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20 years of Dance at La Biennale di Venezia
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20 years of Dance at La Biennale di Venezia

From April 29th to May 5th , encounters, interviews and performances will be broadcasted on Biennale Channel. Starting May 18th, the virtual exhibition The Idea of the Body will be available online in the new area of the Historical Archives section.

Two events in the name of dance online.
Starting Wednesday April 29th, in celebration of International Dance Day, for one week through May 5th, 20 years of Dance at La Biennale di Venezia offers three daily showings (at 2 pm, 4 pm and 7 pm) on the virtual stage of Biennale Channel.
The initiative in the name of dance will continue: starting Monday May 18th, the Historical Archives section will feature the virtual exhibition The Idea of the Body. Merce Cunningham, Steve Paxton, Julian Beck, Meredith Monk and Simone Forti from the Archives of the Biennale 1960 - 1976.

20 years of Dance at La Biennale di Venezia

20 years of Dance at La Biennale di Venezia is a story in images: featuring the trailers of the finest performances presented at the Festival since 1999, the year Dance was instituted as an independent department beside the other disciplines of La Biennale di Venezia; with the stories, considerations and thoughts expressed by the artists in interviews and encounters, in particular during the awards ceremonies for the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement, moments that have celebrated personalities who have made the history of contemporary performance arts; finally with the performances, especially those conceived in Venice and for the Biennale Danza, commissioned in collaboration with European institutions such as Dansens Hus and Dance Umbrella. These materials have largely been selected from the Historical Archives of La Biennale (ASAC), which starting today will be available with a specific programme and schedule.

It will start off with Carolyn Carlson, an artist and a poet, and a great teacher, who ushered in the adventure of the Biennale Danza, and will be featured online in interviews and in two creations produced in Venice: J. Beuys Song, with the music of Giovanni Sollima performed live by the cellist himself and the young dancers of the Accademia Isola Danza; and Writings on Water, the solo with which Carlson bid farewell to the Venetian public in 2002. Followed by: Steve Paxton, visibly moved at the award ceremony for lifetime achievement which was held 50 years after his last performance in Venice; the American choreographer’s encounter with the public will also be featured online; Pina Bausch receiving the award for Lifetime Achievement from the hands of Franco Quadri: the icon of dance will be the object of an interview with Cristiana Morganti, a dancer in the historic Wuppertal company and a choreographer in her own right; William Forsythe, every thought a revelation, in an encounter with the public and an interview with Brock Labrenz, who performed in Nowhere and Everywhere at the Same Time. As well as Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, Jiri Kyliàn, Sylvie Guillem, the indisputable star of dance, who concludes the programme on May 5th in a conversation led by Elisa Vaccarino.

The evening events dedicated to the performances will feature, in addition to J. Beuys Song and Writings on Water: Eyes Off, which Saburo Teshigawara conceived in Venice as a tribute to the painting La nuda by Giorgione, with an introduction by the Japanese choreographer; TooMortal, by the Anglo-Indian choreographer Shobana Jeyasingh, a pioneer of “fusion” dance, which premiered at the Church of Saint George (San Vio, Venice); Swan Lack and Thank U Ma’am, a diptych by the rebel of British dance Michael Clark, inspired by the “holy trinity” of rock – David Bowie, Iggy Pop and Lou Reed; A demain by Anton Lachky, a short and caustic choreographic incursion outdoors, in the city squares of Venice, with the dancers of the Biennale College, like Sahara para todos, created by Michele Di Stefano for and with the dancers of the Biennale College Danza in Campo San Maurizio.

The virtual exhibition

The virtual exhibition – a replica of the exhibition held in 2014 at Ca’ Giustinian – will be online starting May 18th: a leap into the Historical Archives of La Biennale with over 200 photos as well as posters and sketches from the time when dance was “hosted” by the other departments, Music and Theatre, which featured the most advanced experimentation in this field as well. The Idea of the Body. Merce Cunningham, Steve Paxton, Julian Beck, Meredith Monk and Simone Forti from the Archives of the Biennale 1960 - 1976 casts a light on these artists, all pioneers of the happenings and performances that revolutionized the international scene in the Sixties and Seventies, and at La Biennale created events with a powerful reference to the body outside of theatres, involving the open spaces of Venice: Merce Cunningham, Julian Beck with Living Theater, Simone Forti and Meredith Monk.

The exhibition is a remarkable document of fundamental experiences: such as the memorable Event in Saint Mark’s Square that Merce Cunningham presented with his company on September 14th 1972, leaving the audience in awe. Or the political power of the bodies of Julian Beck and Living Theater in the trilogy The Legacy of Cain, or the unforgettable Quarry by Meredith Monk, with its ritual vocals. Or Simone Forti, who represents a high-minded physical thought, and Steve Paxton, a master with an intimate understanding of the dynamics of the body.

Biennale Danza 2020

The 14th International Festival of Contemporary Dance directed by Marie Chouinard will take place from October 13th to 25th.


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