About us

We want to move our audiences in entertaining, relevant and thought-provoking ways. Every year, in collaboration with composers, video designers, visual artists and more, we create at least two new shows from scratch. At least one of them is for children and young people.

Dance from cradle to grave

We believe in the power of art to speak across generations. Our world can be experienced and perceived in countless ways, depending on who you are and what you have experienced before. People of all ages can enjoy a day at the beach together – so can people in the theatre. We create dance that provides artistic nourishment and content for all ages. We offer shared and unifying experiences for people at all stages of life from 0 to 100 years old.

Popular avant-garde

We believe in the power of art to bring new perspectives to our lives. We want to create good, sensuous and surprising performances about current issues that communicate to a wide audience. With open eyes, we explore what dance can and will do in our time. We work to create new and relevant forms of performing arts. We make popular avant-garde.

A river

We invite guest artists and work across art forms to renew and challenge our expression. Aaben Dans sees itself as a river where the water never stands still. A place for movement, oxygenation and creativity. We work with artistic development, both in our own productions, but also by supporting young artists. We cultivate professional artistic growth, both locally and nationally.

We want to bring together people from completely different backgrounds and conditions. This could mean people within a wide age range, or people with different social or cultural backgrounds, or people who are in different mental or physical situations. We create bridges and open doors for people who are not necessarily looking for artistic experiences themselves. We work with institutions, schools, youth education and special schools, through which we can reach a diverse field of pupils and students who would otherwise not experience new performing arts. We create activities in public spaces, where residents get to meet art as part of their everyday lives, without having sought it out themselves.

SWOP – International Festival for Children and Young People

In even-numbered years, the local and the international merge as we present the best of the European dance scene to young audiences. The festival programme, with both Danish and international performances, is designed to include performances and activities for children, young people and adults. The festival invites private audiences, schools and institutions as well as artists and organisers from Denmark and abroad. In addition to the performances, there is always a wealth of parallel arrangements in the form of interactive events such as SWOP dance, creative installations, concerts and a seminar for professionals working with dance, body and art for children and young people. You can read more about SWOP on this page as the festival approaches.

During the SWOP festival, all events are free of charge, so finances should not stand in the way of participation.

Three fields of activity


One of the primary functions of Aaben Dans is to create performances that we show locally, nationally and internationally.

Our performances always have the body and choreography at the center, but are created in close collaboration with art forms such as music, visual arts, dramatics, video art, landscape architecture and more. Our performances can range in size from solos to large group pieces with up to 30 performers including extras. They can be created for a conventional theatre setup with a stage and audience structure, they can be created to accommodate the audience inside the scenography itself, but they can also be site-specific and in different ways actively involve the audience.

For example, we have made performances in the dark, in cold concrete halls and walks through residential neighbourhoods and forests, just as we have made installation performances for infants, performances for and with nursing home residents, and performances on the main stage of the Skuespilhuset in Copenhagen.


Art and learning

We create bridges to institutions and schools as well as audiences in Roskilde, with pedagogical and didactic work in the field of art and learning.

An important part of our work as a regional theatre is to bridge the gap between the theatre’s core activities and the local community. This includes using our tools from the artistic processes in new learning contexts. We have chosen to call this entire field, with active participation in dance and performing arts, Art and Learning.

It is widely recognised, and research-confirmed, that creativity and physicality are conducive to both better learning and a better social learning environment. When we work with dance and creative processes in schools, the goal is not that the students should live up to or achieve specific dance skills. Instead the goal is to experience how to create in groups, how to see and acknowledge each other’s abilities, how to be entrepreneurs for their own ideas, how to listen to and understand others, how to give constructive feedback, how to participate in an equal creative community etc. In short, interdisciplinary skills that can be applied in all other subjects, and which can also be used to be an actively participating critical citizen in a democratic society.

Our teaching is based on our own practice-developed and interdisciplinary model, The 7 K’s, which, inspired by 21st century learning skills, describe the learning dimensions of working with dance in 7 categories: Body(Krop), Creativity(Kreativitet), Choreography(Koreografi), Collectivity(Kollektivitet), Communication(Kommunikation), Art(Kunst) and Critical Thinking(Kritisk tænkning).




Artistic development

And finally, we facilitate artistic development by working with, and making space for, the professional growth layer within dance and choreographic performing arts.

Aabent Rum (Open Space): is a long-term residency programme where selected choreographers are invited to work at Aaben Dans with their artistic work over a one-year period. In addition to studio and production facilities, we make the theatre’s expertise and know-how available to the young artists. There are no limits to what choreographers can work with. They decide for themselves what makes sense to them – according to where they find themselves in their artistic career. Aaben Dans watches and listens – and guides continuously.

The choreographers reciprocate with inspiration – both to Aaben Dans, to each other, to the professional environment and to the local audience in smaller screenings, interventions, workshops, symposia, digital or other public events.

Aabent Laboratorium (Open laboratory): gives up-and-coming artists the opportunity to show already created works to audiences in a professional setting. The works are selected after an “open call”. The selected artists are offered a fee, a short rehearsal period and technical assistance. Aaben Dans is responsible for marketing and facilitating mutual artistic peer-to-peer sparring. This platform appeals to a mixed audience of both local citizens and professionals from the dance community. The evening usually ends with an artist talk between the audience and artists.

International cooperation: Aaben Dans has a large international network, built up over many years. The theatre has had continuous and very rewarding European cooperation projects since 2011. Countless young Danish artists have been sent out into Europe to work with colleagues. European artists have come to Roskilde and have worked for and with school and nursery children. The biggest manifestation of our international collaborations is our recurring international festival with dance for children and young people: SWOP, which has become a regular part of both Aaben Dans and Roskilde’s cultural programme.






Ajs Dam

Board members
Anette Schjødt Thorsen
Anne Katrine Hornemann
Kasper Bæk
Leiv Arne Kjøllmoen


Read i Danish: Aaben Dans Statutes here…


See Aaben Dans annual accounts for
2023 here…
2022 here…
2021 here…
2020 here…
2019 here…

Strategic plan and Regional theatre agreement

Strategic plan in Danish 2023 here…

Regional theatre agreement in Danish 2017-20 here…
Regional theatre agreement in Danish 2021-24 here…

Evaluations and SWOP report

The Danish Arts Foundation’s Project Support Committee for Performing Arts has published their evaluation of Aaben Dans as a regional theatre.
Read the full report by Steen Nørgaard in Danish here…

SWOP report 2022

Read the report on SWOP 2022 by Erik Pold in Danish here…