Reclaim Challenge: Rethinking the Critical Impact of an Education of Performance Art in Denmark

Sofie Lebech, Cecilie Ullerup Schmidt, Laura Luise Schultz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

124 Downloads (Pure)


As the Danish National School of Performing Arts merged nine schools into one institution, the momentum for establishing a national, state-funded education in performance art was missed and the continuation of “traditional” profiles within performing arts education was kept. As such, the future of performance art can be seen as a kind of “supplementary technique” to otherwise acting- and text-based theatre in Denmark.
This article argues, through examinations of three basic aspects of performance art, for the necessity of profiling performance art as a separate, own genre in a Danish educa- tional context. The article does not engage in a mapping of the field of performing arts educations in Denmark or of the different approaches to an educational programme in performance art. Rather, it addresses some of the basic critical figures and approaches in performance art that would challenge the scope of conventional theatre education – and could potentially be a game-changer within Danish performing arts.
Firstly, the performance artist as a figure questioning representation is traced through historical figures of the avant-garde. Secondly, the sociality of performance art is read as confronting and challenging the work ethos of a neoliberal context, where creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship have become imperatives. And finally, the production of performance art is read as a mode of producing knowledge, which challenges the instrumentalization of art as well as a standardization of academic methods.
In conclusion, after the presentation of the three perspectives on performance art, the organization, scope, and potential impact of a Danish education in performance art is presented in a coda.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40-60
Number of pages20
JournalNordic Theatre Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Arts
  • Pedagogy

Free keywords

  • Performance art education, Bologna Standards, performance artist, performance collectives, research-based performance, embodied criticality, Irit Rogoff, Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven, Das Beckwerk, Madame Nielsen, Jack Smith, Isabell Lorey, Bojana Kunst, Sara Ahmed, Monster Truck, DANSEatelier, cobratheater.cobra, Breakfast Club, ongoing project.


Dive into the research topics of 'Reclaim Challenge: Rethinking the Critical Impact of an Education of Performance Art in Denmark'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this