Yggdrasil Dance

In the Nordic mythology, there is a world tree named Yggdrasil, which symbolizes the center of the earth. The many roots of Yggdrasil symbolize the people of the earth and their different cultures. The different cultures join in the trunk of the tree, and in the branches new cultures are created. The myth about this world tree serves as a metaphor for the artistic vision of the Yggdrasil Dance Ensemble. The productions of Yggdrasil Dance, which unites dance, music and installation, is based on current cultural research. With some of the greatest musicians, dancers and visual artists in the world, poetic and lingering stories with nature at its center is created.    

The ice of the poles is melting, the forests are dying, and the oceans of the world are rising. All the while humans feel guilty and powerless as they observe these events. Lately we have been preoccupied with creating a trilogy of performances which put focus on the global climate changes. Two of these performances Siku Aappoq/Melting Ice and Seca/Drought have been performed and debated at different artistic events.  

Yggdrasil Dance collaborates with different partners around the world in places like Vietnam, Indonesia, Tanzania, Brazil and Europa and our productions have been performed widely internationally, from the concert hall in Tivoli, Copenhagen, to the Opera in Hanoi.

Artistic Director, Birgitte Bauer-Nilsen

Foto: Sif Meincke

Foto: Sif Meincke

Since 1989, choreographer and Ph.d. in dance Birgitte Bauer-Nilsen, has created performances, workshops and done research in traditional dance from Greenland, Indonesia, China, India, Tanzania, Vietnam and Brazil. Both artistically and academically, she is interested in dance and performance as a cultural phenomenon and means of expression.

In 1995, Birgitte founded The Yggdrasil Dance Ensemble based on a vision of creating communication across cultures and borders through dance and performance. Some of Birgitte Bauer-Nilsen’s major works are the intercultural performances Footprint and The Butterfly, which have made important contributions to the international dance scene. The last couple of years, Birgitte has been occupied with the global climate changes, which is reflected in the latest performances by Yggdrasil Dance; A trilogy concerning the topic is on its way, initiated by Melting Ice in 2015.

Since 1999, Birgitte Bauer-Nilsen has been an associate professor at the Dep. of Music and Dance at the Uni. of Stavanger, Norway. Her subjects include dance anthropology, choreography and artistic research. She has been a guest lecturer in dance anthropology at various universities in Europe and the United States.

Birgitte has conducted exchange projects with Bagamoyo College of Arts in Tanzania, and the Nalanda Dance Research Center, Mumbai University in India, and she has given workshops and made research in traditional and ritual dances from India, Indonesia, China, Vietnam and Tanzania.

Education and studies

  • Ph.d. Koreografens blik – den performative, koreografiske praksis og strategi som metode i skabelsen af en interkulturel forestilling. 

  • Master Thesis ” Dansens magi; Dans som kulturfænomen i den europæiske og den indiske kultur en ny dimension i kulturpolitikken"

  • Doug Crutschfield Dansestudio, danseudd. Studier ved Department of Music and Dance, University of Massachusetts, USA. 

  • Studier ved Alvin Ailey, The American Dance Theater, New York City, USA.

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  • Susanne Danig, head of the Danish ITI and Danig Scenekunst Service (Chairperson)

  • Birgitte Øigaard, theatre instructor and head of Cumulus Teatret, board member of Haldor Topsøe Holding, (Vice Chairperson)

  • Jesper Kongshaug, light designer within the field of theatre, opera, ballet, tv and architecture.

  • Gry Worre Hallberg, Ph.d. at the Institute of Art and Culture, Copenhagen University. Artistic Director at Sisters Hope.

  • Niels Righolt, Administrative Director of Center for Art and Intercultural Activities.