context 2020

The pandemic: the online premieres of Alexei Miroshnichenko's ballet Schaherezade and Pavel Glukhov and Diana Vishneva’s 2020 video-project, master-classes from the Pina Bausch Tanztheater Wuppertal, and a public talk on the prospective existence of dance in the age of the Internet. Ernest Nurgali is the competition’s winner.

The eighth Context. Diana Vishneva Festival of Contemporary Choreography took place from October 14 to November 29 in Moscow, St. Petersburg and online. 

For the first time in its history, the festival launched its own online platform ( where all the online-events of the Parallel Program, livestreams of the shows, as well as the Young Choreographers’ Competition were made available. 

The Evening for Young Choreographers featured works by the finalists of the Young Choreographers’ Competition-2020, as well as two premieres: Pilgrim, created by Kirill Radev who won the competition in 2018 (he staged remotely) and When Papa Was Little by Pavel Glukhov who was a finalist in 2016 together with the Chelyabinsk Theatre of Contemporary Dance directed by Olga Pona. Ernest Nurgali from St. Petersburg became the competition’s winner. This year was the first year to include votes from viewers who were watching the festival through the internet. Ernest Nurgali was the audience’s favorite: he received the Beyond Boundaries Award from the festival’s general partner: Gazprom. Kazan choreographer Nurbek Batulla received the audience’s choice award, presented by Intellectual Club 418, with his work sak-sok. A special prize for the dancers from Voss was presented to Nurbek Batulla and Marat Kazikhanov. 

For the first time, the festival showed performance with the Context Open program —a new initiative aimed at the broadening of contemporary dance’s boundaries in every sense of the word. Olga Labovkina’s Air was invited to perform at the festival. In its miniature form, this work won at the Young Choreographers’ Competition in 2017; in 2018, it was presented in its major form in unique spaces, such as Moscow’s Khlebozavod and St. Petersburg’s Sevkabel Port. 

Renowned dance companies and choreographers gave online master-classes as part of the festival’s Parallel Program for professional dancers and amateurs alike: Carolyn Carlson, Wang Ramirez, Dimo Milev, and the Pina Bausch Tanztheater Wuppertal. Viewers had the chance to witness a discussion with Diana Vishneva and Carolyn Carlson, a public talk with the leading Russian and French figures in theatre, a discussion with Robert Sturm, Pina Bausch’s assistant director, as well as master-classes led by director Katie Telegina on the principles of dance video. In a studio format, choreographers Denis Chernishov (Chelyabinsk Theatre of Contemporary Dance) and Olga Labovkina hosted classes in Moscow and St. Petersburg (at the Studio Context Diana Vishneva). 

One of the central events of the festival was the online-premiere of Schacherezade performed by the Perm Theatre of Opera and Ballet and staged by Alexei Miroshnichenko; the ballet starred Diana Vishneva and Marcelo Gomes. Especially for the festival, Arzamas Academy released an educational product titled How Ballet Works: Schacherezade.  

The viewers of the film program witnessed Dark City beneath the Beat, an avant-garde musical dedicated to Baltimore, which largely spawned electronic music and street dancing, Maguy Marin: Time to Act, a film on Pina Bausch, Maurice Béjart’s like-minded pupil, Mitten—on repetitions of Mitten wir im Leben sind conducted by Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker and her dance troupe Rosas. The film program was prepared together with the Beat Films’ team.