This is the third year of Wayne McGregor’s tenure as Artistic Director of the International Festival of Contemporary Dance. The first edition, in 2021, was called First Sense, and put a strong emphasis on physical contact in a pandemic-dominated time, when everyone was forced to stay apart; Boundary-less in 2022 wanted to express a world without fracture lines where even bodies could (once again) merge. This year, Altered States reminds us of how movements – but also emotions and feelings – are brought about by our inner chemistry; hence the label “movement alchemists” attributed to the artists of this 17th edition of Biennale Danza.
Artistic Director Wayne McGregor’s tireless research gives power to the live arts (Dance, Music and Theatre), bonding together spectators and artists by erasing the distance between the audience and the stage. This spirit of research is embodied at the highest level by the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement, conferred this year upon Simone Forti. Her richness and creative variety are also celebrated with an exhibition organised in collaboration with The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (MOCA) – and through the work of Sarah Swenson, who has re-staged some of Forti’s Dance Constructions with the participants of the Biennale College Danza programme.
The return of 2021 Silver Lion Oona Doherty to Venice reflects the pledge between La Biennale di Venezia and its awarded artists that they will keep returning to share with us the gift of their art. I am confident that the same will prove true for Tao Ye and Duan Ni of TAO Dance Theater, who we are delighted to receive as Silver Lions in 2023.
Wayne McGregor’s dedication and enthusiasm in making the outcome of the College’s activity ever richer, more exciting and more prolific have had extraordinary results in the past. I am sure this edition of the Festival once again will tap into that same magic.
For all these reasons, this year La Biennale has decided to give more resources to the festivals that represent these arts, allowing for greater investment in productions and co-productions, and offering an increased number of performances over more days of programming, in order to reach an ever-wider audience.
I renew my gratitude to Wayne McGregor for embodying the spirit that La Biennale strives to foster with its events and festivals: to show the best that contemporary art has to offer, while celebrating all that has been developed over the course of time – and to pass on knowledge old and new to young talents at the very beginning of their careers, as they gather from around the globe to live the unrepeatable experience of Biennale College.
For their fundamental support, thanks go to the Ministry of Culture and Veneto Region; to local institutions that in various ways support La Biennale; to the City of Venice; to the Soprintendenza Archeologia, belle arti e paesaggio per il Comune di Venezia e Laguna; and to the Italian Navy.
We’d also like to thank Bottega Veneta, Main Sponsor of Biennale Danza 2023; Rai, Media Partner of La Biennale di Venezia; Venezia Unica; and NOWNESS & AnOther Magazine.