"Culture promotes good health" was a national project initiated by the department of Health and Social Affairs and the Norwegian Arts Council in 1997–1999. Through a local project in the municipality of Rygge, dance became an area of focus for children and young people. The dance workshop model, now known as Dans Uten Grenser (Dance Without Frontiers — DUG) was developed using methods such as: Youth-to-youth tutoring, working with multicultural groups, spreading positive attitudes and values, and making the youth aware of their choices etc.
DUG was established in 1996, and since the development of the project, it has promote dance and the dance workshop’s model to municipalities around Norway. Sogn and Fjordane was the first county to invest heavily in dance in 2006. All municipalities that wished to provide a dance opportunity that focused on the involvement of young people, would be able to do so.
The aim of the dance workshops was to be a positive recreational activity for children and young people. Initially it was aimed at inactive youths.
The objective was to strengthen mental health through achievement and social participation. It was important to promote physical activity and a healthy lifestyle, as well as emphasise positive attitudes, and thereby prevent early usage of alcohol and substance abuse. It was especially important that the dance workshop was an opportunity where everyone could participate regardless of gender, ethnicity, appearance and financial background.
Municipalities that took part in the dance workshop initiative in 2006 only had to pay a relatively small fee. The county administration covered a large proportion of the costs during establishment through the Public Health programme (2005-2012). In the start phase, the county administration used extensive resources to contact municipalities and coordinate with DUG, as proprietor of the model and as the expert practitioners of the initiative. Each municipality had to take care of the establishment of the dance workshop and set up an adult contact person who would be responsible for recruiting young people who enjoyed dancing. These young people received training as young instructors. Following on, the municipalities were to monitor the instructors during the training phase, as well as during the important work of establishing and running a dance workshop.
In the autumn of 2006, 59 young people from five communities (Luster, Sogndal, Leikanger, Balestrand and Høyanger) began the first training course. The training course lasted for 9 months. When this was completed, all the municipalities started their own local dance workshops. The next group started their training in 2007 and consisted of youths from 9 municipalities. Over the course of 18 months, youths from 14 municipalities received training in various dance styles and choreography, as well as education in how a dance workshop should be run both practically and financially.