The seventh Context. Diana Vishneva Contemporary Dance Festival took place in Moscow and St. Petersburg (October 9-13 and December 1-9, 2019).
This festival’s main area of focus was finding ways of overcoming traditional boundaries—language, genre, space, age, and geography. This theme was particularly pronounced in the international program which consisted of two productions: Grand Finale performed by Hofesh Shechter’s dance company and Equal Elevations performed by La Veronal. Significantly, this pursuit also manifested in the launch of a new project Context Open: a competition for finished works by choreographers of any age and from any country. For the first time in the festival’s history, dance abandoned its traditional stage—Equal Elevations was performed at the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow and the Fabergé Museum in St. Petersburg.
The Evening for Young Choreographers featured five notable works that had reached the final of the Young Choreographers’ Competition-2018, as well the premiere of Olga Timoshenko’s Strong / Weak Support (Timoshenko won the competition in 2018) and Freedom for the Statue performed by the Provincial Dances contemporary dance theatre and staged by Alexander Frolov and Anna Shchekleina, a finalist of the 2018 competition. Kirill Radev became the competition’s winner. He also received the audience’s choice award, established by the competition’s partner, Intellectual Club 418. This year, the panel of judges not only evaluated the work of choreographers, but also that of dancers. Maria and Elizaveta Zhukov both received special prizes—they then worked at the Provincial Dances contemporary dance theater as part of the annual summer project Tanscriptsiya.
The Parallel Program included a workshop on stage lighting led by specialists from Sweden, Erik Berglund, a lighting director who worked with Mats Ek, as well as Annie Todne and Niklas Kirkkomaki, and an intensive course on alternative methods of capturing movement on photo led by Maria Demyanova. For dancers in Moscow and St. Petersburg, a master-class was organized, led by Tatyana Baganova, a choreographer and the artistic director of the Provincial Dances contemporary dance theatre in Yekaterinburg, and a master-class led by Nichole Coleman, Marko Goecke’s assistant. The audience had the opportunity to listen to a public talk with Tatyana Baganova and director, scenographer and director of the Provincial Dances theatre Olga Pautova.
The festival’s film program featured a series of three film premieres supported by Beat Films. The key event was the Russian premiere of Alla Kovgan’s Cunningham created for the hundredth birthday of American choreographer Merce Cunningham in 3D. Steven Kantor’s Ballet Today and Louie Wallecan’s Lil’ Buck: Real Swan were also shown.