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Fare thee well, Copenhagen
Last week with AFUK

Nika Parkhomovskaya

Time flies and my last full week in Copenhagen is over. Now there are only 3 days of intense meetings ahead and then I’m going back to Russia.  There - fortunately - I will have a chance to realize all the ideas and bring to Russia some of the people I was meeting during my week #3 with the New Horizons Leadership Program.


22d of March. 12:30-18:00. Copenhagen, Teaterøen-Refshaleøen-Amager Strand. 

Monday starts with a trip to Teaterøen, where we (Anne Mette Norskov from AFUK and I) are meeting Peter and Tilde, who rent part of the island from the city and provide it as a rehearsal and performance venue for independent artists. Unfortunately due to COVID-19 they will probably have to give some of the spaces back to the owners because nowadays it’s too difficult to maintain them, at least the old bunker, which gets wet and dusty when unused. Anyway our meeting itself is very nice - Tilde shows us around and tells about their other project on Møn.


After that we go to meet Louise from Copenhagen International Theatre who speaks about their past and present, the circus festival they used to do and the Metropolis outdoor festival they are doing now. It’s very interesting to find out about immersive and site-specific performances they invite from abroad or organize together with local artists as well about their brand-new national project, which - hopefully - will start this summer. After 1.5 hour talk I’m really impressed with their creativity and efficiency: it looks like that their team of 4 people (only 2 of them full time) are doing more than a regular theatre company of 10-20. 

And finally I go to the Amager strand to meet Karen from the Copenhagen Stage - one of the most important Danish International festivals, which takes place every year in late May - beginning of June. We discuss their newly planned program, Danish showcase for the international guests and a digital edition for foreigners who won’t be able to come this year. All this sounds very promising - especially after they had to cancel the previous edition. Karen also talks a bit about her own idea of another festival and as a potential spectator I tell her that it has all chances to become a huge success.  

24th of March. 10:00-11:30, Copenhagen, AFUK. 

As promised, today I’m giving a “theory” class about contemporary Russian circus in AFUK - both for AFUK and FGU students. I start with asking what they know about Russia and then we continue with some photos and videos. Everybody seems interested and keeps asking questions about Russian circus even after we finish. Jens, who is taking care of this class, promises to send all necessary links to the students so that they can watch some more at home. I feel like an ambassador, promoting the things I really like and talking about stuff which really bothers me. And at the same time I feel at home - I'm so used to giving lectures all the time that suddenly find out that I missed doing it here in Denmark. 


24th of March. 15:00-16:00, Copenhagen, Kastellet. 

After my small lecture (more likely public-talk with Q&A) I’m heading to Osterport, where I have a meeting with Anne Middelboe Christensen, the most known Danish dance critic and dramaturg at the famous Vendsyssel Teater, based in Hjørring (north of Jutland). She tells me more about Danish ballet and contemporary dance field, gives plenty of contacts and mentions people I’ve never heard about as well as some familiar artists. Later she sends me the links to her articles (which I cannot read for they are in Danish, but will surely google-translate because they sound really interesting) and connects me to some of the people mentioned during the meeting. I’m impressed that such a busy person is so friendly and supportive.

25th of March. 10:00-18:00, AFUK. 

Ta-dam! Today I’m meeting Anne Sophie Bergmann Steen, the founder of AFUK. She gives me a short overview on the history of the whole organization: articulates its mission, points out the key dates, speaks about the team. Then I’m meeting Ann-Jette Caron, AFUK scene producer, who is also working with some other prominent independent companies and projects. Our meeting is too short for such an important matter as production work and we decide to continue in zoom for I have plenty of questions about how circus and other alternative arts are supported and organized in Denmark. Afterwards I go to Forsøgsstationen to see  Lotte Faarup and speak about their social (“The Voice of the audience”) and artistic (trilogy “Salt”, “Sugar”, “Who’s knocking”) projects.The meeting is both nice and very informative, I even have an opportunity to talk to some of the Experimental Lab residents about their idea of a research of the audience movement. And in the end of this long and fruitful day Troels Hagen Findsen from the Out of Balanz company, former AFUK teacher and famous clown, takes me for a nice walk and tells about one of the most prominent dance/circus/performative Danish independent companies’ everyday life and projects. I immediately fell in love with what they are doing and think how we can bring it to Russia after the borders are opened.



26th of March. 09:00-16:00, Helsingor. 

This week's trip is to Helsingor, where I’ve been 25,5 years ago. I’m not only going to Kronborg castle to see Hamlet's father's shadow, but also to the Passage Festival to discuss their concept and programming. The meeting with Jens, Heidi and Trine is exceptionally interesting also because they know some Russian artists and we have a couple of international common projects to talk about. I also ask about the funding, where does the money come from, who is their audience (Helsingor is much smaller than Copenhagen, and with no university here young people tend to leave the town) and how they attract it to their paid and free performances all over the town. They honestly answer all of this and give me some more details on the local community and making art  here (as well as a progressive and widely known site-specific festival). They even invite me to come and join this year’s edition as a journalist if it will be possible to cross the borders once again. I’m so inspired by this meeting that after exploring Helsingor I even went to the Louisiana Contemporary art Museum at Humlebæk. That’s how my last weekend in Copenhagen starts. 


29th of March. 09:00. Frederiksberg. 

So excited about what's next.

Published on: 30. March 2021

NHLP has been made possible with the support of Nordisk Kulturfond and Nordic culture Point, Nordic Council of Ministers, and Lund Municipality


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