In this strange year during which many of us have met only online, the sole Director of La Biennale I have yet to meet in person is Marie Chouinard, the master of contemporary dance.
But even though it was through the computer screen, every contact we had gave me the impression of a person who radiates a powerful empathy.
Her way of communicating in words and gestures, with her eyes and even in the way she frames herself in front of the computer’s camera, is brimming with grace and poetic intelligence. Her expositions are built as short stories for the theatre and performed by someone who clearly knows how to use her body and transmit this art to others.
Marie Chouinard is a synthesis of La Biennale arts: narration, dance, acting, artist’s performance. Read her introduction and you will find proof of my words.
Dance, like Music and Theatre are apparently the least visible of the arts among the Exhibitions and Festivals of La Biennale.
But they are the ones that leave the most powerful mark.
This doesn’t mean that Art, Architecture or Cinema are less influential in the way we experience our contemporary world.
But because they necessarily involve the body, the performing arts have fewer expressive alibis than those that can be significantly “facilitated” by new technology.
They can only exist in person, and for this reason, they have been struck the hardest by the pandemic that locked their spectators out of the places where they could see them (the same thing befell cinema and the art and architecture exhibitions), but above all that blocked the creative process.
A choreography can be imagined but it cannot be danced, a piece of music can be composed, but it cannot be rehearsed with the musicians, a play can be written but it cannot be staged.
Biennale Danza 2020 is taking place as scheduled (with the restrictions that were imposed and recently tested at the Venice International Film Festival) and Marie Chouinard has jumped all the hurdles though she was working online. To watch the young people participating in the College in the magnificent buildings restored inside the Arsenale fills me with joy, an emotion that Marie has not been able to experience yet without the filter of a computer.
But those like me who have had the good fortune to see the passion and commitment of these young men and women, from different parts of the world, and seen the joy and satisfaction in their eyes, have instantly understood the magnitude and importance of La Biennale Directors’ work.
I am sincerely grateful to Marie and her colleagues and am pleased that the spectators will be able to see the results of her work, even though they will be social-distancing and wearing a mask, My gratitude also extends to her participation as a curator, with the other Directors, of the exhibition titled The Disquieted Muses. When La Biennale di Venezia Meets History, inaugurated in the Central Pavilion in the Giardini of La Biennale, and open through December 8th 2020.