The 2021 Florence Dance Festival, Act 1

Dancers from the Kaos Ballet Company who will be performing at the festival

Taking center stage this summer, the 2021 Florence Dance Performing Arts Festival offers an artistically diverse program. This year’s theme “Future Perfect Squared – la potenza in atto” aims to spotlight young and upcoming dance artists and choreographers. Staged at the Chiostro Grande of Santa Maria Novella, the event will host more than 20 performances of dance and music through July. 

Despite COVID-19 presenting many challenges to the dance world, the founders of the festival were adamant about hosting the annual event.  Florence Dance Festival co-founder Keith Ferrone said, “It’s part of our mission to keep the Italian dance scene alive and on stage.”

Adapting to COVID-19 safety protocols, the festival will offer a month of dance and music. The event will utilize the momentum from the pandemic to showcase the future of dance.

“One thing that is really magical about this festival is that there is an extra energy coming from the pandemic. And it’s vital. It’s important,” Ferrone said.

The 2021 theme “Future Perfect Squared – la potenza in atto” is a sequel to last year’s “Future Perfect – la potenza in atto.” The 2020 festival, which was moved from July to September, focused on the future through hosting primarily upcoming artists. This focus will continue at this year’s festival where several evenings will feature dance artists, performers and choreographers that have never before taken the Florence Dance Festival stage.  The shows include both Italian and international companies. 

“It’s going to be a wonderful time to be able to mix socially and culturally and artistically,” Ferrone said.

July 7 to July 14: Twilight in the Round

The international dance section of the festival will commence with five events titled “Twilight in the Round,” showcasing dancers from 50 emerging international companies. 

“This is one of the parts of the festival that we’re really proud and very happy about,” Ferrone said. “It’s going to be, without a doubt, a moment to surprise the audience.”

Out of more than 130 applicants, the Florence Dance Festival selected 50 from Europe, the Middle East, UK and America to perform Wednesday, July 7, to Wednesday, July 14. The first four performances – July 7, 9, 11 and 13 – will be held at twilight (8 pm). The final performance is scheduled in the moonlight on July 14 at 9:30 pm. Every night, the audience will sit 360° around the stage, or in the round.

Due to high interest, the Florence Dance Festival will also offer a digital platform, via their website, for those companies who are interested and/or were not chosen to headline at the festival. The platform will be made available to the public upon completion of the festival.

July 16: KAOS Balletto di Firenze

The dancers of KAOS Balletto di Firenze will interpret “The Divine Comedy” (“La Divina Commedia”) Saturday, July 16 at 8:30 pm. Choreographed by Francesco Mangiapane, Kristian Cellini and Roberto Sartori, the performance celebrates Dante. The show, accompanied by Stefano Simmaco’s original music, is inspired by Dante’s Hell (l’Inferno), Purgatory (il Purgatorio) and Paradise (il Paradiso).

July 17: Acra Azzurra

This year’s Dante celebrations are once more in spotlight on Sunday, July 17 with “Dante’s Crossings – Poetic Atlas of Tuscany” (Attraversamenti danteschi – Atlante poetico della Toscana) by Acra Azzurra, accompanied by Alessandra Bedino and Serena Meloni. 

The festival will continue with the best national Tuscan and Florentine companies from Monday, July 19 to Thursday, July 29. These companies as well as the international groups collectively offer Florence a splendid glimpse into the beauty of the performing arts. The blend of music, dance and emotion creates a magical experience for all those in attendance. 

Ferrone shares his thoughts on appeal of these events:

“It’s a little daily miracle … When you see a wonderful performance, the day after you wake up and something has changed … Your thoughts have been cleared … Your heart has been full of joy. Your whole being has felt the images and the music and the live aspect.”

The rest of the 2021 Florence Dance Festival program will take place during the second half of July. For more information and tickets, which must be reserved online, visit the website. (rachel pellegrino)