VIII International Festival of Contemporary Choreography Context.Diana Vishneva took place on 14 October — 29 November of 2020 in Moscow, Saint Petersburg and online. For the first time in its history the festival launched its own online platform live.contextfest.com which hosted all online events of the Parallel Program, and the performances broadcasting. The new initiative gave an opportunity to every dance lover from any city and country to plunge into the atmosphere of the festival.
The Young Choreographers’ Gala
The audience saw the works of the finalists of the 2020 Young Choreographers Competition, as well as two premieres: "Pilgrim" of by last years Competition winner Kirill Radev, who rehearsed remotely, and a piece "When dad was little" staged by the finalist of the 2016 Competition Pavel Glukhov for the performers of the Chelyabinsk Theater of Contemporary Dance headed by Olga Pona. The winner of the Competition was Ernest Nurgali from St. Petersburg. This year, for the first time, the viewers who watched the competition online, could vote for the finalist. Their other favourite was Ernest Nurgali — he received the Out of Borders award from the General Partner of the Festival — Gazprom. Choreographer Nurbek Batulla from Kazan, who presented the work called sak-sok, received the Audience Award from the Intellectual Club 418. A special dancers award from Voss was given to Nurbek Batulla and Marat Kazikhanov.
The live broadcast of the Gala took place on the festivals online platform and was watched by almost 98 thousand viewers.
For the first time, the festival presented Context Open, a new initiative aimed to expand the boundaries of modern dance in every direction. A piece "Air" by the Belarusian choreographer Olga Labovkina was invited to participate in the festival. This site-specific production was presented in unusual spaces — Khlebozavod in Moscow and Sevkabel Port in Saint Petersburg.
The rich and versatile Parallel Program mostly took place online. Online master classes for professional dancers as well as non-professionals were led by dance companies and choreographers: Carolyn Carlson, Wang Ramirez, Dimo Milev, Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch. There was also organized a live dialogue between Diana Vishneva and Carolyn Carlson, a public talk with leading theatrical figures of Russia and France, a conversation with Robert Sturm, production assistant to Pina Bausch, as well as master classes about principles of creating a dance video directed by Katya Telegina.
Studio master classes in Moscow and Saint Petersburg (at the Studio Context Diana Vishneva) were conducted by choreographers Denis Chernyshov (Chelyabinsk Theater of Contemporary Dance) and Olga Labovkina.
One of the central events of the festival was an online premiere of the ballet "Schaherazade" by the Perm Opera and Ballet Theater, choreographed by Alexei Miroshnichenko, with Diana Vishneva and Marcelo Gomes dancing the main parts. A special festival project was created on the Arzamas.academy platform — “How ballet works on the example of the “Schaherazade”.
Moviegoers got to see the avant-garde musical "Dark City Beneath The Beat" dedicated to the city of Baltimore, where electronic music and street dance were born; the film “Maguy Marin: Time to Act” about the student of Maurice Béjart and confederate of Pina Bausch; film "In the Middle" (Mitten) — about the rehearsals of Anna Teresa De Keersmaker and her company Rosas of the production "In the middle of life" (Mitten wir im Leben sind). The Russian premiere screenings were held at the "Pioneer" and "Illusion" film theatres in Moscow and the House of Cinema in St.Petersburg. The film program was produced in collaboration with the Beat Films team.
The seventh edition of Context. Diana Vishneva Festival was held in Moscow and Saint-Petersburg on 9-13 October and 1-9 December 2019.
This time the Festival focused on the theme of overstepping the boundaries – common limits of vocabulary, genre, space, age and geography. This theme was first and foremost reflected in the International programme which featured Grand Finale by Hofesh Shechter Company and Equal Elevations presented by the company La Veronal. Moreover, a new project Context Open – a competition of staged works by choreographers of all ages from companies all over the world was launched.
For the first time in the history of the Festival dance left traditional stage: the piece Equal Elevations was performed in the space of Pushkin Fine Arts Museum in Moscow and in Faberge Museum in Saint-Petersburg.
Grand Finale, Hofesh Shechter Company (United Kingdom)
Equal Elevations, La Veronal (Spain)
The Young Choreographers’ Gala
The Young Choreographers’ Gala featured five striking works by the finalists of the Competition for Young Choreographers 2019 as well as the premiere of the work choreographed by the winner of 2018 Competition Olga Timoshenko Strong / Weak Support and a choreographic piece Freedom to the Statue! by Alexander Frolov and Anna Shchekleina, the finalists of 2018 Competition.
Kirill Radev became the winner of the Competition for Young Choreographers. He also received the Audience Choice Award established by the partner of the Competition Intellectual Club 418. This year, the jury evaluated not only the choreographers’ works but also the performance of dancers. Maria Zhukova and Elizaveta Zhukova received a special prize for best dancers — they will do an internship at the Yekaterinburg Theater of Contemporary Choreography “Provincial Dances” as part of the annual summer project “Tanzcriptsia”.
In 2019 the Parallel programme comprised the Laboratory for Scenic Lighting conducted by lighting designers from Sweden – Erik Berglund who is known for his collaborations with Mats Ek and Annie Taadne and Niklas Kirkkomaki, and a workshop for alternative photographic documentation of movement held by Maria Demianova. Dancers in Moscow and Saint-Petersburg received an opportunity to attend master-classes by Tatiana Baganova, a choreographer and Artistic Director of a contemporary dance company “Provincial Dances” from Yekaterinburg and by Olga Pautova, designer and director of “Provincial Dances” company.
Screenings within the framework of Context. Diana Vishneva festival 2019 was organized in partnership with Beat Films and included three premieres in Russian cinemas. The premiere of 3D film by Alla Kovgan Cunningham released by 100th anniversary of the great American choreographer Merce Cunningham became the key event of this programme. It also featured Steven Cantor’s Ballet Now and Louis Wallecan’s Lil’ Buck: Real Swan.
The sixth edition of Context. Diana Vishneva Festival was held from 15th October till 6th November 2018 in Moscow and Saint-Petersburg. Within the Festival programme the National Ballet of Canada with the generous support of the Embassy of Canada in Russia made its first ever tour in Russia.
Triple Bill of the National Ballet of Canada
- Paz de la Jolla. Choreographed by Justin Peck
- Being and Nothingness. Choreographed by Guillaume Côté
- Emergence Choreographed by Crystal Pite
Venezuela, Batsheva Dance Company (Israel)
The Young Choreographers’ Gala
Six Russian choreographers, the finalists of the Competition, presented their works created specially for Context. Diana Vishneva Festival. Olga Timoshenko with her piece Along The Other became the winner of the Competition. The work by Irina Kononova Black Friday received the Audience Choice award established by the partner of the Festival – Intellectual Club 418
Everyone who love dance but does not have any special background had a chance to attend Gaga/people open class and get acquainted with gaga movement language. Professional Dancers were offered to participate in 5-days workshop Gaga/dancers. Parallel programme also included a master-class by a British leading specialist Michael Mannion for light designers, two-days master-class by Codarts University of the Arts, a workshop for theatre critics conducted by the contemporary dance researcher Vera Khlopova and a workshop for dance photography with Mark Olich. ContextSpeaks featured a public talk of the Artistic Director of the National Ballet of Canada Karen Kain.
In 2018 screenings included both film premieres and hits of previous years: Ballet 422, Pina, Rare Birds, Opera de Paris, Attraction (featuring the founder of the Festival Diana Vishneva)
Last year the Context. Diana Vishneva festival celebrated its fifth birthday. The festival was held from 12 to 19 November 2017 in Moscow and St. Petersburg contemporary dance productions, master classes, lectures, workshops and film screenings. For the first time in its history, the festival commissioned the production of Asunder choreographed by Goyo Montero, expanded its educational programme and created an online educational course What is modern dance? together with Arzamas and Sberbank.
“And yet, despite the double finale and bitter pessimism, this ballet is extremely beautiful and harmonious. Each semantic turn, each change of mise-en-scenes is justified and at the same time unexpected. Flawlessly and brilliantly performed by the Perm troupe, Asunder is now a truly Russian ballet and perhaps the best CONTEXT acquisition for all five years of its existence”, — Tatyana Kuznetsova, Kommersant newspaper.
International programme participants of 2017:
Alessandra Ferri (Italy) and Herman Cornejo (Argentina)
Gauthier Dance // Dance Company Theaterhaus Stuttgart (Germany)
Company Wayne McGregor (UK)
Jeanette Delgado (USA), Gonzalo Garcia (Spain)
Drew Jacoby and Matt Foley (USA)
The Dutch National Ballet (the Netherlands)
The educational programme of 2017 included workshops for ballet photographers and dance critics, and an intensive two-day workshop Mind and Movement organised together with the British Council and Studio Wayne McGregor for choreographers from all over Russia. The first stage of the workshop was held on 13-14 November 2017, and later, in January 2018, the jury announced the names of seven choreographers who received an internship grant from Studio Wayne McGregor and the British Council to develop and stage their own production based on Wayne McGregor’s approach.
The educational program also included lectures, meet-the-artist sessions and master classes given by international choreographers, dance companies and leading Russian choreographers.
Emerging Russian choreographers showcased their works at the evening of young choreographers ContextLab. Grand Prix and internship in one of the leading international dance companies were received by Olga Labovkina from Minsk with the production Air. Olga Vasilieva, the winner of the competition of 2016, presented the premiere of her ballet performed with Israeli dancers from the “Maslool” — Professional Dance Program — Tel Aviv-Jaffa.
The film programme of the year included screenings of seven films about dancers:
The Paris Opéra by Jean-Stefan Bron
Ballerina’s Tale by Nelson George
Ingmar Bergman through the Choreographer’s eye by Ingmar Bergman Jr. and Marie-Louise Sid-Sylwander
Maiko: Dancing Child by Ose Svenheim Drivenes
Bobbi Jene by Elvira Lind
Marcelo Gomes: Anatomy of a Male Ballet Dancer by David Barba and James Pellerito
In California by Charles Redon
In 2016 Context. Diana Vishneva expanded its geography and took place from 14 to 19 November in Moscow and Saint Petersburg, the gala closing of the festival was held at the historic stage of Mariinsky Theatre.
“The fourth festival intends to advance not in breadth, but in depth: only three programs in the theaters accompanied by film and educational programs. The reasonable scope did not stop the festival from expanding to St. Petersburg for the first time in its short history, the home town of the festival’s founder and artistic director Diana Vishneva, and presenting there two absolute masterpieces that give meaning to the whole event, even without context”, — Leyla Guchmazova, Rossiyskaya Gazeta.
“The fourth edition of the Diana Vishneva’s festival has demonstrated the strengthened position of modern dance and the growth of choreographers’ ambitions in the context of preserved traditions”, — Natalia Zvenigorodskaya, Nezavisimaya Gazeta.
In addition to its annual master classes for dancers and choreographers, the festival launched a specialized series of workshops for critics-to-be Laboratory of Dance Criticism by the researcher of contemporary dance and the founder of the media portal No fixed points Vita Khlopova, Mark Olich held master classes for ballet photographers Theater Photography and Elena Krygina taught the art of makeup as part of the Theatrical Make-Up workshops.
Also in 2016, the festival launched a series of public talks ContextSpeaks with prominent choreographers and dancers about art, career, and life. Mats Ek, an outstanding Swedish choreographer, became the first guest of the public talk. His participation at the festival was one of the highlights of that year, as in January 2016 Mats Ek announced his retirement.
International program participants of 2016:
Bejart Ballet Lausanne (BBL), Switzerland
Tanz Luzerner Theater, Switzerland
Alonzo King Lines Ballet, USA
Diana Vishneva and Aurélie Dupont, France
The film program of the fourth festival focused on screenings about the best contemporary choreographers: Alonzo King — Poet of Dance, Sasha Waltz — A Portrait, Reset about Benjamin Millepied, Mr. Gaga about the work and life Ohad Naharin, The Choreographer Mats Ek, and Rudolf Nureyev — Dance to Freedom starring Artem Ovcharenko, the premiere of the Bolshoi Theater.
The third Context. Diana Vishneva, dedicated to the memory of Maya Plisetskaya, was held in Moscow from 24 to 28 November 2015.
This year the festival invited to Russia the legendary Martha Graham Dance Company, established by one of the founders of modern dance Martha Graham.
“The third Context. Diana Vishneva festival has closed the curtains with the performance of the Martha Graham Dance Company on the stage of the Mossovet Theater. According to Tatyana Kuznetsova, the arrival of the Americans will make the festival leave its mark in the history of modern Russian choreography”, — Kommersant newspaper.
The international program of the festival was presented by the following contemporary dance companies and choreographers:
Martha Graham Dance Company, USA
Brenda Angiel Aerial Dance Company, Argentina
Itzik Galili , Israel
Diana Vishneva performed in the production of Live by Hans van Manen.
The film program of the festival included screenings of the best films from the International San Francisco Dance Film Festival: Rare Birds directed by T.M. Rives, Never Stand Still by Ron Honsa, The Man Behind the Throne by Kersti Grunditz, Secundaria by Mary Jane Doherty, and the Russian premiere of Andrei Severny’s film Gravitation: Variations in Time and Space starring Diana Vishneva.
The educational program of the festival included a meeting with Diana Vishneva and Janet Eilber, as well as a lecture by Vadim Gaevsky dedicated to Maya Plisetskaya.
The second Context. Diana Vishneva festival was held in Moscow from 26 to 29 November 2014.
The Mossovet Theatre became the main venue of the festival where an international program, a series of round tables and creative meetings were held. In 2014, the festival expanded its educational program with lectures by leading theorists and historians of contemporary dance. Among the lecturers was Vadim Gaevsky, an outstanding theater and literary critic, who talked about Dance Revolution in the 20s of the XX Century: its Prerequisites, Consequences and Heroes, and Wendy Perron from the Dance Magazine, who spoke about the evolution of modern dance in America over the past 30 years.
"Unlike the last year’s first festival which was organized spontaneously and swiftly, this one is a true picture of the ballet world the most mobile modern ballerina has developed in her 20-year career" — Anna Galayda, Vedomosti.
International program participants of 2014:
Netherlands Dance Theater (NDT II), Netherlands
Gauthier Dance, Germany
Ate9 dANCE cOMPANY, USA
Ballet Preljocaj, France
Nanine Linning / Theater Heidelberg, Netherlands
Diana Vishneva performed in the productions of The Old Man and Me by Hans van Manen (partner - Eric Gautier), Subject of Change by Sol León & Paul Lightfoot (partner - Andrey Merkuriev), Tué by Marco Goecke.
One of the highlights of the film program was the Norwegian picture Ballet Boys directed by Kevin Elvebak about the truth of the ballet life and difficulties on the way to success. Also, the program featured Before We Go by Jorge León, Forward (Avant) by Juan Álvarez Neme, and Los posibles by Santiago Mitre.
The first Context. Diana Vishneva festival was held from 4 to 6 December 2013 in Moscow.
“A new festival of modern choreography appeared in Moscow and immediately threatened to overshadow all similar projects, as it was inspired by Diana Vishneva herself — this prima ballerina is a real expert in contemporary choreography like no other of her academic colleagues”, — Tatyana Kuznetsova, Kommersant newspaper.
“The tireless seeker of the new, Diana Vishneva has brought a real dance traffic to Moscow. She packed her festival in three days, scattered it across three venues, filled it with lots of events — try to manage that. As if she and her team decided to attack the city of classical ballet with something complete opposite — with the modern dance”, — Elena Fedorenko, Culture newspaper.
Participants of the festival’s international program:
Richard Alston Dance Company, UK
Suzanne Dellal Dance and Performing Arts Centre, Israel
Gauthier Dance, Germany
Diana Vishneva’s performance in a duet with Marcelo Gomes, a premiere of the American Ballet Theater became one of the most anticipated events of the festival. They performed Vertigo choreographed by Mauro Bigonzetti to the music of Shostakovich and Nuages by Jiří Kylián to the music of Claude Debussy.
The Documentary Film Center hosted screenings of the festival’s film program that featured such works as Pina by Wim Wenders, Car Men and Between Entrance and Exit by Boris Paval Conen.