Florence Dance Festival’s Exciting 30th Edition

Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company 2

A sensory journey weaving in music, dance, theatre and art, the Florence Dance Festival celebrates its 30th anniversary this summer.  To mark this milestone beginning July 1, the five-week festival will welcome world-class dance companies from far and wide.  The program, which will follow will follow the theme ‘30 Years Florentine,’ will unfold in the Great Cloister of Santa Maria Novella, and will end August 3 with the Russian State Ballet.

What makes the 30th such a special edition? The previous year, the Florence Dance Festival launched the opening of the space it currently occupies in the Great Cloister of Santa Maria Novella and had a very successful season. In an interview with Keith Ferrone, co-artistic director of the festival, Ferrone said “the space became our home.” With the success from last year, the organizers had the opportunity to return to the space and make it bigger and better this year by seeking out impressive talents and more show stopping events.  With a large stage and over 500 raised seats, each guests gets an up close and intimate view of the stage.


The festival will kick off with a show entitled 360° by Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company 2 produced in collaboration with the Embassy of Israel in Italy and the Italy-Israel Foundation for Culture and the Arts on July 1 (9:30 pm). Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company 2 was founded in 1973 by Holocaust survivor Yehudit Arnon and is one of the most important Israeli contemporary art companies, rising to international fame with their distinctive approach to choreography, led by artistic director Rami Be’er.

Very much in keeping with its name, the staging of 360° will mirror the artistic vision of creating a total dance experience as the seating will surround the stage, the performance taking place in the centER of its audience. Rami Be’er set out to create a show interactive and all-encompassing in nature; as such 360° is full of theatrical dialogue between the unique corporal language of Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company and the audience.

The Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company 2 is part of the international project FLORENCE IsREAL, highlighting the best of Israeli dance companies including Batsheva The Young Ensemble which will present Decadance by Ohad Naharin (July 20) and Roy Assaf Dance with Boys (July 17).  This trio of Israeli dance companies is one of the main highlights of the Florence Dance Festival.

Thursday, July 4, 7:30 pm – 11 pm 

The Festival, in the collaboration with the U.S Consulate General of Florence, has organized a special evening entitled AMERICAN INDEPENdance. Acts to look forward to include FloDance2.0 at 9:45 pm, also scheduled later in the festival, and the Vocal Blue Trains music group at 8:30 pm, that will bring a unique mix of gospel, rock and funk enriched with jazz harmonies to the 4th of July celebrations. The event is free of charge for U.S. citizens visiting or living in Florence; food and beverages will be available for purchase.

Saturday, July 6, 9:30 pm

To draw the opening week of Florence Dance Festival to a close, T.H.E Dance Company (The Human Expression Dance Company) will perform ‘Invisible Habitudes,’ choreographed by founder of T.H.E Dance Company Swee Boon Kuiki. ‘Invisible Habitudes’ aims to explore the challenges the individual faces in the modern world of rapid political and social change, drowning in loud opinions shared and publicized, making finding one’s own beliefs and identity increasingly complicated.

The performance was created using T.H.E Dance Company’s ‘hollow body’ methodology, an improvisation-based approach in which the body becomes merely the hollow container that carries an individual’s world. The show lays bare the authentic experiences of each dancer as they express a fluid identity that is the product of memory, childhood, culture and ethnicity. The overarching spirit of the performance is one of inclusivity and compassion that triumph over the relentless pursuit of one’s convictions at the expense of others.  (saskia brown/additional reporting by cooper davis)