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FRAGILE
European Project
2011 - 2013

FRAGILE is a project co-financed by the European Union – Culture Program that aims the inclusion of visually impaired people in the performative arts, through a partnership between the institutions Bærum Kulturhus (NO), Vo’Arte (PT), University of Talin (EE) and Salamanda Tandem (UK). It is based in the experiences on inclusive dance made by the choreographers Kjersti K. Engebrigtsen (Norway), Ana Rita Barata (Portugal) and Ajjar Ausma (Estonia). 

 

 

With a duration of two years (2011-2013), it included workshops conducted in the 3 countries, among other training activities. The end of the project was marked by the presentation of a show divided in three parts – Edge, Plexus and Touched – with world premiere on 29th and 30th March 2013 in Teatro Municipal Joaquim Benite, in Almada, and a Symposium on the theme FRAGILE? Dance, Arts & Visual Impairment, held from 19th to 21st April 2013, in Talin.

 

 

FRAGILE is an encounter of two worlds where ballet dancers and interpreters with visual impairment try to develop a common language, while exploring their own individual voice.

 

 

 

PROJECT PHASES

 

September 2011 > July 2012

1st phase | training

 

Kjersti Engebrigtsen worked with Ana Rita Barata and Ajjar Ausma in the conception of 4 workshops directed to blind and to sighted people, to ballet dancers and to technicians, both in Lisbon and in Talin.


In Portugal, the workshops counted with the participation of 66 people with different backgrounds, from rehabilitation to dance and other therapies, as well as the practice in different artistic areas. In these workshops, Kjersti intended to achieve an exchange of experiences and knowledge between professional ballet dancers and visually impaired people, and to explore a new language of movement.

 

During the workshops the interpreters/ballet dancers to participate in the final show of FRAGILE project will be selected.

 

 

 

August 2012 > April 2013

2nd phase | creation of a show

 

Each of the three choreographers created a new performance, integrating both blind and sighted interpreters and ballet dancers.

In Portugal, Ana Rita Barata worked with Luís Oliveira and Joana Gomes (blind interpreters) and with Bernardo Gama and Sofia Soromenho (professional ballet dancers).

 

APRIL 2013

3rd phase | symposium and tour


World Premiere on 29th and 30th March at Teatro Joaquim Benite, in Almada

 

Presentation at Bærum Kulturhus, Sandvika (Oslo, Noruega) on 16th April 

and at KUMU Art Museum, Talin (Estonia) on 19th and 20th April 2013 

 

FRAGILE? Dance, Arts & Visual Impairment – 19th to 21st April 2013 at the Conference Center of the University of Talin

+INFO

EDGE


Moment or space that corresponds to the end or the beginning of something. Or the nearly.  Or the memory of a path. That has no end. It is from an unknown device that we start an abstract trail, that takes us to the most concrete of life – the beginning of everything.
The beginning of each course – four – in a memory of some what’s threshold. A light, a hole, a process, a life and death – the beginning of everything.
Each course depends on one another, they are pairs but different among themselves. They come together within movement, create a limit and after they split space. Change material, recombine, reduce and separate. They give way to a story that starts and finishes right there – an imaginary line remains. Who sees it, wanted to look.

 

 

Team EDGE

 

Artistic Direction Ana Rita Barata and Pedro Sena Nunes

Choreography Ana Rita Barata

Ballet Dancers and Interpreters Bernardo Gama, Joana Gomes, Luís Oliveira and Sofia Soromenho

Video Pedro Sena Nunes

Music Tiago Cerqueira

Technical Direction and Light Design João Cachulo

Costume Design Marta Carreiras

Recording and Video Post-Production Pedro Sena Nunes, Miguel Robalo and João Duarte

Drawings Sara Dias

Writings Joseph Lambert

Photography Henrique Frazão

PT FRAGILE Project Coordination Clara Antunes

Production Support Patrícia Soares and Darío Fernández

 

EDGE’s artistic directors biographic notes

 

Ana Rita Barata
(b. 1972) Ana Rita Barata studied classic and modern dance at Escola de Dança do Conservatório Nacional (Lisbon, Portugal) and in the European Dance Development Centre, in Arnhem (The Netherlands). As a choreographer and an artistic director she works with Pedro Sena Nunes since 1994, close to several communities with special needs. Since 1997 she is the artistic director and a programmer at Vo’Arte. She is co-creator of CiM - Integrated Multidisciplinary Company.

 

Pedro Sena Nunes

(b. 1968) A father, traveler, filmmaker, producer, photographer and professor. He graduated  in Cinema at ESTC and co-founded Companhia Teatro Meridional with Miguel Seabra. Also, he was a fellow of several institutions. He directed a fair number of documentaries, as well as fiction and experimental films. He was given several awards and distinctions in the areas of photography, video and cinema. He teaches at ESMAE, IPA, SOU and ETIC. He is an artistic consultant and the coordinator of many artistic projects.

 

Interpreters

 

Bernardo Gama

Bernardo Gama danced in several Companies such as Ballet Gulbenkian (PT), Grupo Corpo (BR), CNB (PT), Cullberg Ballet (SE) and Cie. Philippe Saire (CH). He develops work as a mime, as an actor, as choreographer and as a Gyrotonic® and Gyrokinesis® instructor. A teacher at ESTAL, he teaches the Master’s Degree  in Dance/ Artistic Performance at FMH, research on contemporary circus and dance.

 

Sofia Soromenho

Graduted in Physiotherapy , she took her Bachelor at ESD, went to  Danseacademie of Tilburg and concluded a Master’s Degree in Artistic Performance-Dance at FMH. She participated in multiple workshops and worked as a ballet dancer at CDA (PT) with several choreographers. 2011 was the year of her first creation, “Auto-transfusão”, as a choreographer. Currently, she is a teacher at ESTAL.

 

Luis Oliveira

He works as a rehabilitation technician at ADEB. Also, he is responsible for Espaço Música, group “Nota Contra Nota”, Espaço Arte and collaborates with Bipolar magazine. He is polyvalent professional in several fields. With a graduation in Psychology, he is taking a Master’s Degree in Applied Neuropsychology and he is a mentor / coordinator of project “Fala-me de Música”, writes poetry, plays instruments and sings.

 

Joana Gomes

She started a graduation in Information Sciences at Faculdade de Letras (Oporto, Portugal) and completed a course in adapted informatics with screen reader. She practiced several sports and integrated ACAPO’s theatre group for visually impaired people in Braga. 

 

 

PLEXUS

Plexus is a bundle, a maze of channels, where information is continuously flowing, where different inputs and coordinates of space merge and then depart into a new form and composition. We are interested in a relationship between the internal and outer space, in chaos and regularity within it. How we relate to the different distances between them. We explore the differences and match the visually impaired and sighted dancers in spatial and movement cognition, in hearing and feeling of the sounds and music.
Plexus combines different personalities, movement languages, desires, perceptions etc. Through the process of interpretation, co-working and compromises a new existence is born and a quality of movement and being is achieved.
The aim of this process is to increase confidence and empathy in ourselves and others through dance and personal experience and sharing knowledge. It's about the ability and willingness to understand people with different perception and how to cooperate with them.

 

 

Team PLEXUS


Choreography: Ajjar Ausma
Choreographic assistant: Riina Ausma
Performers: Jaan Ulst, Hedy Haavalaid, Kärt Tõnisson
Composer: Taavet Jansen
Light Design: Oliver Kulpsoo
Costume design: Liis Plato
EE FRAGILE Project Coordination Karmen Ong

 

 

PLEXUS’ choreographer biographic note

 

Ajjar Ausma (b. 1977) Ajjar has graduated the bachelor studies in dance in the University of Tartu Viljandi Culture Academy in 2003.  He is an actor, a director, a choreographer and a dancer in the private theater Cabaret Rhizome, in Talin. A dance and a physical theatre teacher, he has already participated in several projects of performative arts in Estonia and abroad.

 

Interpreters

 

Hedy Haavalaid

Hedy Haavalaid graduated the Tallinn Sidekool as a general sectetary in 1998. Her movement experiences before that are from the elementary school where she was participating for 7 years in the trainings of a folk dance group.

In 2004 she lost her eyesight and found her way to dance then again in 2006 in the social dance course (teacher Ülle Toming) organized in the North Estonian Association of the Blind with the support of European Youth Fund. Since then she has been taking part in the different movement lessons, mainly Pilates and lately also yoga.

 

 

Kärt Tõnisson

 Kärt Tõnisson has graduated the Tallinn University Department of Choreography in 2003. Her supplement education comes from the regular particition in the lessons of the dance studio Fine 5 and the various contemporary dance workshops in Estonia and abroad.

As a dancer and cooperative choreographer she has taken part in numerous local and international dance performance processes. Her main occupation and inspiration on the dance field is coming from and going into the teaching children that she has done for 6 years now.

 

 

Jaan Ulst

Jaan Ulst is a freelance dancer and choreographer whose main cooperations have been with the Project Sally (Netherlands) and the theatre Vanemuine (Vanemuine Ballet Company, Estonia). He is a member of The Union of Estonian Dance Artists and the dance theater Tee Kuubis.

 

 

Taavet Jansen

Taavet Jansen is engaged in the music from garage rock till ambient, from bluegrass contry till breakcoren. His creations vary from rock concert-performances till generative algorithmic soundscapes. In some parts he expresses the performative and in the other parts the mathematics based behaviours. As he is himself also a director and choreographer, he mainly imagines the music for the performances more than for the concerts.

 

TOUCHED
Can touch unite people with different abilities? Is touch conceived differently by sighted and visually impaired? Imagine touching a face you cannot see? Seeing dancers jump unto each other to say hallo, but how do they jump onto someone who is blind? How does a blind person jump onto you?
Touched is an encounter between two different worlds, the sighted and the visually impaired. The performers are trying to develop a common language and at the same time to explore their own individual voice.

 

 

Team TOUCHED


Choreography Kjersti K. Engebrigtsen

Ballet dancers and Interpreters Alexander Aarø, Nina Biong, Hege Finnset Eidseter, Geir Hytten, Katja Henriksen Schia

Light Design Jan Erik Smedhaugen

Composer Knut Olaf Sunde

 

 

TOUCHED’s choreographer biographic note

 

Kjersti K. Engebrigtsen (b. 1947) passed her Diploma at the Institute of Ballet in 1968 and at the London School of Contemporary Dance in 1972. She made her debut as a dancer and choreographer with the Høvik Ballett Company (Norway) in 1969 and her work has been performed in theatres, concert halls, churches, museums and on television. She has been dancing in theatres and dance companies and has often performed in her own work. She passed her Master´s Degree in Special Needs Education at the University of Oslo in 1999. She is currently active as a choreographer, teacher and lecturer and has since she included a blind dancer in her performance in 2004, been concentrating most of her time in this special dance field. She is FRAGILE’s artistic director.

 

Interpreters

 

Nina Biong  
Nina has a BA in contemporary dance from KHIO (Oslo), and is a freelance dancer based in Oslo, Norway. She has worked with choreographers Ina Christel Johanessen/Zero Visibility Corp., Masja Abrahamsen, Gunhild Bjørnsgaar/Company B. Valiente, Vilde Sparre amongst others. She has been working with dance, physical theatre, musical and textual challenges as well as video dance. She is also working on her own choreographic project. Nina lives now in Paris.

 

Geir Hytten
Geir graduated from Trinity Laban, London. He has had his main base as a dancer in London, where he was a coremember with Punchdrunk. Also performing with Complicite, Vincent Dance Theatre, Frantic Assembly,The Featherstonehaughs, Daniel Kramer (Sadleŕs Wells) and The National Theatre, London/Scotland. In Norway he has worked with Impure Company and Jo Strømgren Kompani. 

 

Alexander Aarø
Alexander has a dance degree from the Norwegian College of Dance and Rick Odums school in Paris. He started playing piano at an early age and started dancing Cuban salsa when he was 19. Lately he performed with Modern Dance Ensemble (Paris),  in “Svidd Gummi” in Askim (Norway), and in the movie “Mormor og de 8 ungene”. Alexander is now working on various projects with Norwegian dance companies Grenland Dansekompani and Karen Foss Quiet Works.

 

Hege Finnset Eidseter

Hege comes from Molde (Norway), but has been living in Oslo for half her life. She has studied religions’ history at University, and is now working at Oslo Public Library. Hege met Kjersti Engebrigtsen in 1996 and performed in Engebrigtsen’s performance Fragile in 2004. Hege is almost blind, but thinks actually that she sees quite well.

 

Katja Schia

Katja is from Oslo. She graduated from Spin Off and KHIO/National Academy of the arts (BA Contemporary dance) in 2009. She is now a freelance dancer based in Oslo. She has lately worked with choreographers Ingeleiv Berstad and Sigrid Edvardsson amongst others, and started choreographing her own projects. She also works as a yoga instructor.

 

 

FRAGILE Project participants' testimonials

 

Joana Reais Pinto | Singer, Performer and Designer (motor disability)
I've gained another perception of my body, I’ve acquired new competences and opened new doors on my personal and professional life.

 

Ana Jesus Dias | Applied Mathematics (visually impaired)
I think it would be really interesting to have visually impaired dancers in Portugal. The general idea is that dancers are perfect, beautiful, young, agile. I can't really put in words how much the idea of having a dance performance with the participation of both sighted and blind dancers fascinates me. It's like overthrowing another barrier, another prejudice. It makes integration, something for which I fight every single day of my life, more real, more effective.

 

Luís Oliveira | Technician at ADEB (visually impaired)

The creation of this kind of projects is extremely relevant for citizens with special needs and is an example of reference, by creating work conditions that enable the development of the existing potential.

 

Sofia Ferreira | Ballet dancer
Fragile project made it possible for many visually impaired people to find in dance a space of freedom that was unknown before, to surpass the daily constraints characteristic of the city life and, above all, to pass the mental obstacles related to what they can offer to the dance world.

 

More info on http://fragiledance.com/eng/

 

Acknowledgment

Partners and supports: ACAPO, APCL - SCML, Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian (that financed audio-description), APEDV, Gabinete de Referência Cultural da Câmara Municipal de Lisboa, Lisbon Almada Hotel, Teatro Municipal Joaquim Benite among some many others that individually or through their institutions believed in this project, by divulging it, participanting in it or simply by encouraging it.

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