Helping the freelance dance sector to recover from covid-19:
NB8 Nordic Circle – Mentoring Program 2021-2023
Covid-19 pandemic has been a total disaster for the contemporary dance field. Dance is an art form based on bodily presence, live performances, and sharing of intangible experiences. With the venue closures, travel restrictions, and overall avoidance and fear of physical contact, the work of dance artists has been put on hold.
The situation of the independent dance sector is alarming. Even before the pandemic, the independent field was struggling with precarious working conditions and a lack of intermediaries, such as producers and managers. With the added mental toll of prolonged isolation, cancellation of work opportunities, and dire financial situations, the conditions are even worse. It will take a lot of effort to rebuild the interdependent ecosystem of the independent field, and to bring back the energy and force of contemporary dance.
There is a need for immediate relief, wage-subsidy programs, and other emergency schemes that are already taking place in many countries. But in order to revive the field after covid-19, longer-term rebuilding strategies are also needed.
This is where the role of the producers and managers is crucial. These intermediaries are needed to rebuild infrastructures, create work possibilities for artists, to plan and carry out productions, and to reach out to audiences.
NB8 Circle – Mentoring Program is a capacity building mentorship program and network for freelance dance producers planned for 2021–2023. NB8 Circle will build long-term relationships, and strengthen the infrastructure for management, production and distribution of contemporary dance.
NB8 Circle is a joint initiative of contemporary dance organizations in 5 Nordic countries, with 6 associate partners in the Baltic countries and other Nordic regions.
The project leadership is shared by a collaborative management group, consisting of experts in the field of dance production and management:
Anne-Sofie Eriksson (SE)
Jens Christian Jensen (DK)
Emelie Johansson (SE)
Outi Järvinen (FI)
Geir Lindahl (NO)
The five Nordic partners of NB8 Circle have successfully carried out a three-year mentoring program for Nordic producers and self-producing artists in 2016-2018, called the Nordic Circle of Artistic Management (NCoAM). During that time, the program aimed at developing production competence, and more specifically the management skills of dance producers and self-producing artists/choreographers within the Nordic region.
In 2019, project partner SITE Sweden published “Mentorship Toolbox for Artists”, the result of a think-tank on mentorship in artistic processes that was carried out together with MARC, Milvus Artistic Research Center in Sweden. This toolbox will be part of the preparation process for both mentors and mentees also in the NB8 Circle – Mentoring Program 2021-2023.
Arts Management Helsinki
Iso Roobertinkatu 36