Highlights the northern Norwegian war history through dance


Simone Grøtte har laget konsept, regi og koreografi for "Glemt", som har urpremiere på Festspillene i Nord-Norge. Foto: privat
Simone Grøtte har laget konsept, regi og koreografi for "Glemt", som har urpremiere på Festspillene i Nord-Norge. Foto: privat

The Arctic Arts Festival proudly presents a dance performance with the events of the Second World War in the North as the framework. This is particularly relevant to emphasize today, in light of the lack of recognition of the northern Norwegian contribution to the resistance. GLEMT (FORGOTTEN) by Simone Grøtte is a dance performance conveying the war history in a completely new way.

- GLEMT is one of our largest co-productions at this year’s festival. It’s important for the Arctic Arts Festival as an art producer to facilitate new projects in the performing arts scene. We are also very conscious that this performance also is an important tool to present a story from our own region that has been marginalized and overlooked too long, says festival director Maria Utsi.

Dancing the war history

In the performance GLEMT, the audience will be presented the brutal northern Norwegian war history through dance, objects and authentic audio recordings from a near past few have knowledge of today. Through making GLEMT, Simone Grøtte wants to contribute to new relevance for this important chapter in Norwegian history.

- The Second World War is a theme most people have heard of, but not so much the northern Norwegian side of things. My hope is that through GLEMT, the audience will experience a familiar theme presented in a way that opens up for reflections, interpretations and emotions. This is also one of the strengths of dancing, letting the abstract open new doors for the audience. At the same time, the choice of genre makes it possible to reach groups that may not be completely familiar with what happened in the northern part of Norway during the war, says Grøtte.

Overlooked and forgotten chapter

The use of authentic audio recordings of people that experienced the war creates a particular closeness to the theme. Simone Grøtte’s grandfather is one of the informants. As a 11-year-old boy he experienced being extracted from his home and forcibly evacuated from Finnmark with the German boat Karl Arp. Grøtte is particularly interested in this part of our story, the one that hasn’t been told enough, but in many ways has helped shape people from the north:

- Why is there so little mention of the war in the north in textbooks? Why haven’t I asked more about my grandfather’s war experiences before? Our story has contributed to shaping who we are today, and I think we always can learn from the past. Unfortunately, war seems to be a topic that always will be relevant, explains Grøtte. 

Northern Norwegian artist with great potential

Simone Grøtte is a dancer and choreographer from Finnmark, and is among other things known for a critically acclaimed performance Mannen som stoppa hurtigruta (The man who stopped the coastal steamer). Her work is strongly influenced by her northern Norwegian and Sami background, where this is woven into a contemporary expression in both theme, scenography and music. Her performances explore questions of identity and belonging, with an approach focusing on human emotions and perspectives. In GLEMT, Grøtte has a team of several talented artists contributing to the production, including festival profile Mari Lotherington (scenographer) and Herman Rundberg (musician and composer).

- Simone Grøtte is one of the most interesting young artists from the north. Her starting point is our northern stories and she presents them in a way that makes them universal and relevant for all of us. Through Mannen som stoppa hurtigruta, she demonstrated a unique ability to present stories in an innovative and distinctive way. We have great expectations to GLEMT, and look forward to a strong experience and highlighting our northern heritage and story, concludes Utsi.

GLEMT is presented in Lillesalen, Harstad kulturhus, June 24 and 25.