Page 1

Man dances... After the activities that secure to primitive peoples that material necessities, food and shelter, the dance come first. It is the erliest outlet for emotion, and the beginnings of the arts...Primitive man universally expressed his deeper feelings through measured movement. Nature about him moved rhythmically, in the wave motion of the waters and in the wind-blown fields; his own heart-beats were rhythmic. He dance for pleasure and as a ritual. He spoke in dance to his god. Cheney, Theatre, pp. 11-13

Group 3a: Functions of a Dance Theatre today? What is the relation between archtiecture and dance?




parking visitors by car


waiting for friends


ticket office

drinking wine socializing


coat room





The proscenium frames the performer, like a window for the audience, creating an invisible fourth wall.


Historically dance was a social event and in court ballet the audience took part in the performance. During the performance the dancers organized in simple patterns, and were later on joined by the audience in a less formal way. With the use of the proscenium stages, the choreography has developed into more complex shapes and patterns, what we today know as ballet. The orchester pit is a dividing line between the stage and the audience, almost like a barrier.


In the history of theatre, the relation between the audience and the performer has been a topic ever since Ancient Greece. In modern history, theatre director Bertold Brecht used the Verfremdungseffekt, creating effects so that the audience would be estranged with the events on the stage. He wanted to change the viewer from being a passive observer, into taking a critical view, making theatre political by evoking awareness of social injustice. The actors would address the audience, songs would interrupt the action - different methods were used to break the theatrical illusion.


Dance performances today can be seen in a variety of forms - the black box, site-specific, street well as the traditional proscenium stage in a theatre. The familiar, traditonal proscenic performance has been critiqued for being uncontemporary in that it makes the viewer passive. Contemporary dance space can sometimes have more in common with performance/art space, giving flexibility to the audience in how they choose to watch the piece/performance. The performance (stage/audience) can be arranged to engage the audience, or create specific vantage points, or create certain atmosphere of intimacy/distance.


The foyer is often described as the space most remembered by its visitors.Traditionally it is outward and open (while the auditorium is enclosed). This is where people meet, talk, look around. It is especially used before performance and during intermission, as a meetingpoint of discussion about the performance It can also double as venue for seminars, artist’s workshops and other activities engaging the public.





The roof of the Operahouse is a public space, its slopes of white marble invites to move and discover its spaces. The space mimics the qualities of a natural landcape and gives resistance by sudden irregularities in the smooth surface. At winters these slopes on the roof can be used for skeeing, and during summers for skating as well as it is a popular stage for music performances.


The space is about the audience, allowing it to be populated by thousands of people. At other times it is also a space for solitude, offering visitors spots to sit and observe the view or reflect in the sunlight.



Evolution of the theatre form Proscenium theatre


Evolution of the theatre form

Open-stage theatre


The evolutionary process started in the fifth century B.C with the classic Atheninan theatre, the thetre of Dionysus in Athens, where the actor-audience relationship was direct. This direct relationship was carried forward into the Hellenistic and the Greco-Roman theatre. In the Greco-Roman theatre the main acting area was moved to the proscenium and the orchestra gradually lost its importance. (theatre of Magnesia). In the Roman theatre the change in the audience-actor relationship eliminated the orchestra by converting it to a gladiatorial ring. The theatre had moved from the natural slopes of the hillsides to the heart of the city, where it stoods as an independent building. In the Renaissance we see the triumph of the Italian stage and the proscenium theatre. The audience-actor relationship remained divided into a confrontation from opposite sides. there is one shining exception: the Elizabethan stage. The determinative importance of speech developes the architectural form of the theatre.

The Bauhaus era was a milestone in the evolutionary progress of the theatre. Molinar’s U-theatre ushered in the open stge and made space theatre a realizable concept. The theatre should not be monolitic but flexible, that it sould serve not merely one of the performing arts but all of them. Gropius theatre was never built but what is important is that it prompted architects and theatre people to explore and experiment. Totaltheatre , in combination with Bayreuth effort, led to the advance proscenium theatre of today. It culminated in the open stage, in the successful designs of the Stratford and Tyrone Guthrie playhouses. In the section we can discern still more clearly the transition from the Greek theatre to the Italian, marked by the progressive shrinking of the auditorium and followed at the same time by the increase in scenic elaboration. In the theatre the extent of scenic elaboration is inversely proportional to the importance of speech.

Evolution of the theatre form


Experimental theatre

It cannot be considered a fourth form, basically it is an attempt to combine the three recognize forms in a single bar space. It is the adaptable theatre. A completely flexible theatre giving all forms of staging. With the minimun of scenery one could present different styles of play by altering the interior relationship of the house to the relationship required between actor and spectator for the particular play. The feature that distinguishes the new form is that these two fundamental areas are now movable and convertible, so that any desired arrangement can be produced. Gropius with the “total theatre� was the first to attempr a theatre design where 2000 spectators, under different conditions for each form, could see proscenium, arena or open-stage performances.


Experimental theatre

Ivisibly involved with all this laws in Man as Dancer. He obeys the law of the body as well as the law of the space; he follows his sense of himself as well as his sense of embracing space. As the one who gives birth to an almost endless range of expression, whether in free abstract movement or in symbolic pantomime, whether he is on bare stage or in a scenic environment constructed for him, whether he speaks or sings, whether he is naked or costumed, the Tanzermensch is the medium of transition into the greater world of the theatre. - Schlemmer-

With the Bauhaus the concept of space has changed. Schlemmer studed and approached it not through vision alone but with the whole body, with the sense of touch of the actor and the dancer. He transformed into abstract geometric terms his observations of the human figure moving in space. The human organism stands in the cubical, abstract space of the stage in obedience to laws of order different form those that apply to the space itself. The laws are the invisible linear network determinated by the relations between the shapes of plane and space.




Experimental theatre

Andreas Weininger, a Bauhaus follower, designed the spherical theatre and placed the spectators on the inner wall of the sphere, giving them a new relation to space. The entire structure revolves around an axis supporting the stage, which is free in space. Because of the centripetal force that rotate the structure the spectators enjoy new experiences and find themselves in a new optical, acustical and phisical relationship. The static synthesis of architecture disappears: Space, the body, the line, the point, color, light and sound are brought together in a new mechanical synthesis. The space stage and the space theatre become the home of the mechanical play.

An outstanding example of theatre architecture in which technology, science and mechanics coverge to provide a solution to the search for adaptability and flexibility, essential features of twenty-century theatre. It is true that the mind can transform the body, but it is equally true that structure can transform the mind. - Walter GropiusExperimental theatre


The classical/great Greek theatre in the landscape with the round shape in the Roman period becomes a building in the city but now with enclosed walls. Today the two typologies meet together in one building as proposed by Mies van der Rohe shown below. “The Mannheim National Theatre was the most convincing demostration that a unitary space could accommodate diversification as well as provide flexibility.� Mies Van Der Rohe: A Critical Biography


Experimental theatre

Gropius Totaltheatre is the beginning of an era of experimental theatres that today have become workshop where every theatrical notion is tested, a hotbed of study and research inspired by the belief that the theatre is an art that must grow and expand. An experimental theatre must be free of all the old conventions; the audience’s and performers’ areas must be designed so that they can be arranged in any relationship pattern and so that they are neutral in space. This arrangement should not be defined by a static architectural frame but by a design determined on each occasion by the play, the director and the actors. Norman Bel Geddes says: “the proper theatre for an education institution is one where the auditorium and the stage are in one large empy room.”

In this proposal, design by Weber and Rubinov, the floor of a hall in the shape of a 28 x 28 m2 has been divided into 20 modular 5 x 5 m. In this way it is possible to have an astonishing number of possible layout combinations; the system permits easy coversion not only to any of the three known theatre forms but also to any variation visualized by a director experimenting with ways of staging any kind of drama.

Miami experimental theatre is a large uniform space with a circular shape for the house. The only fixed elements in it are a revolving platform and a peripheral passageway that, in combination with modular seatbank units, can be made to form five different stage and auditorium arrangements. (Robert M. Little and Marion L. Manley)

Experimental theatre



Experimental theatre

From among Izenour’s designs we can see how an adatable theatre can be organically integrated in a building serving a wider public and not just a small group of student. The design is for a drama theatre seating 500 to 600 people, wich can be converted into a proscenium theatre, an open stage theatre or a theatre-in-the-round. “Almost any geometry can be made to work, if the proper methods are used to control it, and that some geometries are simply more efficient than others.�

Experimental theatre


Theatre technologies


Theatre tecnnique

Theatre Technic The general performance space can be divided in to three different categories black box, Wight space and the Viewer theatre (tittskåp). These three have similar needs. Public axes, front of house, back stage, service entrains. Box-office and restaurant/café can also be seen as technical spaces but these functions can be external and off sight. Avant-garde theatre Dance/performance can have specific needs in sum cases water, fire, smoke and win can be required these have all different technical needs.

Viewer theatre (tittskåp)

Wight space

black box

Theatre tecnnique




Diagram front of house (Theatre buildings a Design guide 2010)

Technical functions Audients space: toilets, a/c, information, evacuation.

Performance space: bleachers, (technical) floor, lighting rigg, sound system, video projection, a/c, evacuation, Rigging possibility.

Diagram a/c. Tow different supply strategies

Theatre technologies


The Contact Theatre, Manchester by Short & Associates is a very good example of passive ventilation.

The Contact Theatre, Manchester by Short & Associates is a very good example of passive ventilation. The sound and light technician needs undisturbed view and hearing. Computer screen and video monitors are needed fore runingshows.

The sound and light technician needs undisturbed view and hearing. Computer screen and video monitors are needed fore runingshows.


Theatre tehnologies

Theatre tehnologies


Sound We need: 2x 30m of symmetric XLR cable (microphone cables) We bring: an external sound card (balanced outputs) 2 active speakers

Lights We need: 2x profile spots, min 38ยบ angle, can be 500W or 1000W 3x asymmetric floodlights (cyclo) can be 500W or 1000W 8x dimmers 1x light console (does not have to be programmable, manual is fine) We bring: 3x Par 20, 50W (2 on floor stands)

Video We bring: DLP video projector with a suspension bracket a laptop signal cable connection between projector and laptop (max 30m)

Extra a parking space for the van is always appreciated

MDT The Lac of Signs


The performance plays on the transcient quality of movement in dance. In the performance Lac of Signs, MDT Stockholm, there is no physical danser, the performer is immaterial, the narrative is the focus. The performance is an optical illusion, projected into a wooden frame and viewed by a small audience.

Theatre technologies



The body and space, examples of projects Example 1) When the dance piece is watched in relation to a particular space, the location is a part of the dance just as the dancers body. The elements are an integral part of the choregraphy. This pushes the notion of dance and performance into expanding and investigating what it could be. Performances that are brought into public spaces make dance accessible to new public, strengthening the sense of communal space. The facade as a communicative surface. Dancers’ movements are illuminated in the windows of a skyscraper and seen from the square and the streets.



Body and space - Examples

Example 2) Bauhaus: According to Oscar Schlemmer, active in the Bauhaus Theatre, the origin of dance is the party. The very first Bauhaus performance in 1923 was described as the mechanical kabaré - the real dancers are the canvas, textures and rhythm - while the people are operators. The performances were often followed by huge parties, arrangements that are similar to dance clubs of today.

“Bodies in motion is form in motion. The movements of the body transform the room.” (1916 Schreyer writing in Bauhaus magazine Der Sturm)

Oscar Schlemmer was among the ones in charge of the Bauhaus thatre and created the triadic ballet. It performed in 1927 but after a number of unsuccessful years it was concluded with a displayshow of its 18 costumes in New York. The ideas behind the choreography sprung from the mascerade, and the dancers were to enliven the rigid and geometric costumes with an abstract choreography.

Schlemmers more successfull collaborations was with Manda von Kreibig, who in 1927 developed the dance with attached sticks. Through the linear body extensions, the movements describe the frame space in which the body is active.

The body and space - examples


Example 3) Helle Brabrand and ytte Kjøbek “SPACEBODY actual virtual” ( 2002) 12 min.


Body and space - Examples

SPACEBODY actual virtual is a 12 minute video from 2002, that resultet from the collaboration between the architect Helle Brabrand and the choreographer Jytte Kjøbek. The work explores the invisible dimensions of the body in space and makes it visible, it explores the relationship and the opposites of/between dance and architecture, those two fields that work with space and the body through their different languages. With movement/dance as a tool, the work crosses consciously and unconsciously the line between the body and the space. And it utilizes the fact that the body can interpret or define the invisible dimensions of the space, and that the defined space can both be stretched out, and that it can frame and restrict the dancers movement. Like Adolphe Appia describes that the dancer “expresses his [/her] life through movement; he [/ she] possess space not just through his [/her] mass, but also by his [/her] space through gestures and movements... remove him [/her] and space once more becomes undefined and elusive. In this sense his [/her] body creates space.â€?

Body and space - Examples


Example 4) Hotel Pro Forma, “Why does night come, mother?”, performance

Top image and opposite: From Hotel Pro Forma´s, Why does night come, mother? Other four images on this page are from their various performances.


Body and space - examples

Body and space - examples


Example 5)

Atlanta Eke & Emma Kim Hagdahl, “Monster Body”


Body and space - Examples


What is happening in the Stockholm dance scene today? Dansens hus is the leading institution in contemporary dance. They would like to see more venues of for presenting dance, especially a variation in profiles. In Stockholm there is a need for spaces to show smaller productions, spaces to for school/ children activities, as well as spaces to engage the public. “Dance is acknowledged as an expression of the body, but also as a means to gain knowledge, investigate and to create meaning Dance should be noted everywhere in the society. It has the potential to negotiate, heal, comfort, challenge, anger and educate.�

DANSENS HUS - 20 years of being a dance institutione - 35 guest performances a year - contemporary dance from Sweden and the whole world - open, accessible, - seminars, lectures, workshops, school shows, exhibitions, networking - residency program for national/international choreographers as well as artists, writers and producers working int the field of dance

Wide Perspective from Tech stand. With seating

Wide Perspective from Tech stand. Trusses an bridges. No seating

Wide Perspective from Tech stand. With seating

Wide Perspective from Tech stand. Trusses an bridges. No seating

Wide Perspective from Row 9, center. With seating

Wide Perspective from Row 9, center. Trusses and bridges. No seating

Picture above: CULLBERGBALETTEN/ PLATEAU EFFECT on the big stage.


What is happening in the Stockholm dance scene today?

Wide Perspective from Row 9, center. With seating

Wide Perspective from Row 9, center. Trusses and bridges. No seating


- the national scene for opera and ballet, opened on 18th of january 1773 - 1100 seats - archives, costume studios - young at the opera: school shows, studyvisits, workshops - the opera also houses a luxury restaurant, a bar/bistro with an outdoors space in the summer, a nightclub and rentable spaces - Stockholm culturefestival, held every august, rebuilds the entrance of the opera into an outdoor stage - the cube was a temporary commercial project built on top of the opera roof in 2012. The space was a luxury restaurant with 18 seats. The context and the space use gave way to critique and concern about stateowned historic buildings being used for commercial purposes.

What is happening in the Stockholm dance scene today?



- co-production platform and venue for contemorary choreography and performance - networks - studiospace and stage - residency program for invited artists - 2 studios and 1 stage

WELD Lab and W2

- from 2006 is run by danser Anna Koch, developed from the work of Efva Lilja and the company E.L.D. - interdisciplinary meeting place for artists working within the fields of dance, art, theatre, architecture, music, film and science working both theoretically and practically - vision to develope, expand and deepen the notion and the artform of dance - has a network engaging individual projects, theatre companies, etc within different art fields - residency program - ‘black box’ studio space with capacity for an audience of 80


What is happening in the Stockholm dance scene today?

BIBLIOGRAPHY Books: - Contemporary theatre, evolution and design, Athanasopulos, Jhon Wiley & Sons, 1983 - Architecture, actors and audience, Iain Mackintosh, Routledge, 1993 - The eyes of the skin, Juhani Pallasmaa - Mies Van Der Rohe: a Critical Bibliography Web pages: - - - - -

Group 3a: Katla Mar铆ud贸ttir, Susanna Morpurgo, Tobias Norenstedt, Anna Rodin

Functions of a dance theatre today  
Functions of a dance theatre today  

Groupwork, KTH.