Week 3 of the Florence Dance Festival: Choreography & Young Talent

Florence Dance Festival
Bathsheva the Young Ensemble

Monday, July 15, 9.30 pm 

To open its third week, the Florence Dance Festival will host an evening entitled ‘Spotlight on Choreography’ that will showcase the unique choreographic visions of three world-renowned dancers. The first of the trio is Italo-Finnish dancer and choreographer Irina Baldini who will perform ‘7 ways to begin without knowing where to start,’ a show presented at the Biennale Danza di Venezia 2017 and 2018. 

The piece explores of the possible ways of being present, encouraging the audience to reflect on their own habits and frame of mind in order to consider how to live in a way that is as true to one’s essence as possible. The soundtrack is made up of layered voices that become blurred and not entirely clear, guiding the viewer’s journey of reflection while leaving ample room for personal interpretation. 

The following performance, ‘Preghiera,’ has been conceived by Italian choreographer Arianna Benedetti. The show tells the story of a moment of union, coming together in the act of prayer that is expressed through the medium of dance. The performance takes the audience through various phases of emotion and reflection, from nostalgia, to parting, to derision that morphs into wonder and finally the resolution of balance and serenity. The choreography seamlessly incorporates various expressions of dance, such as modern, urban and contemporary that harmoniously complement the instrumental musical accompaniment by Massimo Buffetti.

‘Sipario’ is the final show, presented by Mystes Dance Company and choreographed by its founder, Gigi Nieddu. The performance poses various questions about the creative process – such as what happens in the artist’s mind before, during and especially after the completion of their work of art. The choreography seeks to find and communicate the answers to these musings through contemporary urban dance and the accompaniment of experimental electronic music. 

Full admission to see these three shows is 20€. A reduced ticket for over 65’s, students under 26, members of Unicoop Florence and dance students is 15€. Admission for children between 6 – 13 is 10€ and children under 6 are granted free entry. 

Wednesday, July 17, 9.30 pm

In collaboration with the Embassy of Israel in Italy and the Italy-Israel Foundation for Culture and the Arts, Roy Assaf Dance presents ‘BOYS,’ choreographed by Roy Assaf himself. The five dancers, including Assaf, untangle and seek to present a definition of the prototypical masculine identity through the juxtaposition of moments of tension and humour. The thought-provoking performance exposes the vicious cycle of masculinity as a self-perpetuated and continuously perpetuating construct, urging both male and female audiences to consider their own notions of virility and traditional masculinity. 

Full admission to see these three shows is 30€. A reduced ticket for over 65’s, students under 26, members of Unicoop Florence and dance students is 20€. Admission for children between 6 – 13 is 15€ and children under 6 are granted free entry. 

Friday, July 19, 7 pm 

Continuing with the showcasing of Israeli talent, Florence Dance Festival has organised a film screening of ‘Mr. Gaga,’ directed by Tomer Heymann. The movie delves into the life and art of Ohad Naharin, taking the viewer on Naharin’s unlikely journey from a small kibbutz in northern Israel to stardom and international acclaim. Throughout his accomplished career as a dancer, Naharin has performed alongside some of the biggest names in contemporary dance, such as Martha Graham and Maurice Béjart and is now considered one of the most influential and innovative choreographers in the world.

He has also transformed the landscape of modern choreography with his revolutionary language of movement ‘Gaga’ that he honed during his time as artistic director for the world-famous Batsheva Dance Company. Gaga, also known as ‘The Naharin Method,’ chooses to be a ‘language’ as opposed to ‘technique’ as it is shaped by the somatic experiences that each individual dancer pours into improvised and unconventional movements. The screening has free entry and will take place the night before Batsheva Dance Company are scheduled to perform a choreography by Ohad Naharin as part of the festival.

Saturday, July 20, 9.30 pm 

Batsheva Dance Company joins the Florence Dance Festival to present ‘Decadance,’ performed by Batsheva The Young Ensemble, a group that serves to nurture, train and mentor young talent. The dynamic and visceral performance has the dancers colliding with one another, crumbling abruptly to the floor and bending backwards, morphing their bodies into unexpected yet poetic contortions. 

The show is full of twists and turns, hard to pin down. The choreography will move from cacophonous convulsions to highly precise group formations to unsettlingly still, silent sections interspersed throughout. The mask of solemnity is suddenly cast aside as members of the audience are plucked to join the dancers on stage for a steamy slow dance to Dean Martin’s ‘Sway,’ an incongruous but somehow sensical musical and choreographic choice that stands in contrast with the chants of traditional Israeli song that comes but minutes before.

Full admission is 50€, a reduced ticket is 40€ for over 65’s, students under 26, members of Unicoop Florence and dance students. For children between 6 and 13, admission is 30€. 

Sunday, July 21, 9.30 pm

To draw week 3 of Florence Dance Festival to a close, ToscanaDance HUB returns in its ninth instalment with guest choreographers Roy Assaf, whose dance company will have performed earlier in the week, and Sadé Alleyne, London choreographer who will perform with her sister on July 12. ToscanaDance HUB serves as a space that unites the new generation of dance for a three-week program of intense and rigorous training to put together a show of the highest quality during the festival. New York’s prestigious Second Avenue Dance Company and FlorenceDance Center collaborate on the project every year to create an environment of intercultural exchange that promotes creative growth, research and self-discovery in the dancers of tomorrow. 

Full admission is 20€, a reduced ticket is 15€ for over 65’s, students under 26, members of Unicoop Florence and dance students. For children between 6 and 13, admission is 10€. (saskia brown)