10 days –from June 21st to June 30th– with 29 performances by 22 choreographers and companies from around the world for the 13th International Festival of Contemporary Dance directed by Marie Chouinard and organized by La Biennale di Venezia, chaired by Paolo Baratta.
The festival will feature 5 world premieres, 9 Italian premieres and 8 original creations for outdoor theatre in the heart of the city; a series of encounters with the artists; and a film cycle: all in the spaces of the Arsenale –Teatro alle Tese, Teatro Piccolo Arsenale, Sale d’Armi, and Giardino Marceglia– as well as the Teatro Malibran and Via Garibaldi.
The Lions, artists who share original composition strategies and a multidisciplinary approach to dance, champions of a wider and more “permeable” conception of this discipline, will open the Festival on June 21st and shape its physiognomy.
Alessandro Sciarroni, the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement, an artist with a “mixed” career in art, theatre and choreography comes to Venice with Your Girl, a show-revelation, and Augusto, in which the only physical and vocal practice that the performers are allowed to express themselves with is hearty laughter. Steven Michel – who studied mime, dance, percussion – and Théo Mercier – trained in the visual arts and directing – the Silver Lions, meet at the intersection between art and choreography, the result of similar construction processes but using different instruments: on the one hand the body and on the other objects. As in Affordable Solution for Better Living, a solo that uses humour to dissect the standardization of our lifestyles, which finds a perfect model in Ikea furniture.
In the same way, Piece for Person and Ghetto Blaster by Australian writer, director, performer and designer Nicola Gunn and Un Poyo Rojo by the amazing Argentine duo Nicolás Poggi and Luciano Rosso coexist within the Festival while traveling on different, and even opposite tracks. A winner of numerous awards in Australia, the first is a “philosophical digression into movement” that includes gags, anecdotes, questions and insights into the most essential and ambiguous of moral dilemmas – the difference between right and wrong – triggered by an “incident” between a man and a woman and a duck; while the second, which toured around the world and played for an entire month at the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, is pure “physical theatre”, dramatic action with two men and a radio who face off, challenge, fight and seduce one another with humour in an exhilarating mix of dance, sport and eroticism.
The relationship between artist and spectator, a core theme in contemporary dance today, is knowingly addressed in several productions invited to the Festival that throw our perceptive habits into disarray. This is the case with Blink, by Brazilian choreographer Michelle Moura (who also performs in it with Clara Saito), defined as “a metaphysical pas de deux”, a hypnotic choreographic piece in which the instrument of composition is our reflex response of batting our eyelashes: when this response is interrupted, it provokes imperceptible psycho-physical mutations and infinite transformations. Or Habiter, where the visual composition by Canadian choreographer Katia-Marie Germain, winner of the Prix de la Danse de Montréal in the “discoveries” section, relies on a play of illusions to compose a painting that is revealed before our eyes bit by bit, as a succession of stills: on the stage are two women, a table set for breakfast and a single light source used like a painter uses chiaroscuro. The work of Simona Bertozzi, who danced with Virgilio Sieni for a long time before embarking on her own career and has been invited to the Festival with Ilinx – Don't stop the Dance, seeks to make the invisible visible as she works on the joints, muscles, organs and cells. This new piece, which extends and redesigns the 2008 production, offers “new thoughts on the solitude of the performer and his universe of play”, inspired by one of Roger Caillois’ categories of play.
“Relational performance practice” is the specific basis for the experimentation of Australian choreographer Luke George, composer with Daniel Kok of Bunny, a happily transgressive show that plays upon ropes and knots – inspired by the tradition of the shibari and the sea – to uproot the conventions of society and theatre and question consensual relationships, trust, expectations and the complicity between artists and spectators. A theme that is also addressed in Forecasting, by Giuseppe Chico and Barbara Matijević, on stage with a laptop searching for new forms of narration that explore the influence of the web on the gesture of the performer and on our senses. The virtual sphere transforms the premise that underlies every performance: the actor in front of his audience.
Opening new horizons for movement, Every Body Electric by Austrian choreographer Doris Uhlich (with a degree in Dance Education), works with disabled artists to liberate their physical and expressive potential, with wheelchairs, crutches and prostheses that become choreographic tools. “Every human being is unique and special”, explains Uhlich, who considers dance to be “food for the body” and movement “a sort of inner fuel”, so that “the energy of a movement is more important than its form”.
The delicate intertwining of music and dance in Tide, inspired by the motion of the tides, unfurls in the relationship between sound and silence, movement and immobility. The protagonists are dancer and choreographer Bára Sigfúsdóttir from Iceland, appearing in Italy for the first time, with Norwegian composer and trumpet player Eivind Lønning, one of the biggest names on the Northern European music scene.
Music plays an important part in the productions of three of the greatest stars on the contemporary scene: Sasha Waltz, Daniel Léveillé, and William Forsythe.
Schubert's Impromptus, a sort of intimate diary entrusted to the solo voice of the piano, are the inspiration for the production Impromptus dated 2004, practically a classic by Sasha Waltz, an author with highly personal choreographic imagery, whose dance is capable of illuminating the classical structure of music, to reveal it under a new light.
In Quatuor Tristesse by Daniel Léveillé, the lyrical accents of the Baroque scores contrast with the absence of emotion in the dancers, whom the Canadian choreographer shapes into plastic groups in which the austere nudity, the economy of movement, the obsessive repetition are both content and form of a search for original purity.
William Forsythe, an artist who never ceases to experiment, presents the audience with A Quiet Evening of Dance in the thread that connects the geometry of academic ballet and the forms of hip-hop, between new creations and existing ones, performed by 7 of his most trusted collaborators with the addition of Rauf “Rubberlegz” Yasit, a breakdance performer.
Twenty-four years old, born in Naples and trained in Europe, Maria Chiara de’ Nobili comes from the breeding ground of young choreographers of the Biennale College, the initiative with which the Biennale di Venezia promotes young talents offering them the opportunity to work in contact with established Masters to develop new creations. Her debut on the stage of the 2018 Festival is now confirmed by the full-evening work that the Biennale has commissioned for the year 2019. The result is Wrap, in which the young author pursues her research in the form of a solo and a duet, imagining a choreography based on a sequence of images, like the tesserae of a mosaic or the pieces of a puzzle.