Kjersti Kramm Engebrigtsen
Photo: Tale Hendnes
Kjersti Kramm Engebrigtsen is a Norwegian choreographer, dancer, college lecturer and spesial needs educator. She made her debut as a dancer and choreographer in 1969 and has created more than 20 dance works for dance venues, theaters, and NRK (the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation).
Kjersti has been an initiator in the Norwegian dance field. She was one of the founders of the first independent dance company, Høvik Ballett, in 1968. In 1976 she founded the first alternative dance center in Oslo, Danseloftet. And she was the initiator and general manager for The Year of Dance ’93, a huge dance happening that was realized in Norway all through 1993. The Year of Dance was an important yearlong celebration of dance and the Norwegian dance field which also was the starting point for the infrastructure we have in the dance field today.
Her teaching experience is broad and varied. She has taught children in a large amount of schools, physiotherapists, nurses etc apart from professional dancers and musicians.Her work with the visually impaired started in 1987 when a blind student attended one of her dance classes. She then decided to concentrate her efforts on blind children to prevent the stiffness, tension, and pain, which she observed among the blind adults during her teaching. She eventually entered the Institute of Special Needs Education at the University of Oslo where she got an MA in 1999 based on a one year dance course for blind children. Her intention being to create a dance method for blind children as part of the Special Needs Education in schools.
She eventually made a performance, FRAGILE, where she included one of her blind students. Inspired by this performance she felt a need to share this experience internationally and in
2006 she initiated the EU project FRAGILE II organized by Bærum Kulturhus in a collaboration with dance artists and blind performers in Portugal and Estonia.
FRAGILE II had it's opening performance in Lisbon, Portugal april 2013 and was later performed in Oslo followed by Tallinn, Estonia. Kjersti received the Norwegian critics award for this performance.
In 2017 she celebrated 50 years of dance at Dansens Hus Oslo and at Bærum Kulturhus of presenting a revival THE JOURNEY from 1989. In 2018 Kjersti received Dance Info Norway’s honorary award for her great efforts for the Norwegian dance field.
From 2022 she is again performing as a dancer in Un-Magritt Nordseth's performance DRONNINGER (QUEENS).
Kjersti in DRONNINGER (QUEENS). Photo: Tale Hendnes
Further reading (in Norwegian):
• Historic video interview with Kjersti for Dance Info Norway’s dance archive (2013).
• Speech by critic Lars Elton, the Norwegian critics award (2013).
• Interview with Kjersti for Ballet Tanz by Melanie Fieldseth about Breathin Space (2007)