News is in! The National Portrait Gallery were triumphant over New Zealand’s Otago Museum and are now into the third round of the international Museum Dance-off. The NPG, who are the only Australian entrant, took Trans-Tasman glory last week thanks to your support, and finished the day with 65% of total votes. Today, the NPG need your vote more than ever to secure a spot in the semi-finals!
What is a Museum Dance-off, you say? Well, it is just that. A battle of the boogie and a bout of the beats between cultural institutions around the world – filmed in galleries, museums, historic houses – you name it, they’re dancing. The online competition, which has gone viral in recent weeks, was instigated by a blog called When You Work At A Museum. Run by a mystery museum person based in the US (who keeps her identity under wraps), the blog is followed by institutions around the world who enjoy its daily animated updates and museum in-jokes.
In round three, the NPG will be going up against the Museo National de Escultura (National Museum of Sculpture, Spain). Funnily enough, the Spaniards pulled together a dance video very similar to that of the NPG video to Janelle Monae’s Tightrope. When watching both videos, you see museum and gallery staff pushing and pulling painting screens, popping out from behind sculptures, spinning on chairs, and dancing in the freight lift. A standard day in the life of a museum or gallery worker? Why not.
The instigators of the NPG’s dance-off, Heidi Elliott and Tegan McAuley, say that the video was ‘a total joy to put together, and the best teamwork exercise we have ever invested in’. ‘Dance is the universal language of the world’, says McAuley, ‘and it’s also a wonderful way to bring out the best in people, as we witnessed when encouraging our colleagues to bust a move’.