In 2003, a new formula for the performing arts at the Biennale was tested: the Dance, Music and Theatre sections were to be directed every year by a different artist, in charge of a one-year program rather than of the usual four-year period. The artistic director was thus invited to express his or her strong personal vision of contemporariness.
Furthermore, the program was not to present a number of performances during the summer months but rather to take place in a shorter period of time, adopting the Festival format that had been characteristic of the Music and Theatre sections since the 1930s.
In 2003 then, Frédéric Flamand adopted the term ‘festival’ for the program of the Dance section. Flamand, a Belgian choreographer specifically interested in the dialogue between dance and other disciplines such as art, architecture and music, entitled his festival Body ↔ City and presented a program that was a sort of ‘urban route’ of the body across 15 cities from Charleroi to Kyoto, from Paris to New York and Johannesburg. The program was enriched by an international meeting on the major themes of the festival –body, city, architecture, and technology– and a series of panels entitled Metropolis, where the invited artists had the chance to offer their particular views on cities.
1st International Festival of Contemporary Dance: Body ↔ City
12-18 June, Teatro alle Tese: CHARLEROI Charleroi Danses – Plan K, Silent Collisions
13-15 June, Teatro Piccolo Arsenale: KYOTO Dumb Type, Memorandum
20-21 June, Teatro Fondamenta Nuove: THE HAGUE André Gingras, CYP 17
21-22 June, Teatro Piccolo Arsenale: AMSTERDAM Hans Hof Ensemble, Bureau
25-29 June, Teatro alle Tese: PARIS Philippe Jamet Portraits Dansés
27-28 June, Teatro alle Tese: BRUXELLES Mossoux-Bonté, Light!
27-28-29 June, Teatro Piccolo Arsenale: LONDON Random Dance Company, Nemesis
4-5 July, Teatro Piccolo Arsenale: GENT Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, It
5 July, PalaFenice: BERLIN Sasha Waltz, Zweiland
5-6 July, Teatro alle Tese: ANTANANARIVO Compagnie Rary, Mpirahlahy Mianala; Dihy Tsy
11-12 July, Teatro Piccolo Arsenale: BARCELONA Cesc Gelabert / Lydia Azzopardi, Preludis
11-12-13 July, Teatro alle Tese: MONTREAL Lynda Gaudreau, Encyclopœdia - Document 3
12 July, PalaFenice: AIX-EN-PROVENCE Angelin Preljocaj, Near Life Experience
16 July, PalaFenice: NEW YORK Stephen Petronio, Broken Man; Prelude; Strange Attractors part II; City of Twist
16-17-18 July, Teatro Piccolo Arsenale: JOHANNESBURG Robyn Orlin, We must eat our suckers with the wrappers on…
17-18 July, Teatro alle Tese: NEW YORK John Jasperse, Giant Empty
Venice Arsenale, 14 June to 16 July: METROPOLIS Tokyo, Amsterdam, Paris, Berlin, Montreal, New York, a series of 6 panels dedicated to the theme of the city (with Francesco Morace, Tracy Metz, Franco La Cecla and Piero Zanini, Arvo Pärt, Alberto Kurapel, and Eric Drooker)
In 2004, Karole Armitage was appointed director of the Dance section. An American dancer and choreographer, Armitage presented a program that focused on dance as a specific art: running counter to the frequent conjunctions of dance with other disciplines –from theatre to cinema, video and all the new media– Armitage dedicated the Festival to the “the universal grammar of the body”. The Festival was divided into two legs, Old World and New World, to reveal how new ideas could be shared even in different continents and how the most varied of cultures remain intact when the new derives from tradition.
2nd International Festival of Contemporary Dance: ABCD… The universal grammar of the body
11-30 June: Old World
11-12 June - Teatro alle Tese, ABCDANCECOMPANY A Little Beat; women; DéjàWaltz2 / waltzgames
12 June - PalaFenice, GUANGDONG MODERN DANCE COMPANY One missed; Face to face ; Feather; A different view; 180 degrees ; Fight under the table; Linglei
18-19 June - Teatro Piccolo Arsenale, BALLET FREIBURG PRETTY UGLY AMANDA MILLER Pretty Ugly; Paralipomena; Four for Nothing
18 June - PalaFenice, JACOPO GODANI Elementale; Beyonders; Black Out
22-23 June - Teatro Piccolo Arsenale, CHARLES LINEHAN COMPANY Grand Junction; New Quartet
24 June - PalaFenice, SABURO TESHIGAWARA Bones in Pages
26-27 June - Teatro Piccolo Arsenale, RUSSELL MALIPHANT COMPANY One Part II - Solo; Two times Three; Choice
30 June - PalaFenice, RAMBERT DANCE COMPANY Reflection; A Tragedy of Fashion; PreSentient
9-31 July: New World
9-10 July - Teatro Piccolo Arsenale, SARAH MICHELSON Shadowmann Part 1
13-14 July - Teatro Fondamenta Nuove, SARAH MICHELSON Shadowmann Part 2
10 July - PalaFenice, ALONZO KING’S LINES BALLET Koto; Meyer Violin Concerto Pas de Deux; Who Dressed You Like a Foreigner?
15 July, PalaFenice, ISABEL BUSTOS Solamente una vez; Al filo exacto
21-25 July - Teatro alle Tese, KAROLE ARMITAGE Echoes from the Street
22-23 July - Teatro Piccolo Arsenale, JOHN JASPERSE Just Two Dancers
24 July - PalaFenice, SHEN WEI DANCE ARTS Rite of Spring; Folding
29 July - Teatro alle Tese, BALLET DE LORRAINE Rave
30 July - PalaFenice, PETER BOAL & COMPANY Herman Schmerman - Pas de deux; Mopey; The Man and the Echo; Trio