The Dance Department was established as an autonomous section of La Biennale di Venezia in 1999. Before then, the Dance shows were part of the programme of the Music Department. Between 1999 and 2002 Carolyn Carlson was the director. The shows were taking place from May to October; the term ‘festival’ was not used to denote the programme, and was taken up again from 2003 onwards.
The Biennale Danza has soon established as a significant activity at La Biennale di Venezia. After Carolyn Carlson, directors included Frédéric Flamand and Karole Armitage, who each directed one edition of the Festival in 2003 and 2004, Ismael Ivo (2005-2012), Virgilio Sieni (2013-2016), and Marie Chouinard (2017-2020). Wayne McGregor was appointed as new director in October 2020.