Wayne McGregor, the director of this year’s Biennale Danza—the dance arm of the Venice Biennale—today unveiled the theme and the programme of this summer’s 16th international festival of contemporary dance, which runs between 22-31 July.
In a reflection of the current state of global flux, McGregor has given Biennale Danza 2022 the overall title of Boundary-Less, saying that "physical borders are eroding as quickly as geographical borders are redrawn—and still the human spirit transcends itself over and over again towards a permanent state of the unfixed, the impermeable, the free".
This sense of freedom is also reflected in his choice of participants in a 10-day-long international programme of 69 performances, which includes a number of world, European and Italian premieres. "The work and artists in our second year are in many ways uncategorisable” he says. They all resist singular definition, as they transcend genre and medium in their work."
World premieres include a new production from Japanese choreographer Saburo Teshigawara, the recipient of this year’s Biennale Danza lifetime achievement Golden Lion, who is merging diverse disciplines in a radical new reimagining of Stravinsky’s Petrouchka, which originally premiered with Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes in 1911. The Biennale Silver Lion goes to the contemporary flamenco dancer Rocio Molina, who is premiering a completely new piece which McGregor describes as "a battle between her volcanic body and five ecstatic live musicians".
One highlight that will particularly appeal to a visual arts audience is the restaging, 50 years on, of the legendary American choreographer Merce Cunningham’s 1972 Piazza San Marco Event. This special processional commission which is taking place on floating stages between St Mark’s square and the Arsenale, is being realised in collaboration with the Cunningham Trust with costumes specially designed by Bottega Veneta.
Complementing this Cunningham tribute is the Italian premiere of Craneway Event, a film portrait of the avant-garde master made in collaboration with the British visual artist Tacita Dean and completed just months after his death in 2009.
McGregor also revealed that Biennale Danza will be entering the virtual world by presenting a number of durational installation environments made by “a series of artists working at the intersections of body, technology, VR, AR, AI and science”. These include Tobias Gremmler, famed for his collaborations with Bjork, and the choreographer Blanca Li, who won the best VR experience at last year’s Venice Film Festival. Li will be presenting her award-winning Le Bal de Paris which, according to McGregor, is “an extraordinary, visionary multi-form work of boundary-breaking joy…the biggest ball in Paris in which audiences get to dress up, and give into a sensory and surreal adventure.”