This issue revolves around multiculturalism, identity, and dance in schools. These themes highlight the many meanings and purposes that dance has in the Nordic context. Multiculturalism is an integral part of our everyday lives in many ways and is tied to questions on identity. As an embodied practice, dance is also an integral element in the construction of identity, ever more so for those for whom dance is a profession. Dance as an element of identity construction may seem like a distant idea for others, for example school children. The lack of opportunities to experience dance during school years is an important topic to discuss in the Nordic context.

Four authors approach these themes from diverse viewpoints. Anette Sture Iversen describes a project entitled Dance as a Cultural Meeting Point that was carried out by a Norwegian organization for promoting dance in schools – the very same organization that publishes Nordic Journal of Dance. The aim of the project was to contribute to increasing the pupils’ and teachers’ understanding of dance and how dance can stimulate learning, and social competence. Interestingly, the most important cultural meeting turned out to be between the dance pedagogues’ dance culture and the pupils’ school culture.

Two cultures meet also in Ulla Mäkinen’s article Inspiring Change through Collaboration, which describes an artistic and pedagogic exchange between North Karelian College Outokumpu in Finland and Cultural College of Petrozavodsk in Russia. While describing the concrete work related to realizing the collaboration, Mäkinen acknowledges that successful collaboration requires a genuine interest in others’ values and practices as well as critical reflection of one’s own. She likewise ponders why multicultural collaboration is beneficial for students.




Another contribution from Finland entitled Identity Attachment Influences Contemporary Dancers’ Career Transition by Hanna Pohjola discusses different strategies by which three Finnish contemporary dancers have dealt with searching for a new identity after a career-ending injury. Through narratives based on interviews with the dancers, she introduces the different emphases by which the dancers were attached to their dancer identity and how this influenced the construction of a new one in the midst of the life changes they were confronted with.

The second research article by Kristine Høeg Karlsen comes from Norway and brings the focus back to the school context. This article is a spin-off and continuation of her master’s thesis, and highlights how dance is not prioritized in the curriculum for Norwegian primary education, even though dance has become generally more recognized in society at large. The author argues that if dance is going to have a future in Norwegian primary education, dance as a subject needs to be defined, delimited and verbalized. This article is written in Norwegian.

As co-editors of this issue of Nordic Journal of Dance, we remind the readers about this possibility to write in your native language, and thus, encourage sharing your work with other dance practitioners and researchers working in the Nordic context. The journal develops towards a forum of active discussion with your help.

Eeva Anttila/Leena Rouhiainen



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