Praxisfestivalen is an international platform for artistic practice and improvisation as performing art. The festival is a venue for professional performance artists, dancers, actors and movers who want to delve into dedicated time of research, curiosity, exploration, discussion and reflection. Is is an arena for different perspectives of working with a responsive body, present mind and spontaneous decision-making, and a space for going beyond the present limits and opening up for new questions and directions.
During one week the festival offer workshops, seminar, artist talks and performances. The festival has been an important artistic platform initiating and focusing on knowledge, techniques and methods, and how to discuss improvisation as a performance practice and discipline of today. Also, as an international meeting point for creative research new artistic collaborations has been established.
HISTORY / BACKGROUND
ImproFestivalen was initiated in 2009 and has been arranged as an annual event since 2010 (except from a sabbatical in 2015). The festival has developed in form and content every year and will continue to develop in relation to our current time and interest. The first year fourteen young improvisers met, as a collaborative and flat structured platform, sharing knowledge and thoughts about improvisation as an art form. In 2011 six improvisers met exploring “dramaturgy” as a term for improvised performances. In 2012 we expanded with workshops and invited internationally renowned artist, and started a co-production with Follo folkehøgskole, a boarding school 30 minutes outside Oslo where we could work, eat, sleep and hang out together. The first three years ImproFestivalen was a co-production with Danseinformasjonen where we performed at Scenehuset in Oslo. In 2013 we started a collaboration with Dansens Hus who hosted the performances. In 2016 the festival merged with PRAXIS Oslo – a platform for sharing of artistic practice, and changed the name to Praxisfestivalen.
Since 2012 the following international artists have shared and showed their work: Bodycartography project / Olive Bieringa and Otto Ramstad, Alix Eynaudi, Siri Jøntvedt (NO), Andrew Morrish (AUS/FR), Rebecca Bryant & Don Nichols (USA), Martin Slaatto (NO), Martin Nachbar (DE), Rosalind Crisp (AUS/FR), David Zambrano (VE/NL), Katarina Eriksson (SE/USA) and Keith Hennessy (USA).
ImproFestivalen was initiated by Karen Høybakk Mikalsen, and arranged during the years with Ida Gudbrandsen, Elisabeth Breen Berger, Maja Roel, Sigrid Kopperdal, Katja Schia, Marie Nikazm Bakken, Caroline Svartdahl and Sara Christophersen. The festival has through the years been supported by the Arts Coucil Norway, Fund for Performing Artists and The Agency of Cultural Affairs/City of Oslo.
KAREN HØYBAKK MIKALSEN is a dance artist, choreographer, teacher, initiator and organizer based in Oslo, Norway. She has her education from School for New Dance/Skolen for samtidsdans, Oslo, The University College of Dance in Stockholm (now DOCH) and five months of exchange at SEAD in Salzburg. She has studied improvisation, contact improvisation and composition at Movement Research in New York and has dived into Ensemble Thinking with Nina Martin and Lower Left Performance Collective (USA). Karen has since early 2000 made several ensemble projects involving professional dancers, actors, students and amateurs, with a special interest in public space and site specific. After 9 years abroad Karen has initiated several projects in Oslo including Mind the Gap – performance venue, ImproLAB – which turned into PRAXIS Oslo 2013, and ImproFestivalen which just recently fused with Praxis in 2016 and now exists as Praxisfestivalen! Karen holds a 3 years artist grant from the Arts Council Norway from 2015 - 17.
IDA GUDBRANDSEN has her dance education from Spin Off Forstudium i dans (2004-2005) and The Norwegian College of Dance (2006-2009). As a performer she has since 2011 been working with Impure Company/Hooman Sharifi, besides participatng in projects with Mia Habib, Landing, Ludvig Uhlbors, Flukt, Katrine Kirsebom, and has been involved in the Artistic Research Programme Exhibiting Choreography by Eva-Cecilie Richardsen. Ida has also been working as a producer for Impure Company/Hooman Sharifi, Mia Habib, Tone Gellein, Verdensteatret, and in 2011 she was project manager for the national celebration of dance in Norway, Dansens Dager. She is a part of the team organizing Mind the Gap and has for several years been working with ImproFestivalen/Praxisfestivalen. Ida held a 3 year artist grant from the Arts Council Norway from 2014-2016.
MAJA ROEL is a contemporary dance-artist, choreographer and producer that has education both in dance and in physical theatre as well as a degree in theatre science. She is an independent artist who develop her own projects in collaboration with other contemporary artists of different genres. She has previously worked several site-specific projects involving sites as helicopter landing space, several projects in moving busses and public spaces. Existential topics has always intrigued her and she has work with big and difficult topics like death, gender and evil. Her last project «Kunstnerisk avkastning» had a premiere in 2015 and was questioning how a marked liberalistic approach to art could affect the art. She is now working on the sequel of this piece. In 2013 she was granted a three year working grant from Statens Kunstnerstipend. She was in the period 2005 to 2010 one of the artist, producers and key player in the dance arts network Landing (www.landing.no) and was involved in producing several big scale site specific projects. Maja is often producing her own productions and has been a part of the team organizing ImproFestivalen/Praxisfestivalen for several years.