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Youth playing and dancing their local traditional couple dance springer from Telemark at the opening ceremony of “Bygda Dansar” (the countryside dances) in the county Telemark in 2013

Youth playing and dancing their local traditional couple dance springer from Telemark at the opening ceremony of “Bygda Dansar” (the countryside dances) in the county Telemark in 2013

The Norwegian Centre for Traditional Music and Dance is a private, independent foundation financed by the Norwegian state. The foundation started as a council for folk music and folk dance in 1972 and was established as a foundation in 1992. The foundation’s main goal is to promote, safeguard and transmit Norwegian traditional music and dance as an expression of cultural identity with unique qualities. The centre functions as a coordinator for all disciplines concerning Norwegian folk music and dance. It ensures representativeness and expertise in public administration, as well as rigorous scientific work in the documentation, examination, and dissemination of knowledge to provide quality and width in folk music and folk dance. 

The centre holds one of Northern Europe’s largest archives of traditional music and dance with audio and video recordings from early 1900s, and practice of the tradition is still being documented today. The archive is used for research, education, transmission, and revitalisation, and can be accessed under supervision of experts. The archive consists not only of Norwegian folk music and dance, but also dances from other cultures, nations, and immigrant communities in Norway. The centre is also participating in documentation and research on the use of traditional Norwegian instruments.

The active use of the archive has resulted in various dance descriptions and publications. The action-based knowledge in the film archive is used provides a unique opportunity for revitalisation and safeguarding of variations of local dances with the collaboration of local communities. The teaching methodology is under constant development in order to ensure safeguarding of the dance variations.

The rare expertise of the staff and researchers at The Norwegian Centre for Traditional Music and Dance has facilitated collaboration with prestigious academic institutions and programmes at a national and international level. For instance, the centre has offered classes and courses in coordination with NTNU and the University of South-Eastern Norway. The centre also functions as an associate partner to the international Erasmus+ master programme of the European Union, Choreomundus, at NTNU. Since the creation of Choreomundus in 2012, the centre has contributed scientifically through lectures, research guidance, and mentoring. 

The Norwegian Centre of Traditional Music and Dance run various large, ongoing projects which aim to safeguard and revitalise traditional music and dance.

Domain(s): (a) oral traditions and expressions, including language as a vehicle of the intangible cultural heritage;(b) performing arts; (c) social practices, rituals, and festive events; (d) knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe; (e) traditional craftsmanship.

Main Safeguarding measures: a) identification, documentation, research (including inventory-making); b) preservation, protection; c) promotion, enhancement;  d) transmission, (non-) formal education; e) revitalization

Main countries where the NGO works: Norway

Local, national or international level of the NGO: Local, National and International. Research and education collaboration with several Nordic and European countries, including Choreomundus (international Erasmus mundus master in dance knowledge, practice and heritage)


Year of accreditation: 2010
Main country where the NGO works: Norway
Social: Facebook
Address: Dragvoll, NO-7491 Trondheim, Norway


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