Engaging audiences with museum exhibits through dance performances

  • Maria Evangelia Riga


Embarking on the quest for new ways to expand the possibilities of how we perceive art, dominant museums worldwide have started to incorporate dance projects in their programs, exploring new forms of participation in the museum experience. This article focuses on recent dance interventions that intend to involve the visitors’ bodies physically in the appreciation of art and deals with how dance could enhance the visitors’ journey through the rooms of the museum space. It puts a spotlight on diverse case studies such as  the exhibition “Pearls” at the Lakenhal Museum, Leiden (2012-2013), the seventh residency of the project “Dancing Museums” at the National Gallery, London (2016), the “The Museum Workout” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (2016-2017) as well as the first residency of the project “Dancing Museums” at the Civic Museum, Bassano del Grappa (2015); projects which deal with one-on-one as well as group experiences between dancers and visitors, experimenting with how dance could work as a model of aesthetic embodiment. This article demonstrates how the dancing body in the museum space is able to activate multiple senses, encourage a multifaceted way to approach art, energize the visitors from the possible fatigue of a museum visit as well as deconstruct the behavior codes which dominate in a museum.

How to Cite:

Riga, M., (2019) “Engaging audiences with museum exhibits through dance performances”, Documenta 37(1). doi:

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Published on
14 Jan 2019
Peer Reviewed