In 2009, a few weeks before their worked featured on the bill at the last Biennale, Merce Cunningham and Pina Bausch left the stage for the last time, turning the event into something of a commemoration. Now, two years after their death, it is entirely natural for the question of transmission and historical authenticity to lie at the heart of this year’s Biennale programme. What makes dance such an ephemeral art form is the difficulty in codifying and consequently transmitting it. While notation systems like Laban’s and Benesh’s can help perpetuate the repertoire, dance’s heritage cannot be summed up in its re-transcription alone. What about emotion, interpretation, the subtle dialogue established between choreographer and dancer? And what about all the stories that make up the history of dance?
Whether through a reinterpretation, a reappropriation, a biographical account, filmed testimonies or even retrospectives and moments of encounter, several choreographers and artists will set about answering this question.
And while this Biennale looks back at sources, it is anchored just as firmly in the present, welcoming major names like Maguy Marin, whose latest creation Salves has been greeted with unanimous acclaim by critics. It will also be giving equal attention to artists in residence, choreographers from our community, and people living in Charleroi who feature in Joanne Leighton’s inclusive project Made in Charleroi.
It is forward looking too. Charleroi/Danses has joined forces this year with the europalia.brasil festival, shattering any received ideas of this vast nation by offering new languages, such as those practised and developed by Marcelo Evelin, Lia Rodrigues and Michel Groisman.
Lastly, the Biennale is an echo chamber yet again for the increasing porosity between dance and other disciplines: with incredible freshness Kiss & Cry, a poetic gem which will open the festivities, testifies to the infinite possibilities of creation.
General Manager and Artistic Director