SD has always had a high level of activity and a high degree of implementation of its projects. Today the company works in a project-based way and applies to various funding schemes for its activities. SD produces 2–5 scenic productions per year and initiates several art and cultural projects. The company is managed by dance artists Solveig Leinan-Hermo and Marie Hermo Jensen, who are the artistic and administrative leaders for the company.
SD has placed great emphasis on cross-border cultural collaboration, and its high level of activity has created a large and strong professional network. Today, Stellaris collaborates with various professional artists, institutions and companies in The Barents Region (Norway, Sweden, Finland, Russia), the Baltic countries (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) as well as Aotearoa (New Zealand).
In addition to stage productions, the company work with site-specific experiences and short film productions, which have been shown both nationally and internationally; in cinema, television, during stage productions and at various events. SD was originally established as a works for Leinan-Hermo productions, but over time has also evolved to become a production company for many creative, performing and newly established artists in several genres as more artist groups have become involved in our projects.
Through many years of work, SD has contributed to growth in the performing arts locally, nationally and internationally. SD established DanseFestival Barents in 2003 and worked long term to establish a competence centre for the professional performing arts sector in Northern Norway. The dance school SD established has been handed over to Hammerfest Cultural School. SD was also one of the advocates for the Arctic Cultural Centre, which is Hammerfest municipality’s cultural centre and officially opened on January 17, 2008—with two studios and stages especially designed for dance under the patent of SD. Leinan-Hermo was one of the founders of the Forum for Northern Norwegian Dance Artists (1989), and has invested a great deal of work in the Barents Dance Network since 2003. Since 2010 SD has also worked actively in performing arts in New Zealand through Stellaris Dance NZ and in collaboration with Waikato Contemporary Dance Projects Trust.
A performance and film to celebrate Norwegian-Russian cooperation
The performance Swans in stone was Stellaris DansTeater’s 40th jubilee performance and a celebration of the company’s collaboration with Kantele (State National Song and Dance ensemble of The Republic of Karelian). Swans in stone is a visually beautiful and energetic dance performance inspired by petroglyphs from Alta and the motif “Two Swans in stone” from petroglyphs outside Belamorsk in the Republic of Karelia. The performance is a leap of thought, from old to modern times, visualized through several scenes. In a universe of movements and colours, joik and film, moods are created around petroglyphs and hunters. These elements are also described in the film, where the nomadic people travel from the coast and the inland.
The original plan was that Kantele and Stellaris DansTeater would be on stage together during the jubilee performance in 2020, but due to the pandemic this has been postponed. But as a solution the short film Svaner i stein – Veidefolket / Swans in stone – The Nomadic People was produced, which has been shown at several dance festivals both nationally and internationally. The performance is the sequel to the successful Adnazdi, which was described as a breath of fresh air—with standing ovations from the audience in both Norway and Russia.
Choreographer and Director: Solveig Leinan-Hermo
Dancers: Tonje Aas Molnes, Ekaterina Nikitina and Eivind Linn
Composer: Halvdan Nedrejord
Camera and edit: Andreas Ausland
Costumes: On loan from Beaivváš Sámi Našunála Teáhter
Production assistant: Jan Cato D. Nilut
Project co-worker, marketing: Marie Hermo Jensen
Photos: Andreas Ausland
Supported by BarentsKult
Watch the film Swans in stone – The Nomadic People here:
Credit: This video was originally published by Stellaris DansTeater on December 6, 2020. COURTESY STELLARIS DANSTEATER AND BARENTS SECRETARIAT.
For more information, read a conversation with Solveig Leinan-Hermo from Stellaris DansTeater and Bente Andersen from Samovarteateret here.
This story is part of the Barents Secretariat Spotlight. View more content from the Spotlight here.
The Norwegian Barents Secretariat strongly condemns Russia’s unprecedented military aggression against Ukraine.
The Barents Cooperation was established as a peace project in 1993, after 45 years of cold war. The foundation of the Barents Cooperation has always been people-to-people contact. The goal of the Barents cooperation is to remove cultural barriers and to build bridges across borders. During almost 30 years, we have gone from closed borders to close ties between the people in the Barents Region. The cooperation between people from all areas of society like schools, municipalities, NGOs and cultural institutions, the so-called people-to people-perspective, is an important keystone. Through meetings between people in the region we build down barriers and increase our mutual understanding.
Unfortunately, people-to-people cross-border cooperation in the north has long been constrained due to the increasingly authoritarian regime in Russia. The situation for civil society is now extremely difficult, and the uncertainty arising from Russia’s military attacks makes effective cross-border cooperation even more challenging. Unfortunately, the impacts of this will be felt at the local level, particularly by people living in the north.
In our spotlight the Norwegian Barents Secretariat will focus on the positive and successful cooperation between artists and cultural institutions that normally takes place across the Norwegian-Russian border.
While the Norwegian Barents Secretariat stands behind the Norwegian government’s demand that Russia immediately ceases its military operations and seeks a peaceful solution, we will continue to support people-to-people cooperation and contact. In the current situation we have suspended contact and cooperation with official Russian entities, but encourage contact and cooperation with independent Russian artists and organisations.