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La Biennale di Venezia

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Biennale Danza 2024

Trajal Harrell    

Silver Lion    

Award ceremony    

Sunday 21 July, 6 pm
Ca’ Giustinian, Venice


Trajal Harrell    

La Biennale di Venezia will present the Silver Lion to the dancer and choreographer Trajal Harrell.

Trajal Harrell is a true original”, writes Wayne McGregor in presenting the recipient of the Silver Lion, whom he had already invited to Biennale Danza two years ago with Maggie the Cat, a work inspired by Tennessee Williams’ play to question power, gender, intolerance, inclusion.

“A graduate of Yale University, Centre national de la danse (Yvonne Rainer) and Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance, his foundational research is based on a rich conversation between post-modern dance, the New York voguing scene and Japanese dance Butoh. His work reimagines our pasts and laughs at chronological, geographical and cultural distance, leading to performances in venues dedicated as much to visual arts as to live theatre. Harrell uses the tools of critical thought, in particular research about gender, feminism and post-colonialism, to mine his own deep knowledge of art and dance history. The result of extensive research, his shows are like so many sensitive, hybrid and joyful objects that borrow equally from fashion, pop culture, and avant-garde artists. It is in this unique mix of genres, the surprising juxtaposition of forms and uniquely vast emotional range that Harrell’s work engages and enthrals. We laugh as quickly as we cry in a visceral and sensorial rollercoaster of poignancy and joy”.

Trajal Harrell returns to Biennale Danza for the 18th Festival with two works: Tambourines and Sister or He Buried the Body.


Biographical notes    

Trajal Harrell (Douglas - USA, 1973) is an American dancer and choreographer. Known above all for the series of choreographic interventions titled Twenty Looks or Paris is Burning at the Judson Church, Trajal Harrell is now considered one of the most important choreographers of his generation. After graduating from Yale University, he continued his studies at the Centre national de la danse and at the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance. His works, which arise from the cross-fertilisation between different choreographic languages rooted in gender, feminist and post-colonial studies, reimagine the past beyond chronological, geographic and cultural distances, paying particular attention to the aesthetics of the costumes, often inspired by high fashion. His works have been presented in many venues, including Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam (2014), Centre Pompidou (2015), Palais de Tokyo (2016), Festival d’Avignon (2016), MoMA (2016), Tanz im August (2017), Hammer Museum in Los Angeles (2017), Barbican (2017), The Kitchen in New York (2018), Festival d’Automne (2019), Gwangiu Biennale (2021), Bienal de Sao Paulo (2021), Schauspiehaus in Zurich (2019-2022), Kunstenfestivaldesarts in Brussels (2022), Holland Festival (2022).
His works include Used Abused and Hung Out to Dry (2013), The Ghost of Montpellier Meets the Samurai (2015), The Return of La Argentina, In the Mood for Frankie (2016), Caen Amour (2016), Juliet and Romeo. In 2017 he presented the performative exhibition Hoochie Koochie at the Barbican Centre Art Gallery (London).
He was named “Dancer of the Year” by Tanz magazine in 2018; he has also won the Doris Duke Impact Award and a Bessie Award.

Biennale Danza
Biennale Danza