Between July and September, the Venice Biennale becomes an international stage for the performing arts and for 2021 Wayne McGregor takes up the reins of the dance section until 2023.
Participants in this year's Biennale include Mikhail Baryshnikov in an unexpected partnership with Jan Fabre for a world premiere.
Venice is not only the stage for live performances but also a practical workshop for young people thanks to the programmes of the Biennale College. Over 1,000 applications were submitted this year to the calls of the Biennale College Dance, Music and Theatre from over 70 countries around the world.
Titled First Sense, the 15th International Festival of Contemporary Dance will be held in Venice from 23 July to 1 August.
At today's press conference, Wayne McGregor said:
As we are propelled into 2021, after a year of the pandemic, social distancing and enforced physical restrictions, we are powerfully reminded of the criticality of touch in our lives. Indeed, touch has taken on new resonances in our society at large and most personally as this fundamental sense we usually take for granted has been challenged and compromised… Today, we are desperate to re-connect to the world through and with our bodies and we are, now more than ever, ready to be exhilarated by a return to our fullest embodied existence.
Dance, the greatest of First Touch art forms is poised to inspire such a spectacular revival and our 2021 Biennale Danza programme will celebrate the diversity and dynamism of many exceptional artistic voices that express their truths through the breath-taking instrument of the human form.
The ten-day festival features choreographers and companies from around the world, experimental installations, the young artists of the Biennale College, films about and with dance, conversations with the artists, and new dance commissions.
The artists from a performing arts scene with no borders, under the banner of multiculturalism, will include:
- Xie Xin and Yin Fang from China
- French-Algerian Hervé Koubi with the Jewish-Egyptian vocalist Natacha Atlas
- Soon-ho Park from South Korea
- Marco D'Agostin from Italy
- American Pam Tanowitz with pianist Simone Dinnerstein
- Olivier de Sagazan from Brazaville
- Basque Iratxe Ansa with Italian Igor Bacovich
- The artistic collective (La)Horde together with producer Rone
- Oona Doherty from Northern Ireland
- Germaine Acogny from Senegal
With them, Mikhail Baryshnikov and Jan Fabre, Wilkie Branson, Random International and the Wayne McGregor company, the artists who have created three experimental installations which will remain on view throughout the Festival in collaboration with the 17th International Architecture Exhibition.
The Biennale College will present a double programme with works from the repertoire of Wayne McGregor and Crystal Pite and five short original choreographies, whose protagonists will be the dancers and dancer-choreographers in residence in Venice. The latter will also create and perform – under the mentorship of McGregor – the Solos in Architecture Biennale, short choreographic fragments inspired by the 17th International Architecture Exhibition.
Two multi-year programmes to commission new dance will open this year for the next three-year period: the first will contribute to the development of a future production by the Silver Lions; the second will commission an independent creation every year reserved for Italian artists.
The Dance, Music and Theatre Festivals will involve the entire city of Venice, from the historic spaces of the Arsenale (Teatro alle Tese, Tese dei Soppalchi, Sale d'Armi, Teatro Piccolo Arsenale) to Ca' Giustinian, the Basilica di San Marco with the Cappella Marciana, the Teatro La Fenice and the Malibran; from the Auditorium Lo Squero at the Giorgio Cini Fondation to the Conservatorio Benedetto Marcello to the Teatro del Parco Bissuola in Mestre.
Starting today, all information on the 2021 activities of the Dance Music and Theatre Departments will be available on the website of La Biennale di Venezia www.labiennale.org.
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano') about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman's Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia' column for Dancing Times magazine.