In early April 2019, Kino Šiška was host to NORSE (Network of Residencies in South East Europe), the 3rd International meeting of Nomad Dance Academy, a network of contemporary dance practitioners from across South East Europe, including some early occupiers of this building.
Supported by the City of Ljubljana, in the run up to their candidacy for the European Capital of Culture in 2025, the focus of this meeting was the need across the region for contemporary dance residencies and how these might bring value to the cities that host them.
Res Artis was asked to take part in NORSE to explore the relationship between the residency and the hosting city, and to bring to the table the wide experience of our members in developing and running different kinds of residencies. With days packed with presentations, workshops and performances, the delegates shared their experiences and outlined their ambitions.
From vibrant independent spaces in Belgrade (RS) and Skopje (MKD) to the temporary use of unused buildings in many cities, from the refurbished Old Power Station for Contemporary Dance in Ljubliana (SI), to the extraordinary international presence of dance professionals from Bucharest (RO) the picture was of a rich tapestry of contemporary dance practice woven together here by the Nomad Dance Academy.
Municipal officers, dance companies and practitioners represented thirteen cities from former Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Greece, Hungary and Romania. From Podgorica (ME) to Sofia (BG) the cities ranged from those with little cultural infrastructure, to major cities with significant international and local cultural programme. They shared in their communist/socialist legacy, many publicly owned buildings, like Kino Šiška, which could be repurposed and they shared a still emerging public support for the independent NGO sector.
Some cities offered more public support than others, some had more political support, and the conversations inevitably turned to the more challenging areas of cultural policy or governance, and what networks can do to amplify the voices of their members. The success of this meeting was the bringing together of contemporary dance practitioners and city officials to ask questions in an open forum and share solutions. It was a privilege to take part.