planning to do and what you do to get there.


PeÅ Holmqvist och Suzanne Khardalian StDH

Filippa Arrias och Marie Fahlin KKH

Marie-Andrée Robitaille DOCH

Moderator: Lena Hammergren

When: 15.00-17.00 on April 9

Where: Linnégatan 87
The seminar will be in English

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Women in Circus Consortium's report in Danstidnigen

Posted 2/23/2014

Danstidningen nr 1 2014 ute nu 


Årets första nummer av Danstidningen handlar om Robotar och människor, maskiner och dans. Ett sätt som förändrar den dansande kroppen i artificiell riktning är att förse den med extra kroppsförlängande delar. Precis som Rebecca Hytting från Göteborgsoperans danskompani på omslaget till Danstidningen 1/2014 bär sina långa taggar i Marie Chouinards Våroffer.
Robotar har influerat scenkonst, religion och filosofi på många olika vis och fortsätter göra det, långt bortom all fantastisk robotdans, popping, locking och boogaloo…
Två svenska koreografer som särskilt intresserat sig för förhållandet mellan naturvetenskap och dans och sättet som maskiners rörelser kan beröra är Åsa Unander Scharin och Gun Lund. De berättar båda om sina olika synsätt för Lis Hellström Sveningson.
Koreograferna Saburo Teshigawara och Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui som presenterar var sitt verk i i blandprogrammet Spirit med Göteborgsoperans danskompani och premiär den 8 mars. Även deras kommande kreationer har kopplingar till vårt övergripande tema om teknik och dans.
Cirkuskoreografen Marie Andre Robitalle undersöker feministiska strategier inom cirkuskonsten i sin forskning inom cirkuskomposition. Viktoria Dalborg rapporterar från ett seminarium, Women in Cirkus, på Cirkör Lab i Alby, där även Marie Andre Robitallie presenterade delar av ett kommande verk kallat Gynoid Project med kvinnliga cirkusartister som nästan liknar robotar.
Ann-Sofie Öhman rapporterar även från scenkonstfestivaler i Slovenien, bland annat City of Women, lagom till kvinnodagen den 8 mars.
Cullbergbaletten har fått en ny konstnärlig ledare, Gabriel Smets, som intervjuas av Margareta Sörenson.
Läs även Marte Østmoes rapport om norska Carte Blanches kontroversiella Norgeturné, där många recensenter har reagerat mot inslagen av performance och improvisation av koreograferna Hooman Sharifi och Crystal Pite, och där föreställningen av många av Carte Blanches trogna åskådare har upplevts som obehaglig och svår att uthärda.

Vi vill också passa på att rekommendera en spännande cirkustidning på nätet, som bjuder på många utsnitt ur föreställningar, bland annat från Marie Andre Robitaille Gynoider se vidare

Ann Marie Wrange

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Marie-Andrée Robitaille on the Gynoïdes Project Beta Test V

Posted 2/12/2014

With a series of artistic research phases known as Bêta Tests and an academic line of enquiry lasting several years, the Gynoïdes Project is a wide-ranging operation aimed at creating alternative, feminist strategies for circus creation. Here the artistic director, Marie-Andrée Robitaille, talks about the project's objectives, about the expectations and pressures placed on women in circus, and about the sonification of circus equipment – a strategy developed during Bêta Test V.




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Consortium In Pictures


Posted 1/29/2014


on Women in Circus Consortium in Stockholm, the first of its kind.

By Ellen Söderhult, January 29th 2014


"Gender is not something that one is, it is something one does, an act… a "doing" rather than a "being"" said Judith Butler, proclaiming gender as "a kind of imitation for which there is no original; in fact, it is a kind of imitation that produces the very notion of the original as an effect and consequence of the imitation itself.[1]"

With this quote in mind I enthusiastically said yes when asked to contribute to the Women in Circus Consortium by writing this and presenting a performance extract. I said yes not only out of interest, but also because the issue of gender implicate questions of power and identity that is too important to remain an undisputed reproduction of imitations without original. Because the fundamental impact of this subject on our lives is too extensive to be left to habit and oppressive conventions. This documentation is written partly for those who could not be at the consortium and partly to reflect upon and emphasize some of the issues that were discussed and seem particularly pressing to me. It is in not aiming to be objective but rather to contribute with the observations and thoughts of a performer/maker.  

The first Swedish WOMEN IN CIRCUS CONSORTIUM, was held on the 18th of December 2013 in a dark but rarely enough not so cold Stockholm. It was initiated by Marie-Andree Robitaille, head of Artistic Studies of the BA education in Circus at DOCH in Stockholm, and was attended by more than a hundred participants and contributors that all in some way or another related to the topic of women in circus. There was no entrance fee and all interested were invited to partake. Lectures by academics on widely different topics were mixed with discussions and performance extracts. All invited lecturers and performers were female. The reason for coming together was not to provide “products” in order to meet up capitalistic objectives and fit into existing formats by reproducing the expected. Instead, the day offered a chance for the practitioners of circus to question, rethink and elaborate what is important and of value for us.

The participants were invited to look outside of tradition and expectations and into other fields in order to position their practices in a wider context. The input from outside provided for a potential way out of reproducing ideals and fixed ideas that the habitual gaze fails to notice. The whole day consortium was manifested as a forum for inventing, sharing and exchanging ideas. The focal point was a critical reflection around the neglected topic of feminism within circus that expanded to include discussions about the general premises and conditions of production of circus art It somehow became a tribute to and a of the power of difference and importance of change, springing from a drive to be free to make art that is not consolidating identity or fulfilling established ideas, norms, stereotypes and expectations. Problematics concerning gender, identity and authenticity within circus surfaced as well as disregarded exclusions and inequalities. But there were also discussions about possible solutions and ways of addressing the current situation.

During the consortium the question of how circus can contribute to other fields through knowledge production was put up alongside the questions of what circus practitioners can learn from gender studies, risk analysis or feminist strategies within architecture.

Throughout the day, inhibiting structures and traditions, tendencies and problems that the individual might not have power to, or lack strategies,  to resist were identified. Strategies and methods within and outside of circus were shared and proposed and ways of organizing resistance were discussed. It was brought up already in the invitation that we- as gendered, classed and raced beings are reinforcing many problems and injustices until we make them visible, until we start working for change and becoming a part of that change.  The agenda of the symposium was not to instrumentalize circus and reduce it to charity or social engagement but rather about not being governed by cemented ideas and oppressions.


The day started in Alby, a suburb to Stockholm where Cirkus Cirkör has been basing their ground breaking work for Swedish new circus since 1997. I opened the consortium with an extract from a solo work. Following this, with the floor still wet from my soaked hair, special guest Angela Laurier began her lecture.

 The first talk of the day circulated around the issue of taking space on stage as a woman, pushing the body and the agency of the circus performer. This drew attention to the very complicated relationship to pain that circus used to have or in a lot of cases still have. The issue of showing oneself for oneself was brought up, not as a slave under a sexualized gaze, but rather claiming the right to be sensual, even erotic and naked without shame, without being blamed or objectified.

The showing of the short film FISH by Åsa Johannison, started a discussion that touched upon how to deal with the fact that circus practices mostly are physically and technically demanding. Risk and difficulty in the sense of display of skill, and the artists being presented as extraordinary super humans came up as issues that might involuntarily drown and block other capacities circus potentially holds. The discussion went  into how we search for what we are used to see. About the victimization of women and the over used narrative of the strong man saving a weak woman seems to be so present that we read it into the picture even when it is not there. Can we make circus that withdraws from the most obvious and easy identifications, that is not consolidating the present ideals or ideas? What ideas about gender roles in circus are we recognizing out of habit and ruled by?

The politics of what type of body you put on stage and on what premises you do it, what it has to do to be given that space was also an underlying theme of discussions. I ask myself: is it possible to get away from a circus that is justifying itself solely through technical difficulty, on visible risks and extraordinary physical ability? What could circus be when engaging with what lies outside the expected, when making for other experiences?

If one considers the body as a social construction with no stable neutral, it opens up for endless options and potential within circus practice and performance . This potential lies beyond a mindless reproduction of the present  ideals and instead in divergence and considering  difference and deviations as  a vital motor for development and producing  change. It involves critically questioning beauty and quality, and acknowledging that these concepts are volatile. It would probably require circus practice to be less about perfected ideals and old traditions and instead about considering difference in itself as a strength. If circus of today is unwrapping theatrical metaphors, what if it was not about the self at all? What inherent capacities of circus would then surface? What if the strong emphasis on the self would be replaced with emphasis on the practice itself or circus as object?

The second half of the consortium took place in the KTH R1 Experimental Performance Space. A projection by Sara Jane and Anna Sivertsson preceded the research presentation of Marie-Andree Robitaille[2], senior lecturer at the BA of circus at DOCH in Stockholm. The topic of her research is representation of women in circus and feminist strategies within circus composition. Short extracts from the physical research were showed by the performers Kajsa Bohlin, Marianna De Sanctis, Line Rosa Lee Pallisgaard, Manda Rydman and Nathalie Wahlberg. Watching the female performers involved, it seemed like the heavy history of objectification of women in circus have not prevented other takes on femininity to develop within the field. (Is it possible that it is rather in the chain of production, selection, composition and direction by producers and directors that this diversity is conformed or quieted down?)

 Apart from the research Marie-Andree shared an upsetting story from the background of her interest in feminism within circus. In the case of Marie-André, the education itself had been a conservative power not letting her choose Chinese pole as her main discipline because it was considered a male discipline. This happened in a prestigious higher education in circus 1997. The attributes connected to the disciplines for women were, and to some extent are, still encouraged to pursue focus to a large extent on displaying beauty, flexibility and grace. Not a seldom occurance to be thrown, lifted or balanced. What was/is considered male disciplines are oftentimes attributed with strength and power. This seems to link masculinity to subjectivity and being a force in the world and femininity to objectification. It is somehow easy to think that these kinds of ideas about gender produces very different bodies.

Circus students of today voiced the experience that male students are allowed to be more messy and funny while the female students feel more inhibited, scared to make mistakes and expected to be perfect. This is very clear in society at large where the male body is represented as dignified, powerful, allowed to take space and use strength but maybe not how to give space or show emotions. The man is acknowledged for his performance whilst the woman is recognized for her looks and often sexually objectified. These ideas slowly internalize and lead to self-objectification which makes up for eating disorders, depressions and considering the body a project to be worked on and never good enough. It also shows itself as habitual body monitoring and in body shame, even as lower political efficacy[3].

 It seems like the traditions - or maybe rather the tries to adjust to the markets need of recognizable circus - is consolidating ancient and oppressive ideas about femininity and masculinity. There is nothing wrong about making a choice as an individual to be erotic and sensual on stage, but when conventions and tradition attribute this to the female gender and inhibits it to be otherwise, we better mobilize ourselves. In that respect it is encouraging to see female bodies being this loud, strong and foremost dealing with other things than gender identity and dated expectations.

The following short by intense lecture by Camilla Damkjaer, senior lecturer at DOCH, was very interesting in relation to those dichotomous gender identities. Damkjaers "Home made academic circus" deals with circus practices as an artistic activity, as a way of producing new knowledge and conditions for new experiences, as a contemporary art form. Her presentation "The question of gender in circus" dealt with repetition and failure drawing upon the works of Guilles Deleuze and Judith Butler. With great clarity she touched upon "failing to perform gender" and the repetitions that create not only gender but maybe even the binary between two biological sexes. Reversing the question of what gender theory can do for circus, Damkjaer asked what circus can offer gender theory, hinting towards the fact that the volatile bodies produced by the differentiated circus disciplines and more precisely different ways of practicing those different disciplines changes the body or construct other bodies and possibly other genders. The theme of differentiation as the motor, as the only way of producing change, came back several times during the whole day but was fundamental and very present in this concise and important talk. A key question was: Are we past the idea of reproducing body ideals for each discipline, converging into strict stereotypes? Are we willing to replace this restricting reproduction and diverge to a differentiated diversity?

During the unfortunate short discussion, eating disorders came up as an example of a widespread issue in circus education connected to gender, and clearly related to the idea of fulfilling the ideal body for the given discipline, not considering differences as a resource but as a flaw, a defect. It also seems to be connected to the fixed idea of beauty, instead of seeing it as variable and connected to identity politics.  Ways of getting rid of the destructive idea of the body as something that is never good enough but always defecting from the norm is a must to avoid a majority of energy and effort going into trying to adapt to norms, fit in and be "perfect" instead of doing, working, changing, making and creating .

Considering this lecture, the title of the consortium, appears as somehow problematic as it might be interpreted as proposing to replace the patriarchal oppression with another exclusion. It might even make someone ask "who is woman enough to consider oneself a woman in circus?" Who isn't? Who can "be a man" in 2013 and if not what is he supposed to be instead?

The social dichotomy of feminine and masculine ideals seems problematic. It is simply oppressive and excluding to people that does not identify themselves with either of these categories. It is homogenizing. It could also be that the dichotomization of gender in itself implies hierarchical thinking in between the two as is seen in the Cartesian body-mind split but also in other binary categorizations such as trans – cis, male – female, rational-emotional, hetero-homosexuality to name a few. By identifying a norm and considering everything else outside of it as strange, it is reasonable to think that we restrict and preclude social as well as artistic development. Even so, glancing over to the other big consortium dealing with circus as an art form this December ("Circus symposium, the artistic state of affairs in the circus" Stadsschouwburg Utrecht) the need for giving space to people not identifying themselves as men seems of utmost importance. There four out of four invited speakers were male, and seven out of eight invitees in all identified themselves as men by choice of pronoun. Is allocation by quotas and initiatives like WOMEN IN CIRCUS the way of correcting the power structures? What is?

After this lecture it was time for Rebecca Westholm and Angela Wand . The audience was confronted with the obsession with the ideal body and the image of the always smiling circus princess, pleasing and never older than 27 (where are the old circus women?). Not afraid of making comedy out of every thinkable taboo, they again asked: "who is woman enough?

Helene Hermansson, the next speaker, had titled her presentation "Rights at Risk". The subject of the talk was ethical aspects of risk management. Hermansson has no connection to circus arts or practices but is a researcher at the division of philosophy at the Royal institute of Technology in Stockholm. As circus historically has positioned itself outside society, both lecturer and topic was interesting choices.

Hermansson introduced the standard model for risk management and its focus on cost-benefit analysis, claiming that this model does not respect the rights of the individual and that this is a big ethical weakness. The consequences of cost-analysis brought up examples such as global warming and the economic crises where decision makers (statistically oftentimes identifying themselves as men) prone to high risk taking have sometimes unknowingly, sometimes consciously, unfairly exposed huge amounts of people for risks.

 The beneficiaries', the exposed's and the decision makers conflicting interest are not considered equal in most cases. This led up to a debate about structures and context, being a responsible artist (without making one's art responsible). It also evoked questions and reflections about the working conditions as a freelance circus artist and the issue of risks one knowingly or unknowingly exposes oneself to educating oneself or working within circus.

Cost-benefit and ethical dimensions are also ubiquitous issues when talking about the production of circus in a capitalist system. Being profitable, efficient and productive are the always present requisites in a capitalistic society. Popularity is often mistaken for the only measurement of quality and so tickets sold gets to define good and bad. What is recognizable as circus, what is alluring to our prejudices and expectations is most often easier to sell. Novelty is not as promotable or as easy capitalized on in those cases. Profit in charge of art probably makes for homogenization of the field and cementing the art form.

Listening to Suzanne Osten after this was another encouragement to run away from normality and indulge in transformation. As the second female director of Sweden and the initiator of Sweden's first independent company, she has been a pioneering artist for many years and had a lot to share and brought attention also to the conditions of art making and whom is given a voice and a chance. Apart from being a director and playwright her internationally noticed work for children's theatre is noticeable as is her devotion to research and helping other women within the field.

The rope act by Karoline Aamås was somehow a comment on the expectations on a circus performance. She calmly kept on talking whilst executing very physically demanding technique. As a not yet graduated circus student, she was a promising indicator of the development of the circus programme at DOCH, showing autonomy and courage to go beyond traditional ideas and an articulated artistic expression performing her own composition.

The following lecture by Helene Frichot was entitled Feminist Thinking in Architecture. With a background in philosophy and now an assistant professor in Critical Studies in Architecture she is now active in between those two fields. Engaging herself in curating seminars, discussions and with "socio-politically motivated design tools" she again brought the attention to the conditions and motivations for making circus, being a reflected artist and situating oneself in a bigger context.

Frichot has a substantial amount of documents and tools covering various topics available online.[4] It stands as an example of how to empower people over distance, also providing a forum for a continuous exchange. The lecture was also interesting in relation to the architecture necessary for circus practices as well as the formats we are asked to present in.  Some of the questions asked were: What kind of spaces are circus conventionally taking? What is this inducing? What does it imply? What other options could there be? How is architecture influencing circus art and its development?

Approaching the end of the day Tiziana Prota presented a fixed trapeze act beginning on a table opposite a stuffed fox before it was time for the final lecture by Settings: Norm Creative Opportunities. Settings consists of Rebecca Vinthagen and Lina Zavalia and works for socially sustainable change. The lecture concerned "norm creativity" which was presented as an "action based practice of norm critical theory". They shared methods and their drive to challenge restricting roles with the goal to create new spaces, emancipated and empowered bodies aware of privileges and restrictions given by invisible norms. Their subject was expanding the theme of the day to all kind of visible and invisible oppressions and exclusions. In the normative society we live, privileges are unnoticeably given to those fitting into heterosexual, patriarchal and white ideas of normality. A remarkable example is how we are asked in national media how much immigration Sweden can tolerate, a question that impose the presumption that immigration is a load rather than an access and is insidiously but clearly racist.

The final discussions and wrapping up was a good sign as people with respect and interest listened to each other and reflected upon this intense day of fundamentally different approaches. Round table discussions and a final sharing seemed like a good ending since everyone got a chance to voice concerns and reflections. There is unquestionably a lot of people within circus that are ready to take on the quest of redefining the roles they are expected to perform. Circus seems to be ready to redefine notions of quality and bravely go for being contemporary, embracing difference as a strength and as a way to equality and multiplicity.

We live in a time where causal connections, long term and global effects of our doings become more and more obvious. Global warming, the financial crisis and the internet show us the inevitability of seeing the world as an interconnected entity. How we are affecting each other and the world seems more evident than before. There is no outside but we live in a culture that promotes immediate profit and satisfaction at the cost of others. We live in a socio-cultural construction that seems wanting to solidify and oppress, maintaining foul inequalities. It is on each and every one of us to positions ourselves consciously. It is on us to act for change.

It is on us to insist on what is of importance. It is on us to find courage to transform, disrupt or abandon the ideals altogether. It is on us to make art that is not about consolidating identity or fulfilling established ideas, norms, stereotypes and expectations. It is on us as programmers, artists, educators, producers, humans to make space for other experiences, art that is not necessarily recognizable as “good” by traditional premises but rather questions those premises and redefines them.  It is on us to value difference and make room for change. To be aware of how we act gender and that what is being imitated through that acting is without original.

by Ellen Söderhult, ellen.soderhult


Ellen is a maker and performer within contemporary dance and circus, born in Sweden. She holds a BA in circus since 2010 and is currently studying for her BA in contemporary dance performance at DOCH in Stockholm. Ellen has presented her own work in collaboration with Ida Hellsten in Budapest and Ljubljana (Unnecessary Movement 2012, 2013). Other pieces include a trio (OTHERBODIES) and two solos: (Outworn maps of consciousness) performed in Copenhagen, and (THIS IS NOT IT), reworked for the Women in Circus Consortium. As a dancer, during 2013 she took part of the projects: SPACE by Sofie Rykowski; in the degree exhibition of the University of Crafts and Arts; and the short piece (How to...?) by Shintaro Oue performed at K.R.O.P.P, Uppsala kongress. Ellen has been published in Danstidningen and most recently in the 50th anniversary publication of DOCH. 

Photo: Urban Jurén

[1] "Imitation and Gender Insubordination" in Inside/Out (1991) by Judith Butler

[2] For information about her research see: or

[3] Se Caroline Hedman, “The sexy lie”: 2013-12-29





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CONSORTIUMArtist on the Picture: Kajsa Bohlin
Credit Photo: Einar Kling Odencrants
Artistic Direction: Marie-Andrée Robitaille





RESEARCHArtist on the Picture: Sarah Lett
Credit Photo: Einar Kling Odencrants
Artistic Direction: Marie-Andrée Robitaille




SHOWArtist on the Picture: Nathalie Bertholio
Credit Photo: Einar Kling Odencrants
Artistic Direction: Marie-Andrée Robitaille