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Space och time i dans

Reza Shoiaiyan as The Philosopher

Reza Shoiaiyan as the Philosopher

Ami Skånberg Dahlstedt är just nu doktorand på halvtid på Centre of Asian Dance and Theatre, University of London. Där arbetar hon bl a med att tillämpa critical theory på konstnärlig forskning inom dans. Här använder hon ett av många teoribegrepp om Space på den egna filmen Sagan om Dansaren som spelades in 1996. Hon publicerar det här som inspiration för andra dansare att närma sig teori som kan vara svårt att läsa på egen hand. Doreen Massey’s teori om space är väldigt komplex och detta inlägg gör inte anspråk på att förklara denna teori. Det är tänkt som en ingång för dig som danspraktiker att tänka mer på space och hur filosofi skulle kunna vara en hjälp. Inlägget är skrivet på engelska.

Ami Skånberg Dahlstedt is currently a doctoral student at the Center of Asian Dance and Theater, University of London. There she works with applying critical theory to artistic research in dance. Here she uses one of many theories about space on her own film The Dancer – a Fairy-Tale, which was recorded in 1996. She publishes this as an inspiration for other dancers to approach theory, which could be difficult to read on one’s own. Doreen Massey’s theory of space is very complex and this post does not claim to explain this theory. It is thought of as an entrance for you as a dance practitioner to think more about space and how philosophy could be a help. The entry is written in English.

Time-space, space-time
The English word space is difficult to translate into Swedish. There are several words for space: for example rumutrymme and rymdRum means room or accommodation which could be a material place but also a space for activity. ‘Dance space’ in English is often translated poetically into ‘Rum för Dans’, literally ‘Room for Dance’. Utrymme is both space and place, it could mean a scope or a storage for things. Utrymme is often used when a claim for more space is expressed. Nowadays the English word ‘space’ is used in a combination with Swedish. Here, space also equates recognition. Rymd means the athmospheric space, the space of stars, planets, and galaxies. Rymd is also used in a combination of other words, where I find tidsrymd to be the most fascinating. Tidsrymd is a combination of the words time and space, literally ‘time’s space’, and it means period of time. In this word lies a competition for equal recognition: time vs space, space vs time.

How do you dance spaces?
In Doreen Massey’s For Space, the goal is to draw out the lines for an alternative imagination of space for contemporary times, and to think about space differently. Massey wants us to rethink the assumption that space is something we simply pass through. She wants to bring the concepts of space alive, to be an active part of society, rather than being the realm within which society operates. This is key to understanding of politics and power. How can Massey’s For Space put substance to dance practice? She writes that the way we imagine space has effects. It makes space seem like it a surface, continuous and given. It differentiates – somebody finds it, takes it and then owns it. This image is also used in dance spaces. In many Western professional dance studios the main focus is to cover as much space as possible until you have conquered space with your own body. Outside the studio, there are powerful structures, which decide the inclusion or exclusion of dancing bodies as a whole or as individuals.

On the one hand, space is always imbued with power and on the other hand ‘power’ itself always has a geography.  I decide to look at a dialogue I wrote in 1995, based on a real meeting with somebody while I was on my way home after a performance. I wrote the dialogue for my first fiction film The Dancer- a Fairy-tale. My proposal then was to show the way a dancer might be in the world: poor, without a fixed place, mobile, not in a car, but on a bicycle, which is not seen as a powerful position by society. I wanted to show how the position might open up for different encounters with space and with people.

Skärmklipp 2017-09-27 12.30.17

Ami as the character Redlip

In the film The Dancer – a Fairy-Tale, the character Redlip bikes to the film’s last meeting with yet a male manager, in this case the State himself. She is going to ask for funding for her dance company Redlipsong, finally having realized that the art of dance has no commercial value in contemporary society. If you cannot sell your art, how are you going to pay your rent? How are you going to survive? While she is locking her bicycle, someone approaches her. Redlip is nervous about her meeting with the State, and does not have time to interact with anyone. She keeps her space for herself. When she looks up, she sees a man who is not from Sweden. He wears a white crocheted hat. He starts to chat with her, but she is focussed on her important meeting, and hardly replies.

The Philosopher (speaks Swedish with an accent): Excuse me, have you got the time?

Redlip: What?

The Philosopher (a bit irritated that Redlip seems so blunted): The time?

Redlip: No.

The Philosopher: Why not?

Redlip does not reply, instead makes herself ready, and picks up a book.

The Philosopher: Is time of no importance to you?

Redlip: No, time’s of no importance… (she looks at the high building, representing The Government) …but you have to subject yourself sometimes.

Redlip walks towards the building. The man walks after her.

Skärmklipp 2017-09-27 12.30.54

The Philosopher: What is of more importance? Space?

Redlip stops and replies: Yes, space more so than time.

The Philosopher: What are you? A physicist?

Redlip: Almost. I’m a dancer.

The Philosopher: Dancer? How great! I love dancing. Look.

The man starts to perform for her. They both laugh and start to dance together.

Skärmklipp 2017-09-27 12.34.35

In the scene between Redlip and the Philosopher, space opened up to be a shared one, a space where communication could happen. But since Redlip at first was so focussed to do well in her meeting with the State – a man in power (of time and change) – the ‘space out-there’ became subordinate, and she almost missed the opportunity to talk and dance with the Philosopher. The film was invited to Alexandria International Film Festival in 1999. Clearly, the scene with Redlip and the Philosopher was interpreted differently in Egypt than in Sweden. By an Egyptian audience The Philosopher was seen as a local character in a strange environment – Sweden – meeting a Swedish stranger. I explained that the scene showed two persons, marginalized by the Swedish society, and how they met as equals because they were sharing seemingly rootless positions. When you have no fixed point in life, when you yourself are in a process of becoming, dynamic meetings with ‘outsiders’ are possible. At that time, I had a need to imagine a space where someone would love dancing. In Sweden you are not allowed to dance in public space without a permission. Requirements for dance permits are contained in something called ‘Order Act’, which came in 1956, based on an assumption that dance, ‘immoral’ music (especially jazz), alcohol consumption and uncontrolled meetings between young men and women, needed to be banned. Politicians have tried to abolish the ban, but each time, the Social Democrates and the Christian Democrates vote against it.

The Immigrant
In Sweden, the Philosopher in the film was seen as the Immigrant. At this time in Sweden, the term ‘intersectionality’ had not been introduced. Discussions on discrimination and integration had not fully gained momentum. Intersectionality is a term coined in 1989 by American civil rights advocate Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw to describe overlapping or intersecting social identities and related systems of oppression, domination, or discrimination. Intersectionality is the idea that multiple identities intersect to create a whole that is different from the component identities.

The Philosopher was played by Reza Shoiaiyan, a professional actor who had fled Iran. Professional actors who had fled their countries to Sweden ended up in physically demanding and low paid jobs. Reza Shoiaiyan was no exception. Finally he hurt his back from a job as a metal worker in heavy industry, and decided to return to acting. For many years he toured with his highly acclaimed piece ‘Reza’s resa‘. Reza in Swedish means journey. In a captivating monologue he told the Swedish audience about his escape from Iran. This made the audience reflect on the time when Swedes emigrated to the U.S. because of famine and difficult times. The position of the immigrant is a shared one, and it is never just local.

Skärmklipp 2017-09-27 12.35.02

The Swedish theater institutions were still discussing whether ‘broken Swedish’ would be acceptable on Swedish stages or not. Could Strindberg be practiced differently? In this discussion, there are what Massey describes as claims to exclusivity, and home grown rooted authenticity. White privileged directors argued that different bodies and voices would destroy their artistic freedom, and these arguments are still repeated today. The question of inclusion and integration is seen as a threat to artistic freedom, and a demand for art to be of only utilitarian value. I argue that the real threat to art is the artists’ own ignorance to what is happening to society (a space to be practiced), and our role in it (how to make space together). Dancers and choreographers cannot shut the door to the studio and believe that art can be created separated from society, from nature, or from people. There is never an independent artistic compass. We always come from somewhere and end up elsewhere.

As Doreen Massey writes:
An existence of multiplicity is possible where we can celebrate diverseness and difference. The world cannot be told as the universal story of ‘the West’ alone or as the story of the white, heterosexual male. This recognition depends on a recognition of spatiality. Space consists of loose ends and missing links, which can be combined in endless figures.







Ami Skånberg Dahlstedt gästar Konstkolonin, Palmhuset i Trädgårdsföreningen lördag 30/9 kl 19





Konstnärskolonier har historiskt fungerat som ett motstånd mot den rådande ordningen och varit en plats för konstnärer att undersöka nya uttryck, testa nya vägar och göra det där som ingen vågat göra innan. Vilka nutida konstnärliga tillflyktsorter behövs idag?

Genom tre kvinnliga konstnärers ögon – Lili Brik (mest känd för att ha inspirerat bland annat Majakovskij, Yves Saint-Laurent och Pablo Picasso), Virginia Woolf (Bloomsburygruppen) och Anna Ancher (Skagenmålarna) – blickar vi tillbaka till 1900-talets början och sekelskiftets konstkolonier.

Varje föreställning gästas av en inbjuden gäst (läs om våra gäster här), som reflekterar kring konstkoloni som livskonst, motståndsstrategi och alternativ samhällsform – och hur konsten kan utgöra en rum för förändring idag.

Boka din biljett här.

Konstkolonin är ett gestaltande av en dagdröm, en dröm om konstnärsklustret som förhöjer dig. Ett försök till att skapa känslan av original. En lek med vad som är genuint. Ljuset i Skagen blandas med svettig poesi och nyskapande form.


Under föreställningen kommer du bjudas på mat* och dryck finns också tillhands.*


Idé och koncept: Matilda Johansson, Sara Östebro & Henrik Sputnes
Regi: Matilda Johansson
Skådespeleri: Lina Ljungqvist
Dans: Jasmine Attié

*Mat – Menyn kommer vara en överraskning, dock kommer det finnas vegetarisk, vegansk och glutenfri mat tillhands.

*Dryck – Dryck finns att köpa till maten för rimliga priser.


Lokalerna är tillgänglighetsanpassade. Stor toalett finns.

A Particular Act Of Survival

Foto: Annica Karlsson Rixon

Foto: Annica Karlsson Rixon

Ami Skånberg Dahlstedt – A particular act of survival

With focus on the independent artist’s vulnerability through history, Ami Skånberg Dahlstedt has created a piece that glances backwards, inwards, forwards, and outwards.
She uses movement, music and text to activate the silent archives she carries within herself, and which she shares with her dancing colleagues in Gothenburg and globally,
after thirty-two years as a practitioner of various dance techniques.
The performance will be presented in English.

Premiere 7 april 7 p.m. 2015

Music: Palle Dahlstedt
Light design: Åsa Holtz
Costume: Anna Klevenås Kraft
Photo: Annica Karlsson Rixon
Texts: Ami Skånberg Dahlstedt, Dianne Reid, Mauritz Tistelö, Virginia Woolf

Created with support from Studio BuJi and Gothenburg City

7 april kl. 19:00
8 april kl. 19:00
10 april kl. 19:00 (sold out)
11 april kl. 19:00
12 april kl. 17:00
The performance will be in English

Ticket Prices
Pre-booking online
140 SEK / 100 SEK discounted

On the venue
160 SEK / 120 SEK discounted

The foyer opens one hour before the performance starts.
Be sure to pick up your tickets at least a half hour before the program begins.
Discount applies to students, job seekers / sick leave, retirement, group <6 people

Book tickets
+46 31-711 82 00 (weekdays 10-17)
Tickster (print at home)
Kulturpunkten (pick up at Stora Teatern)

More info:


Amanda Clausens dokumentär

I samband med Ami Skånberg Dahlstedts premiär på nya föreställningen Medusas Skratt blev hon intervjuad av Amanda Clausen, som studerade den ettåriga kursen Filmaktivism på Kvinnofolkhögskolan i Göteborg.


Amanda Clausen

Nu kan du se Amandas film om Amis feministiska arbete med scenkonst:

Suriashi Intervention

Jag hinner inte riktigt med min hemsida.
Men idag vill jag dela ett fantastiskt foto taget av Benedikte Esperi från utställningen Durational Practices and Marathon Art på A Venue i Göteborg.


Foto: Benedikte Esperi och Palle Dahlstedt

2015 blev jag tillfrågad av skådespelerskan Maria Fahl Vikander att lära ut japansk dans. Så skedde. En dag stod jag utan undervisningslokal men höll då lektion utomhus i Lökträdgården i Botaniska. Just denna dag hade jag min kamera med, på stativ. Bilderna blev så vackra och de finns med i den 4,5 h långa videon som visar mitt arbete med att gå långsamt i världen ensam och tillsammans med andra, som alltså visats under veckan på A Venue.

Igår var Maria på utställningen och hon började gå i suriashi framför mig och bel canto-sångaren Ignacio Jarquin på London Bridge, en del i filmen som är filmat av Palle Dahlstedt. Benedikte fångade i sin tur med kameran ögonblicket då jag och Ignacio projiceras på Marias axel. Vi går från vänster till höger på bild och Maria möter oss genom att gå från vänster till höger. Vi har diskuterat bilden en del under det senaste dygnet på sociala medier.

Vi har skrivit om konstens oändliga möjligheter till möten där vi har kunnat vara både tids- och platsresenärer i samma fysiska och mentala landskap. 

Maria: Det här är den optimala längtan man har haft ibland, att fysiskt få träda in i ett konstverk.

Ami: Kroppar som bär genom tid och rum. Vi vilar på din axel.
Maria: Javisst, är det en säregen och underbar inkarnation!

Ami: Och som om reinkarnationen inte är nog – du är lik din dotter här, Maria. Eller hon är lik dig.

Maria: Ja, och Alicia bor i London numera.

Suriashi – a body posture which can be positioned in past tense, presence and in the future at the same time.

Konstnärliga Revir

En minifestival med performativa konstformer (english below)

Sista etappen av A-venues sommarutställning utgörs av en vecka med performativa uttryck som scenkonst, dans, performance, litteratur, teater och musik. Under veckan ges plats för en mångfald av röster på oväntade ställen med nya infallsvinklar. Uttrycken befolkar gränslandet mellan konventioner, ifrågasätter normer och fyller mellanrummen i staden. Med fokus på de rum som andra kanske bara passerar, synliggörs de gränser som skiljer inne från ute, privat från allmänt, tillgängligt från otillgängligt.

Praktiker från Högskolan för scen och musik, Akademin Valand samt HDK – Högskolan för design och konsthantverk mutar in nya kulturella territorium och expanderar konstnärliga revir under festivalveckan.Sibmas_cr
Suriashi Intervention med Ami Skånberg Dahlstedt på kungliga biblioteket i Köpenhamn

Koreografiska Konstnärskap – performance, workshops, installationer och samtal kring dans och offentliga rummet som gemensam faktor i sin praktik.
Tisdag 16/8 Moa Matilda Sahlin
12.00 -17.00 En process “Den utsträckta handens gest” i utställningen. 16.15-17.00 en föreställnings föreläsning inför premiär av koreografin “Den utsträckta handens gest”
Onsdag 17/8 Ami Skånberg Dahlstedt
12.00-14.30 filmerna ”Sagan om dansaren”, ”Fågel, fisk eller kvinna” och performance
15.00-17.00 lecture performance samt dansmanifestation för alla:
Suriashi Intervention, längs avenyn.
Torsdag 18/8 Linda Wardal
13.00-15.00 performance lecture kring verket ”Sida vid sida”. 15.00-17.00 improvisationsperformance mellan musiker och dansare ur samma verk.
Fredag 19/8 Benedikte Esperi
12.00-15.00 ”MODuler” visas i form av performance lecture, videoinstallation och arkivmaterial.
Fredag 19/8 Therese Sahlin ”Fuse Fam”
15.00-17.00 Street fusion öppet för deltagande, ingen föranmälan eller förkunskap! Introduktion sker på plats. Video och dansporträtt.
mer info:

”Det här är hjärtat”
Annikki Wahlöö och Lena Dahlén tolkar samt läser dikter av Bodil Malmsten med följande samtal. Ett samarbete mellan Kulturkalaset, a-venue och Bonniers förlag.
Lördag 20/8 12.00-14.00 teckentolkas
Söndag 21/8 11.00-13.00

”Orange Water”
A meditative solo performance of a Finnish vocal artist Sini Koskelainen/reKSee
Lördag 20/8 15.00-17.00
Söndag 21/8 15.30-17.00

Artistic territories
A mini festival of performative arts

The last part of the A-venue summer exhibition consists of a week of performative expressions: theatre, dance, performance and music. During the week there will be a diversity of voices presented in unexpected places with new approaches. The expressions inhabit the borderland between conventions, questioning norms and fill the interspaces of the city. With a focus on sites that others might just pass by, visualizing the limits that separates inside from outside, private from public, accessible from inaccessible.

Practitioners from the Academy of Music and Drama, the Valand Academy, and HDK – the School of Design and Crafts, are claiming and expanding new cultural and artistic territories during the festival week.

Hero på King’s Place i London maj 2016

Länk till dokumentation av Hero/Atsumori i London:

Länk till panelsamtal i London:

Länk till producentens hemsida: