In 2016, the Context. Diana Vishneva Festival widened its geographic scope and took place in both St. Petersburg and Moscow, November 14-19. The grand closing of the festival occurred on the Historic Stage at the Mariinsky Theatre.
Viewers in Moscow were greeted by three productions from the Maurice Bejart Ballet. The company put on Bejart’s Im Chambre Séparée and, for the first time in Russia, Couleurs Blues and Gil Roman’s Tombées de la Dernière Pluie (Roman is the dance troupe’s choreographer and director.) Tanz Luzerner Theater performed Georg Reischl’s Dance 22: A New Rhythm, as well as a solo produced by chaMOODim specially for the festival.
The Alonzo King Lines Ballet (USA) had its first Russian performance at Context. Alonzo King’s company performed a production of Writing Ground Quintet, Concerto for Two Violins, and a ballet titled Shostakovich and inspired by the Russian composer’s music. One of the festival’s main events was Ana Laguna’s joint performance with Yvan Auzeli in Mats Ek’s AXE. Introdans made their first appearance in St. Petersburg. The Closing Gala at the Mariinsky Theatre was adorned by one of the company’s most brilliant shows: a production of In Memoriam staged by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, a fragment which had been performed at the first festival in 2013, as well as choreographer Mauro Bigonzetti’s Cantata. Another important event was Diana Vishneva’s performance with Aurélie Dupont, the star of the Opéra de Paris. Aside from the fact that it was their first time performing together, the performance also featured their first collaboration with choreographer Ohad Naharin; they put on his B/olero.
Works by the finalists from the Young Choreographers’ Competition-2016 (Olga Vasilyeva, Pavel Glukhov, Rimma Pipoyan, Alexei Busko, Sofia Gaydukova, and Maria Siukayeva) were performed at the Electrotheatre Stanislavski as part of the Evening for Young Choreographers. Olga Vasilyeva won with her production titled The Room; she then received a grant to the internship at the Bikurei Ha’Itim Arts Center in Tel Aviv. In 2016, an audience’s choice award was established for the competition which Pavel Glukhov received.
In addition to the annual master-classes for artists and choreographers, the festival launched specialized workshops: for future critics – the Laboratory of Dance Criticism, led by contemporary dance researcher and founder of No Fixed Points Vita Khlopova, for photographers – Theatrical Photography, led by St. Petersburg photographer Mark Olich, and finally, for makeup artists – Stage Makeup, led by makeup artist Yelena Krygina.
Starting from 2016, the festival began presenting a series of open conversations on art, career and life with renowned choreographers and dancers in a format called ContextSpeaks. Acclaimed Swedish choreographer Mats Ek was the format’s first guest; his arrival was one of the festival’s main events.
The festival’s film program was comprised of biopics that touched on the greatest contemporary choreographers and distinguished artists: Alonzo King (Alonzo King—The Poet of Dance), Sasha Waltz (A Portrait of Sasha Waltz), Benjamin Millepied (Reset), Ohad Naharin (Mr. Gaga), Mats Ek (Mats Ek—Choreographer), Rudolf Nureyev (Rudolf Nureyev: Dance to Freedom starring Artem Ovcharenko, the principal dancer at the Bolshoi Theatre).