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Wednesday, 6 November will see the start of the 17th International Dance Theatres Festival in Lublin. For the first time, in the lead-up to the event, Polish dance artists from across the country have been presenting their work throughout the year in Lublin. Based on the assumption that there exists a need to broaden the formula of the Lublin festival with such year-round activities, the organizers decided to further reinforce the regular showcase of performances by Polish dance theatres with an essential educational element, that is workshops lead by invited theatres. This is one of the most significant need of contemporary Polish artists and it is crucial to meet this demand, for instance with events such as the International Dance Theatres Festival in Lublin.

The November event is the climax of the year-long showcase and marks the long-awaited return to the impressively modernized headquarters of the Centre of Culture in Lublin, which has been the heart of the festival from its very beginning. . The complex creates completely new possibilities for organization and promotion of dance and the festival’s events will take over almost all available spaces inside the building and around it. Virtually every venue in the new centre will host artistic and educational activities: performances, performative actions, film screenings, workshops, lectures, meetings with artists. This “total seizure of space” perfectly harmonizes with the main message carried by contemporary dance – art without limits, pushing mental, geographical and cultural borders.

For the first time, in the lead-up to the event, Polish dance artists from across the country have been presenting their work throughout the year in Lublin. For the November climax, the showcase is finally returning to the newly renovated, impressive headquarters of Lublin’s Centre of Culture, which present completely new possibilities for organisers and promoters of dance. The festival’s events are to take over most of the building’s spaces and the area outside of it, offering artistic and educational activities such performances, performantive actions, film screenings, workshops, lectures, or meetings with artists. This “total seizure of space” is perfectly in line with the idea of contemporary dance: art without limits, pushing mental, geographical and cultural borders.

On the other hand, the return to a building with a long and rich history after it has been subjected to total modernization, in a natural way implies universal questions about the “Old” and the “New” in art. Therefore, we are asking: What are the relations between tradition and modernity in dance? What is avant-garde and what is classic; when will today’s avant-garde achieve the status of classics? How do new technologies relate to the “classical” performative body? What is the attitude of today’s dance artists to the achievements and ideas of previous generations?

In response to these and other, similar questions the festival will present the work of great artists who will help us realize the rich variety of forms and means used in dance over the years, depending on the imagination and creative potential of a given artist. Hence, we will see the works of choreographers who use ultra-modern technologies to support dancers (Klaus Obermaier, Marco Cantalupo and Katarzyna Gdaniec); artists who use a thoroughly modern language of dance while respecting at the same time classical aesthetics or principles of performance, constantly searching for new inspirations within them (Jean Claude Gallotta, Jacek Przybyłowkicz, Kielce Dance Theatre and Angelin Preljocaj); creators possessing extensive artistic and pedagogical experience but are still seeking contact with the young generation, hoping to awaken in them the great joy of dancing, both on stage and in various, sometimes completely unusual places and circumstances (Jacek Łumiński, Witold Jurewicz, Iwona Olszowska). Thus constructed, the festival cannot do without the presence of representatives of Aerowaves, a platform of new European dance, choreography and works that often escape unambiguous classification, yet always leave the viewer impressed by the imagination and intelligence of artists being part of this platform, such as Alessandro Sciarroni, Clément Layes and Alexander Andriyashkin.

Along with them we will see two young Polish artist, Aleksandra Borys and Marta Ziółek, who will explore works of outstanding veterans of new dance in the USA, Anna Halprin and Carolee Schneemann, as a part of the Re//mix series.

American dance avant-garde associated with Judson Church and the Judson Dance Theatre has greatly inspired artists of every generation and on every latitude. During the 17th edition of the International Dance Theatres Festival we could not have ignored this heritage – this is why we will present a screening of films about the work of Steve Paxton, Yvonne Rainer, Nancy Stark Smith and Lisa Nelson, as well as performative actions based on improvisation and contact improvisation prepared especially for the Lublin festival by artists such as Kathryn Schetlick, Zena Bibler, Iwona Olszowska, Jacek Owczarek, SzaZa, Justyna Jasłowska, Ludomir Franczak, Robert Curgenven, Anna Haracz, Witold Jurewicz and dancers of Pracownia Fizyczna.

Apart from that, as always, we invite everybody to meetings with artists and night-time conversations about dance (hosted by Anna Królica), promotions of latest publications on the art of dance and, as an inseparable element of every edition of the festival, contemporary dance workshops, this year expanded to include classes on improvisation held in urban spaces.


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