The Dancing Public

Mette Ingvartsen (DK/BE)
Tue 17 Jan ’23 and Wed 18 Jan ’23
Dance feast, spoken-word concert or frenzy of unbounded movement.
Tue 17 Jan ’23
Wed 18 Jan ’23

In The Dancing Public, Mette Ingvartsen explores ecstatic movement within social gatherings. Electronic music and vocal arrangements draw the audience not only to watch but to feel the beat in their bodies as she dances unstoppably across three stages. Calling back to choreomanias or dance ‘crazes’ from the past, Ingvartsen’s voice fills the space with stories, rapid-fire verbal rhythms, songs and ecstatic shouts.

She moves through the audience as though dancing in a public square, or diving into the delirious night of an endless rave. As she dances, her chants recall episodes of unexplained mass dance from medieval times to the present day – moments when people danced till they dropped, feet covered in blood and minds shrouded by fog.

Between evil possessions, uncontrollable gestures and hysteric outbursts, a joyful spirit bursts through her body and urges us to dance. Calling on the collective power of being together, this dance feast, spoken-word concert or frenzy of unbounded movement oscillates between exhaustion and celebration.

… The sky will be dancing
The moon will be dancing
The planets will be dancing
The stars will be dancing …

  • duration: 70 mins.


"Dancing Public is an experiment that needs to be experienced with the body, through the body. It is all that we have missed during these last two years. And here lies the merit of this show, in it turning a story from the past into some important questions for today: would we have all taken to the streets dancing if confinement had continued? Could this be a new form of protest in our heavily policed socially-distanced post pandemic reality? Dancing manias were considered a threat to public order as crowds could be neither controlled nor explained. In this sense, this show is more an invitation to consider our relationship to social norms, to being together, to acting collectively. How we respond to this invitation will depend on who is ready to let go." Angela Conquet (The Conversation)

"No one can resist the enthusiasm and energy of Mette Ingvartsen, whose performance is as relevant as it is irresistible, mixing political, scientific and historical aspects with remarkable ease. We are, from beginning to end, fascinated by her story, set in a simple scenography created together with Minna Tiikkainen and with irresistible musical arrangements designed by Anne Van de Star." Jean-Marie Wynants (Le Soir)

"Her body becomes an object of struggle, claim and liberation, in a jubilant climax." Delphine Goater (ResMusica)

"A fascinating, telluric, communicative power." Marie Baudet (La Libre Belgique)


About Mette Ingvartsen

Mette Ingvartsen is a Danish choreographer and dancer. From 1999 she studied in Amsterdam and Brussels where she in 2004 graduated from the performing arts school P.A.R.T.S. Her first performance “Manual Focus” (2003) was made while she was still studying. Her early pieces comprise among others of 50/50 (2004), to come (2005), It’s in The Air (2008) and GIANT CITY (2009) - performances questioning affect,  perception and sensation in relation to bodily representation. Her work is characterized by hybridity and  engages in extending choreographic practices by combining dance and movement with other domains such as visual art, technology,language and theory.

An important strand of her work was developed between 2009 and 2012 with The Artificial Nature Series, where she focused on reconfiguring relations between  human and non-human agency through choreography. The series includes three performances devoid of  human presence: evaporated landscapes (2009), The Extra Sensorial Garden (2011) The Light Forest (2010) and two in which the human figure was reintroduced: Speculations (2011) and the group work The Artificial Nature Project (2012). By contrast her latest series, The Red Pieces: 69 positions (2014) 7 Pleasures (2015), to come (extended) and 21 pornographies (2017) inscribes itself into a history of human performance with a  focus on nudity, sexuality and how the body historically has been a site for political struggles. 

In 2019, she premiered Moving in Concert, an abstract group choreography, that focuses on the interlacing between humans, technological tools and natural materials. In 2021 Mette Ingvartsen premieres two new projects: The Life Work, an in situ project with elderly people in the Ruhr region in Germany which addresses migration issues. And a new solo, The Dancing Public, inspired by a fascination for dancing manias throughout history. Ingvartsen established her company in 2003 and her work has since then been shown throughout Europe, as well as in the U.S, Canada, Australia and Asia. She has been artist-in-residence at Kaaitheater in Brussels (2012-2016), Volksbühne in Berlin, and associated to the APAP network. She holds a PhD in choreography from UNIARTS / Lunds University in Sweden. Besides making, performing, writing and lecturing, her practice also includes teaching and sharing research through workshops with students at universities and art schools. She has collaborated and performed with Xavier Le Roy, Bojana Cvejic, Jan Ritsema and Boris Charmatz, as well as invested in collective research projects such as the artist platform EVERYBODYS (2005-2010) for which she co-edited everybodys publications, but also the educational project Six Months, One Location (2008) and the performative conference The Permeable Stage.

Concept & Performance Mette Ingvartsen Lighting design Minna Tiikkainen Set design Mette Ingvartsen & Minna Tiikkainen Musical arrangements Mette Ingvartsen & Anne van de Star Costumes Jennifer Defays Dramaturgy Bojana Cvejić Technical direction Hans Meijer Sound Technician Anne van de Star Company management Ruth Collier Production & administration Joey Ng Music Affkt feat. Sutja Gutierrez, Scanner, Radio Boy, LCC, VII Circle, Kangding Ray, Paula Temple, Ron Morelli, Valanx, Anne van de Star A production of Great Investment vzw Supported by the Fondation d’entreprise Hermès within the framework of the New Settings Program, Bikubenfonden. Co-production PACT Zollverein (Essen), Kaaitheater (Brussels), Festival d’Automne (Paris), Tanzquartier (Vienna), SPRING Performing Arts Festival (Utrecht), Kunstencentrum Vooruit (Ghent), Les Hivernalles (Avignon), Charleroi danse centre chorégraphique de Wallonie – Bruxelles, NEXT festival, Dansens Hus Oslo Residency Kunstencentrum Buda (Kortrijk) Funded by: The Flemish Authorities, The Danish Arts Council & The Flemish Community Commission (VGC)