Report from Bogota
NORDIC PERFORMING ARTS IN BOGOTA FESTIVAL
First of all, many thanks to Nordic Culture Point for making it possible the realization of this project with its precious economic support.
Initially it should be noticed that in spite of the title, this project – as originally planned – has also included collaborations with the festivals of Panamá, San José de Costa Rica, and Ibagué, Colombia.
The cooperation between the involved Nordic companies – and between these and the Latin American partners – developed as efficiently as expected, and was brought to a successful ending, on a scope beyond all expectations, however with an unexpected modification at a quite critical point, just 3 months before the beginning: The Icelandic company Vesturport was prevented to travel due to internal problems. Therefore, after receiving the approval of Nordic Culture Point, Vesturport was replaced with the Norwegian company De Utvalgte.
The multiple-sided cooperation has consisted in a complex and extensive coordination of actions from individual and common applications, through negotiations with the various Latin American partners, gathering and submission of information material for communication purposes, planning and execution of the logistics, to the final reporting, accounting and gathering/delivery of documentation.
The above named unforeseen change had the consequence that only 3 countries, instead of 4, was represented in the Nordic package that was presented in Latin America. However, this circumstance did not restrain an effective realization and conclusion that was truly successful from all points of view: structural, artistic and human.
As said above, one company was also presented in the Festival of Panama, and two of them were furthermore able to extend their tours to other two festivals, the ones of San José, Costa Rica, and Ibagué in Colombia. A scheduled visit of two of the companies to the Festival of Caracas, Venezuela, was cancelled in the last minute for safety reasons, because of the unfortunate turbulent situation in Caracas around those days.
Expectations, wonderings and achievements
The visit of the Nordic artists involved in the project to the above named festivals has been a definitely inspiring experience. For most of us this has been our first visit to Latin America, and for 3 of the groups it was the first opportunity to show their work to an audience of this part of the world. We were surprised by the great expectation of the public towards our presentations, as well as by their massive attendance to the shows. Not less impressive was to us to witness the large participation in the totality of the huge amount of shows and activities organized by the different festivals, specially the one of Bogotá. It is seldom one has the pleasure to see the long queues of people in front of the theaters, as it happens in the above named Festivals.
Equally astonishing was for us the great interest shown by the local artistic community to attend the numerous working sessions that we offered, including the panel abut Nordic arts, that allowed the participants to learn about the conditions in which the performing arts are created and developed in the different countries of the Nordic region. This last event allowed the attendees a broad approach to the concept “Nordic” through the understanding of the common geographic, historic and cultural background of the inhabitants of this par of the world, herein the companies involved in this project. This correlation was stressed by attaching the words “País Nórdico” (Nordic country) to the country of origin of each company.
4,6 points average, on a scale of 0 to 5 points.
The performances by the Nordic groups have been received with great warmth, and have been acclaimed equally by the organizers, the audience and the press. A rating system integrated in the homepage of the festival, that allows the audience to value the performances, showed in the case of the Nordic companies a result in between 4,5 and 4,8 out of 5 possible points to give.
The productions have been praised for their originality and inventiveness. More specifically: Carte Blanche for their sophisticated, and accurate stage language, WHS for their exquisite and complex magic universe, Paolo Nani for his powerful humor and his ability to – alone on stage – charm and fascinate a large audience. In the case of De Utvalgte the comments highlighted in positive terms their combination of a refined imagery with the challenging script by one of the outstanding Nordic dramatists today, the Norwegian Jon Fosse. This contributed with an added value to the display of the Nordic culture in Bogota.
The main achievement of this project has been to place distinctly the Nordic region in the consciousness of the people that has witnessed the presentations (both professionals and spectators) and not the less the people that has attended the workshops, working sessions and talks. From the artistic point of view, the presence of the Nordic companies in the different cities have been clearly noticed and highly admired. We can say that the above named presentations have indeed awaked the interest in the Nordic Arts among the many who didn’t know about it, and increased the attention among those who had previous knowledge about the Nordic performing arts. We are convinced, that this will help improving the quality and extent of relations and collaboration between Latin America and the Nordic countries in the area of culture.
From the human point of view, we believe that this experience has been rewarding and enriching for all the involved parts and persons. The relationships that each of the artists have established during this tour on all levels (the organizers of the events, colleagues, presenters, other invited companies and artists, pupils, the press etc.), as well as the exciting experiences of the tour will for sure be kept alive in the spirits of each of them for a long time, and eventually develop into closer friendships and alliances.
The project in numbers
Countries represented: 3
Companies involved: 4
Productions presented: 5
Artists involved in the tour: 32
Countries visited: 3
Cities/festivals visited: 4
Performances in total: 36
Estimate total amount of spectators: 24.000
Average spectators per presentation: 666
Workshops: 2 (8 sessions)
Lectures/working sessions: 5
Panel on Nordic Arts: 1
Attendees to the parallel activities in total: 160
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