To say that an ensemble has become an institution is one of culture journalisms more well-used clichés. But in some cases, it still makes sense. Tabanka Dance Ensemble deserves the label – the company has visited 20 countries, performing several hundred shows. They have educated 11 professional dancers in addition to their youth work, through which they have gotten in touch with a vast number of minority kids. This kind of activism feeds their art – the experiences from the lives of these kids have formed the basis for their dance recitals.
They claim to be Norways first soul dance company – a label which clearly points to the way afro american soul music sheds a light on the afro american experience. Tabanka wants to use dance and movement to give new perspectives on the nordic black experience. These kind of perspectives are still lacking in many parts of the arts scene and the broader culture.
Tabanka focuses on subjects like identity, belonging, heritage and hope. Even though you can simply enjoy their dancing, the company always offers a learning experience – whether it is about the talawa techniqye they base their choreography on (and which they describe as a form of codified africanistic movement) or if you are talking about new, sorely needed perspectives on what has become completely normal norwegian lives.