The 12th Festival
On stage in Venice from June 22nd to July 1st, the 12th International Festival of Contemporary Dance directed by Marie Chouinard and titled Breath, strategy and subversion, spans the wide horizon across which choreography is developing today, highlighting the dynamics and evolution of the figures of dancer and choreographer.
It will feature Meg Stuart, winner of the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement and a pioneer in improvisation projects which have distinguished her work and influenced many artists, who brings to the Biennale the Italian premiere of Built to Last; and we will see the union between the postmodern dance of Deborah Hay, a precursor of the American “counterculture” gathered in the Judson Dance Theater, and the perfection of the Cullbergbaletten dancers, the finest expression of modern ballet, together for Figure a Sea, to the music of another great experimenter, Laurie Anderson.
There will be the contemporary flamenco of Israel Galvàn, who in FLA.CO.MEN revitalizes a centuries-old tradition that is embedded in his DNA (he is the son of bailaores), and is not afraid to revolutionize the elements of a highly-codified dance. There will be the “choreographic concerts” of Frédérick Gravel, with his collective of actors, dancers and musicians, adrenalin-charged performers for the Italian premiere of Some Hope for the Bastards, an example of the distinctive fusion between indie rock and contemporary dance. The intersection between dance, music and theatre also underpins the work of Jacques Poulin-Denis, composer and choreographer, and the author of Running Piece, a work for dancer and tapis roulant, to be shown in its European premiere performance at La Biennale.
The grade-zero of dance is represented by Xavier Le Roy, one of the pioneers of anti-choreography, which ranges from conceptual operation to ironic gesture. Le Roy presents the world premiere of Le Sacre du Printemps, an almost-cult solo that he reinvents, refracting its gestures between three female dancers. Working in the same direction is Danish choreographer Mette Ingvartsen, whose piece To come (extended) will have its Italian premiere performance in Venice, performing alongside Jan Ritsema, Bojana Cvejic, Xavier Le Roy himself, and Boris Charmatz. Ingvartsen is the author of a “choreography expanded” to the most extreme point of immateriality, in which the body loses its usual dominating role, and becomes an object among objects.
This choreographic area, in which the sphere of perception prevails over technical skill and feeling is a key element, also includes Italian choreographers Francesca Foscarini and Irina Baldini, each with extensive experiences abroad. They have both come to Venice with a diptych: Vocazione all'asimmetria and Animale, an original new piece, for Francesca Foscarini; for Irina Baldini 7 ways to begin without knowing where to start, which made her the revelation of the Biennale College – Choreographers last year, and Quite Now in its world premiere performance.
Choreography as a social experience, a common space shaped by performer and spectator together, guides the work of Faye Driscoll, winner of a Bessie Award and a Doris Duke Artist Award, who comes to Italy for the first time with Thank you for Coming: Attendance, the first chapter in a series of works “made for and with the public”.
Expressive energy and vitality blow in from another continent, from Cape Verde with Marlene Monteiro Freitas, whom the Biennale has acknowledged as a new talent with the Silver Lion award: Bacchae – Prelude to a Purge, presented by Freitas in its Italian premiere performance, is an original reinterpretation of the tragic myth by Euripides, performed by twelve dancers and musicians from her company.
Twenty years after the anthology of her early creations, Les Solos 1978-1998, presented at the Biennale in 1999, Marie Chouinard continues with the idea of dipping into her own repertory with her company. To be shown as a world premiere at the Biennale, Radical Vitality, Solos and Duets is a retrospective of about thirty solos and duets, “a new choreographic collection, a reinterpretation of these short forms that become independent, but follow in the wake of a long and deep creative process that developed over the span of forty years” (M. Chouinard).