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La Biennale di Venezia

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Introduction by

Virgilio Sieni

Director of Biennale Danza 2016

Polis inhabited by the gesture of dance


The 10th International Contemporary Dance Festival of the Biennale di Venezia will explore the sense of transmission, of physical and poetic tactility by looking into the nature of places and the vision of the city. A Polis inhabited by the gesture of dance, bringing the primary elements of man into a dialogue with the urban context: balance, gravity, movement; to donate time to opening the body and to the process of dance, to the construction of choreographic buildings, bringing to the surface the human channels of tactility.

The gesture as a common good and a characteristic of sharing

The concept of the programme was developed with the idea of a cycle of practices and dialogues between choreographers, dancers, audiences and citizens, with the intent to build the space of the body between proxemics and haptic perception, between the vicinity of individuals and tactility as a measure and a posture towards the Other: the construction of a common space, originating in the journey of the body through our poetic-gestural patterns as they relate to a new geography of the city, is the starting point of this Biennale.

Places that as a whole form a city of gesture

Polis understood as a new geography of walking and pausing, in the breath between outdoor and indoor, in their regeneration through the frequentation of practices and viewpoints about gesture.

The dancer, the choreographer, the artist is positioned in a dialogue with the place of the body and the spaces of the Polis to perceive a tactile trail that can expand into the space of the stage and the public space, from the sense of transmission to the sense of sharing.

The gesture of form, of balance and measure secrete the details that we will attempt to develop in this edition, elements that have distinguished the experience of the past three years: experimentations focusing on the political body of the dancer, on measure and the capacity for transmission as well as the very meaning of a festival, presented here in an articulated framework of experiences, fragments, practices, creations. We are not proceeding on “levelled” ground, but on an irregular terrain that reminds us to cautiously bend our knees, to seek a manner of proceeding that resounds between the horizontal plane of the ground and the fragility of balance.

A further exploration will regard the coexistence of workshops for choreographic experimentation with eleven choreographers who will be involved at the same time in eleven spaces/ateliers.

25 choreographers at the Festival

Maguy Marin, Trisha Brown, Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker/Rosas, Emanuel Gat, Boris Charmatz,  Nacera Belaza, Albert Quesada, Yasmine Hugonnet, Isabelle Schad, Thomas Hauert, Adriana Borriello, Claudia Castellucci, Shobana Jeyasingh, Daniel Linehan, Annamaria Ajmone, Marina Giovannini, Francesca Foscarini, Elisabetta Consonni, Daniele Ninarello, Chelo Zoppi, Gabriel Schenker, Camilla Monga, Sandy Williams/Rosas, Lara Russo, Virgilio Sieni, and Manfredi Perego.

The backbone of the Festival is represented by the choreographers who will present their work with their own companies, but at the same time, will be in residence to work on the creation of original pieces within the workshops of the Biennale College. The intensity that is oriented towards transmission becomes the terrain for experimentation which brings to the forefront the sense of creation in relation to the physical and topographic details of the city: traces, thresholds, margins will tell the story of a different city, made of subtle things, captured by absences, by listening; the everyday maps that chart the alternation of events must be read in this sense. Pauses, walking experiences, encounters, crossings in which to rethink the rhythm of frequentation and at the same time the formats of each artistic experience.

The choreographers’ research will also consider the relationship between dance and architecture: experiences on the origins and the development of space based on research through dance as a physical and human measure in dialogue with the environment, the landscape and the body of the Polis. A programme of experiences, productions, performances, experimentations, the intent of which is to explore the convergence between the act of dance and architecture, and vice-versa: architectural space, the urban context, the story of the landscape, the walking experiences, the pauses, the margins, spur the reflection on balance, form, measure and democracy.

A veritable Polis will be founded within the spaces of the Biennale at the Arsenale, made of six performance spaces positioned in relation to the practices that will be held within them to establish a cyclical structure of events.

In the Sestieri of San Marco, Dorsoduro, Castello and the Island of San Giorgio (12 noon > 7:00 pm) we will involve fourteen spaces: five Campi and nine indoor spaces, with the intent to build an original geography that develops through the measure of the body and the choreographic works to be presented; walking experiences that reconstruct the story of the city in the details, traces and faces that each practitioner will run across every day.

Choreographic triptychs

Emanuel Gat, Yasmine Hugonnet, Thomas Hauert

Three guest choreographers will conduct three experiences of creation in three specific places. In addition to the presentation of a performance with his own company, the presence of the artist is conceived in terms of duration and transmission, of understanding and analysing indoor and outdoor spaces: with the dancers of the Biennale College, they will create a diptych composed of a work to be presented in an indoor space and in the outdoor space of a Venetian campo, developing the research practices within the organic dimension of the city.

Progetto Agorà/Aperto: Venetian campi

Emanuel Gat, Yasmine Hugonnet, Boris Charmatz, Sandy Williams/Rosas, Thomas Hauert, Virgilio Sieni

Progetto Agorà presents a cycle of original choreographic works created by the guest choreographers at the Festival and performed by the dancers of the Biennale College – Dance, initiating a search for assessments and variations relative to the outdoor space, the margins and the volumes in the selection of Venetian campi.

Six choreographers will elaborate a research project that will be performed before the public in an outdoor space. The outdoors, represented by the Venetian campi, will constitute a festival within the festival, offering a continuous sequence of outdoor events organized according to a geography of Campi and walking experiences for the audience.

Progetto Vita Nova

Marina Giovannini, Manfredi Perego, Chelo Zoppi

The Progetto Vita Nova will present, for the fourth year, a method of transmission reserved for young dancers between the ages of 10 and 16. This innovative project, an endpoint for various experiences disseminated across Italy, has been conducted in various regions of Italy in recent years, multiplying the number of training and choreographic processes.

The three chosen choreographers will work on a new creation with three groups of young dancers selected in their various home regions. The choreography will be performed as part of the programme of the Festival in agreement with the regional institutions involved.

Progetto Archeology

Elisabetta Consonni

Archeology is a project about collecting traces, expressions, gestures, margins, details and spaces conducted in collaboration with A.S.A.C.

A team, composed of an ethnographer (Adriano Cancellieri), an anthropologist, an architect, a diarist (Cristina Pancini) and the choreographer/dancer herself (Elisabetta Consonni), will explore a section of territory, and return the traces in a short cycle of dances, of shared experiences, of archives of details.

Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement to Maguy Marin

For her research through the body and space, which from one experience to the next has built an atlas of discoveries in which the meaning of art has revealed the complexity of contemporary man, creating relationships between the paths of man and the spaces necessary for choreographic research.

Biennale Danza 2016
Biennale Danza 2016