The Dans Museet in Stockholm is one of the coolest museums I have ever been to, not just because I’m a dancer, but also because it was free! I know that sounds wretched, to be excited about freebies, but honestly, free stuff is awesome! Aside from that aspect. . . dance is also awesome! When you go to the museum–as opposed to ‘if’–there are three things for you to do.
First: Take a stroll. The museum houses traditional costumes from around the world. When I say around the world, I mean everywhere! They have elaborate costumes from every single country that has a folk dance worthy of note. There are costumes for kathak and bharata natyam, Thai dance, Chinese, Japanese No, African tribes from every part of the continenent, and yes of course there were tutus! It is just mind blowing. Any collegiate dancer has certainly seen their share of videos and photographs, but it is quite another thing to see the detail up close. There wasn’t a style of dance or a country I could think of that was not represented there. I would say “well I bet they don’t have [fill in the blank]” and there it would be. Truly a collection to be in awe of.
Second: Have a seat. There is a video projection playing all kinds of different dance segments. It plays archives from famous ballet companies, original performances of Balanchine and Ballet Ruses. It then segues into contemporary companies. Not only companies on the stage, but also dance made exclusively for film. It also features the extraordinary amount of dance present in Sweden. I had no idea there were so many prolific companies. There was the Royal Opera Ballet, K. Kvostrom & Co., and the Colbert Ballet–which isn’t actually ballet… more modern, but that’s beside the point. They also showed a dance piece filmed in the airport! Because yes, Arlanda airport has hardwood floors and lots of space.
Third: Take a new seat. Every hour or so you can enter the private viewing room. This time around they were showing the life and times of Mikhail Baryshnikov. If you’ve never seen him dance before, this is the perfect time to get a taste. There were certainly a lot of non-dance tourists there, who were more than amused when I decided to strike a pose under the entrance sign… point being, anyone could really enjoy this museum. It is also small enough that your less than agreeable friends wont have to suffer for long.
I could have stayed there for hours! In fact, I think I did stay there for hours. And as I mentioned before… it’s free, free, free! Not every museum in Sweden was free, but some of the most interesting happened to be. This museum also happens to be located in the center of town. You’re welcome tourists. I recall a very long bus ride to the Matisse museum in Nice, only to discover that I did not care for Matisse. This we came upon by accident, because it was on our usual route from our hotel to breakfast.
So what are you waiting for? Go to Stockholm! Ok… well maybe it’s really cold at the moment. But, Go for spring break! Cancun is overrated.