The Laughing Crowd

The Laughing Crowd

The Laughing Crowd is a dance work for 8 performers bathing the audience in laughter - which crystallises as an embodiment of humanity. Paying a choreographic tribute to laughter the performers invite to experience laughters’ captivating powers with open senses and fresh eyes. The performance presents laughter as an act of collectivism and as a behaviour that stimulates mutual understanding, human connection and empathy. But also as sparkling and at times explosive loss of control.

The Laughing Crowd is a cross-disciplinary work between dance, installation and concert.  Both movement and voice are employed to expose laughter as bodily state, as statuesque instant of liberation and as a contagious sound scape. The performance reveals how little of an overlap there is between laughter and humour. Laughter is being taken seriously and can be experienced as a raw, vulnerable and deep expression.

By bathing the audience in laughter the performance gives a collective experience of fundamental humanness and generosity as response to times that are shaped by insecurity and confrontation. 8 distinctive dancers form a life-affirming and thoughtful unity that revolves around laughters’ anarchistic force of nature. The performance speculates about what world we would be living in, if we used our bodies consciously to release emotional tension through laughter a little more. When we laugh, our bodies are taking the lead and the brain is set on hold. In that respect it’s not only laughter that is being celebrated here - also the body’s intelligence and power.

The spectator enters a shared space between performers and the audience. All performers spread between the audiences and move amongst them - an unexpected social setup that dissolves the theatres’ social codes. All individuals are visually exposed, invited to observe each other and to engage with the performance. The audience can choose if they want to experience the performance standing, sitting, wandering around, close by or on distance. The work is on the threshold to the interactive, where the audience on their own terms can decide to actively participate or to stay observant. Kinaesthetic empathy serves as the core concept of the performance and is activated through the performers’ laughter, movements and choreography. An interplay with the energies between performer and audience gently includes the audience into the artistic expression.

The work is being produced in two versions: a site specific version with sound design and an indoors version with light and sound design.

The concept will be developed in collaboration with performer Birgitte Skands during a 4 weeks residency period. The residencies are granted through the european residency network Island Connect with support by Creative Europe.

In spring 2023 the performance will be created during a 5 weeks production period with all 8 performers.

Premiere: summer 2023

Concept and choreography: Antoinette Helbing in collaboration with Birgitte Skands
Dance: Antoinette Helbing, Birgitte Skands, + 6 dancers
Composer: Randi Pontoppidan
Light design: Carina Backman
Dramaturgy: Thomas Schaupp