The Halling is a folk dance traditionally performed in rural Norway, although some versions of the dance may also be found in parts of Sweden. It has been documented as the oldest folk dance in Northern Europe.
The dance is traditionally performed by men at weddings and other solemn ceremonies. The Halling is a dance expression that includes acrobatic, athletic competition between the dancers. It is a rhythmic acrobatic dance that consists of a number of steps which requires a lot of strength. The dance is associated with the valleys and traditional districts of Valdres and Hallingdal, and is often referred to as ‘laus’. The name refers to it being danced solo, not in couples, although coupled Halling dancing is traditional in the western parts of the country.
An experienced fiddler musician is a necessity in Halling. The musician has to give the dancers enough impetus to perform the various challenging moves that are involved in the dance such as neck jump, spinning, kicking and especially the throw, ‘Hallingkast’. In this move, a girl traditionally holds a hat up high using a stick or something similar, and the dancer is supposed to kick down the hat. Kast is seen as the test of strength, which involves kicking the hat that is held about 230 to 280 cm above the floor.
Frikar Dance Company has toured 29 countries with Halling the last years. The company’s founder and choreographer Hallgrim Hansegård is known as the reinventor of Halling, exploring the tradition in meeting with new artistic expressions and arenas as for example in the computer game “Age of Conan”.
Text by: Anette Broteng Christiansen, ThorNews