‘Since I founded it, the contemporary choreography festival CONTEXT has been running for six years. In November, Russian audience expects the second part of the CONTEXT festival with the performances of major Israeli dance company Batsheva and the meeting with maestro Ohad Naharin, meanwhile, I would like to step back and consider our achievements.
The sixth CONTEXT is illustrating the festival’s progress, audience’s fondness, and most important the speed of the Russian contemporary dance elaboration. I consider a particular advance the level reached by our young choreographers’ competition Context Lab. It is the main force to join the choreographers throughout the country.
Steadily evolving, looking back at our activities, and trying a new approach to choose the participants and the program, the Competition embodied the past five-year experience. CONTEXT Lab 2018 introduced strong finalists presenting the dynamic theatrical programs.
In disregard of the Lab’s framework, allowing the young choreographers not only experiment but also dramatically change their style, each contribution this year has been an accomplished conceptual work of choreography performed by selected dancers. These works translated the high level of comprehension of the contemporary dance.
Over the life of the competition, many outstanding foreign choreographers were in the jury. Hans van Manen, Mats Ek, and Edward Clug were among them. It was for them to choose the winner. I appreciate this dialog of the ages when choreographers with extensive experience, who changed the very concept of the dance in their times, conduct and guide choreographers of the future.
Amid the onward movement, the results of the CONTEXT of the past years, and contemporary dance current state, I still rarely meet constructive criticism or careful analysis of the young choreographers’ work. Professional judgment and insightful comments, a perception of phenomena, and evaluation of further evolution are rare when it comes to contemporary choreography.
Recently, among amateur and quite experienced spectators’ views, one might found very promising contemplations. This is more frequently the case than reading a detailed expert review written by professional critic of our age. Surprising, the same trend I observe across the Western world. This trend worries me. At the same time, I am pleased to know that it shows how spectators’ views progressed.
We are experiencing a critical transition period of Russian contemporary choreography passing from emergence to establishment. Young, inexperienced choreographers become acknowledged professionals before our very eyes. It is a long process as not half of all turns out right at once. Still, the fact that the foreign audience became more interested in Russian contemporary dance speaks volumes.
I am delighted that CONTEXT festival facilitates this consistent development and we witness the benefits of our efforts. It means we are on the right track’.