Combining art, psychology and digital technology to inspire youth and promote solidarity
DARE. DANCE. DIGITALIZE
The role of the arts in healing, improving well-being and promoting inclusivity has a long history. International studies suggest that engaging in the arts has both psychological and social benefits. At the same time, the availability of digital technology has enlarged capabilities for creative expression and communication. Art has embraced these new technologies to discover new approaches and practices.
Combining his two passions – dance and psychology – with digital technology, Antonis Bertos Psychologist and Interdisciplinary Artist, embarked on a wonderful journey, almost 4 years ago, with the aim to offer a new and innovative methodology that young and unprivileged people could benefit from.
The idea was born in October 2018, at the 3rd Youth Forum in Cologne, Germany. During an experiential workshop, he realized how interdisciplinarity (dance / dance pedagogy, psychology and digital technology) can be the beginning for greater inclusion of youth but also for improving their relationships.
The 3D Project initiative
Antonis founded the “DARE DANCE DIGITALIZE – The 3D project”; an innovative interdisciplinary youth art project that aims to inspire young people to promote solidarity, self-growth and team work through the combination of dance theater classes, non-violent communication and video dance workshops. The project is designed to bring physical theater, dance theater and psychology closer to society and closer to digital technology, to meet the needs of different groups and help achieve social change.
“Our aim is to bring art and psychology closer to young people and at the same time work with vulnerable groups of the population, such as refugees, the elderly or people with disabilities, to create a grid of empathy.”
The objectives of the “DARE DANCE DIGITALIZE-The 3D project” are to harmoniously combine these 3 modules, based on the principle of interdisciplinarity and to contribute to:
- The creation of performances, short films & video dance with a strong artistic and social impact
- The evolution of performative interdisciplinary methodology research
- The implementation of interdisciplinary education
The vision of “DARE DANCE DIGITALIZE-The 3D project” is to unite more artists, more cities, people, different social groups, organizations (cultural organizations, theaters, museums, mental health companies, refugees, nursing homes and other vulnerable groups) through performances, video dance, short films, research and “dream artistic dialogues” that will bring together the multifaceted populations living in Greece and Europe, at a time when the challenges are huge.
The project is addressed to young people aged 18-30, but also teenagers; young professional dancers, actors, artists and artists in general; psychologists; educators; social workers; employees in social organizations; people from vulnerable social groups; people without previous experience in the above fields who love movement, education, art and inclusion.
“It is very important for us that the program is open and democratic and that it attracts young people from disadvantaged groups, since non-violent communication and deep democracy are taught in the sessions,” Antonis says.
What partially motivates him in this work is that he identifies in these people parts of himself when he was at youth or in his teens. At the same time, as a psychologist, he is eager to work with vulnerable groups of people, interact with them and help them. But what also intrigues him is to be able to combine art and physical movement with psychology in order “to find new pioneering methodologies that respond to the challenges of our time”.
The pandemic as a driving force for creativity
When it comes to the Covid-19 pandemic and whether it offered an opportunity to discover new ways for creative expression, Antonis is assertive: “Of course it has”. He believes that the pandemic provided an opportunity for self-reflection. “The fact that we were forced to stay at home made us think a lot about what has happened to our planet, to our lives, to our relationships. Personally speaking, for the first time I had the opportunity to attend so many psychology and meditation seminars from around the world and dance lessons. So, I think that it was good for us, it opened our horizons.”
In terms of the 3D project, the pandemic intrigued him to discover how technology can bring people closer and how this project can become hybrid in order to attract and help even more people. So, when the lockdown was imposed last year, he adjusted the project’s activities to the new Covid-19 conditions. It was definitely a challenge to strengthen the effort and find new ways to fight social isolation.
The group of eight people that had been already formed continued their collaboration via Zoom. Each participant attended the psychology and dance classes and the video dance from their home, while every Tuesday they had an online meeting to discuss and share their experiences. “Certainly, it was not the same with the face-to-face experience, but there was a nice flow in each course. And the most wonderful part is that in April 2021, when the lockdown ended, we met in a park and together with the team we created three video dance which were presented at the “Fabrica” art space, in Athens,” Antonis says.
Under these difficult circumstances, the founder of the project notes that it was very encouraging to realize that young people embrace initiatives like this. Indeed, eight more people participate this year in the group and are planning to present their own video dance in the summer.
According to Antonis, the key ingredients of this initiative’s success lay in the excellent cooperation and loyalty to the project by the founder and its colleagues, the time they have devoted and the resources they managed to secure in order to realize it. But, what else does it take to have a successful initiative? “Certainly, a lot of targeted work, targeted thinking, and the right blend of common sense and originality. Meaning that we should have the right dose of doing something original but also doing something that is of value and useful to others,” he explains.
A call to young people: Step forward!
When it comes to young people, Antonis believes that they should be motivated and realize their potential to change the world. Youth carry different experiences from us, the older generations, and they deserve to be given the space to speak, act and bring change to societies, he says.
“It is important to listen to young people, to create new things with young people. It is important for them to take initiatives and to do things of their own, that makes a lot of sense to me.”
His vision regarding the 3D project is to become the foundation for the development of a new methodology that many different organizations and people (phycologists, artists, etc.) will be able to use in order to deliver social change. “There’s no point in just me being happy while 50 others around me remain unprivileged. This won’t make me happy. The notion of the group, the notion of society must be put forward. I would like to contribute in creating a society that encompasses everyone while respecting each other’s diversity.”
The 3D project is one of 30 projects among 700 applications from all over Europe, selected for its innovation and funded by the European program i-portunus creative europe to travel to Düsseldorf on November 1-18, 2019. In addition, it is an applied program in youth exchanges between Greece and Germany from 10/2018 until now.
You can find more information about the 3D project here: