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Culture news, 09.07.2004 12:46

Dance Festival ends in Gala Show

dance_festival During the ten festival days dance companies, theaters and choreographers from the U.S., U.K., Sweden, Switzerland, France, the Netherlands and Spain, along with their Russian counterparts have been demonstrating the latest trends and discovering new names in modern dance, jazz dance and contact improvisation, giving an insight into contemporary choreography to the St. Petersburg audience.

This year's event is the sixth annual summer festival, organized by the Kannon Dance company and school, with the support of U.S. General Consulate, General Consulate of Sweden in St. Petersburg, the British Council, and several other public and private funds and cultural organizations.

Vadim Kasparov, the festival's director, said at a press-conference last Wednesday, that the main task of the "Open Look" is to integrate different cultural directions in contemporary dance, to develop dance and make it popular as part of contemporary culture while developing it as a universal language.

Contemporary dance has been less popular than other forms of modern art in Russia because of the dominance of classical ballet, especially in St. Petersburg, the home town of Russia's leading ballet theatres and companies. Still, it is contemporary dance that appears to be closer in an immediate and direct way to the modern viewer in terms of addressing, involving, interacting and educating the audience. For example, one of the projects in the festival is Risa Jaroslow & Dancers, who in cooperation with Kannon Dance showed the performance "Becoming Whole". Risa Jaroslow's performances employ older people and people with disabilities. Risa Jaroslow says that working with handicapped people was her choice, and that this festival's performance also "explores the questions: what makes you an individual or what makes a community feel as a whole?"

On July 2 there was the chance to catch one of the festival's finest performances, "The Rite of Spring" by chamber ballet "Moskva"directed by a French director Regis Obadia, winner of Russia's top theatrical award, the Golden Mask, in 2004. On July 4 a joint Russian-Swedish project "Adam and Adam" presented their version of relationships of two men, seen through the eyes and bodies of modern people failing to communicate with each other.

On Friday the festival showing will include two performances - one by a Swiss theatre and dance company Drift and another one by an American project, Bill Young&Dancers. Saturday will see a gala performance with most of the festival projects taking part in new joint programs.

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