Luna Cenere @ Hong Kong Art Festival, Hong Kong

Luna Cenere was a guest of the Hong Kong Art Festival for two weeks in December 2019 inside the Cattle Depot Lab, a residence and training space.
The artist has developed a programme of practical exchanges with local artists, aimed at sharing her artistic methodologies and poetics and confronting the sensitivity of the audience and participants. The journey was shared with Ilenia Romano, who was also a guest on the same dates and with the same activity proposal.

Ilenia and I worked together the first two days, dividing the working hours but both following the work of the other. We had never met and we took advantage of this time not only to get to know the local artists, but also to get to know each other, since we live in the same country but never had the opportunity to work together. Establishing this climate of sharing at 360 degrees was very important for me and I kept keeping it alive even when the two paths their own independent way.

Right now, the young people of Hong Kong are going through a particular personal and intellectual phase and I imagine that young artists are even more involved than others in the critical observation of what is happening. There is a fundamental coherence in the way they deal with social life and artistic research and this emerged in our conversations. I discovered their restless disposition, the desire to question themselves equally, to emerge and to be an active part of a change. They told me about the previous months, about their life in the city, we compared our generations. This was a fundamental point. We started feeling closer as a generation.

The audience was very involved and attentive. Many questions and reflections emerged. This was a more than positive sign for me because there was a lot of activity and critical participation in that room. I was very happy and satisfied with the sharing and the work that the participants did throughout the period. Some of them had managed to get in perfect harmony with the research and my desire today is to be able to undertake a research process with two artists in particular. I would like to be able to return to them the care and generosity with which I was welcomed in their reality by welcoming them back to Italy. I hope this will be possible.

Anna Formilan and Lanfranco Cis @ YAP, China

Young Artists Platorm (YAP) is a platform dedicated to exchanges and collaborations for young independent Chinese artists, with the aim of creating non-profit artistic creations in various fields of contemporary art including performing arts and literature. Thanks to the results achieved in the dance field, in the last 3 years the platform has received the three-year support of the Chinese National Endowment for the Arts, Chinese Literature and Arts Foundation, and has contributed to the organization of the two most influential events in the field of Chinese dance: the Young Dancers Development Plan of Beijing and the China Contemporary Dance Biennale of Shanghai.
Thanks to the collaboration with SETA, an organization founded and directed by Fabrizio Massini to facilitate exchanges between China and Europe through curatorship and dedicated project design, an Italian delegation made up of Lanfranco Cis (Oriente Occidente) and Anna Formilan (under35 professional) made a trip in Beijing to meet the platform managers and representatives of the Italian Cultural Institute to discuss and sign a protocol for the creation of an Italian showcase at YAP 2020.
Anna Formilan took part in the preparatory stages of the trip alongside the staff of Oriente Occidente and then took an active role in the trip.

Isabella Giustina @ M1Contact Festival, Singapore

Isabella Giustina was hosted for a month at T.H.E Dance Company in Singapore, between May and June 2019.
During her stay, Isabella worked with T.H.E Second Company creating for them an original choreography, Hanging in the balance , which debuted at the M1 Contact Contemporary Dance Festival in Singapore, within the Co .Lab.Asian, a section where international artists are invited to work together with young local professionals.
Isabella also held some workshops during the same event.
While Isabella was working in Singapore, T.H.E toured in Italy at Inteatro Festival, Cross Festival and Fabbrica Europa with Invisible Habitudes ; the artistic director Swee Boon Kuik participated in all the events and had the opportunity to meet in person the other “Crossing the sea” selected artists and the local professionals.

I’m coming to the end of this wonderful and unforgettable experience in Singapore, 35 days rich, intense, full of emotions.
It’s a huge emotion for me to have created my first choreographic work for a group here in Singapore! A perfect atmosphere to give life to Hanging in the Balance, a show that goes in search of the truest and deepest strength that lies behind the fragility of man.
Great organization from all points of view: perfect rehearsal plan, periodic meetings with the lighting designer, help to procure all the costumes, video shooting during rehearsals to document the work, interviews, great marketing work, timely detailed schedule of rehearsals in the theater… A big thank you goes to Silvia Yong and Kuik Swee Boon, with whom I could with great pleasure share deep reflections on the show, and to the dancers, great workers full of energy and passion, as well as being wonderful guys.

Hanging in the balance – Backstage
Hanging in the balance – Full show

Domenico Garofalo @ CCDC, China

Domenico Garofalo was hosted by the CCDC Festival as an under35 professional, accompanied by Angela Fumarola, artistic director of Armunia, and Maurizia Settembri, artistic director of Fabbrica Europa.
City Contemporary Dance Company is a contemporary dance company and organizer of the homonymous festival based in Hong Kong and widespread activities in mainland China. In addition to its production activity, CCDC organizes the China Dance Development Programme, dedicated to supporting contemporary languages ​​and national and international exchange. The projects carried out range from the promotion of Asian performing arts in network with other subjects and countries (such as the HotPot Dance platform, with SIDance and Yokohama Dance Platform) to a widespread work on the territory with artists and local audiences (China Dance Stations).
Thanks to the presence at the Festival, Domenico Garofalo was able to participate in artistic programme and networking with various international organizations, as well as deepen the knowledge of local art scene. Previously, Domenico Garofalo was a guest of Oriente Occidente during the programming of the “Silk Roads” project.

The period of the festival coincided with the numerous clashes and protests carried out in the city between November and December. (…) The young artists I met on that occasion gave me an important and unique insight of the story that surrounded me and much has been said about how and how much these protests and the consequent reaction from the government were influencing and polarizing the artistic vision and policies of many young artists and performers from Hong Kong and beyond. These meetings were undoubtedly interesting and stimulating also in observing how contingent situations influence the research and languages of a generation of young artists.

The organization had a precise and well-marked programme, between the performances on stage at the festival and the presentations of works in progress by young choreographers. The studies presented, despite their heterogeneity, in many cases responded to an evident urgency of research and expression which in some cases reached interesting peaks. Obviously, an important part was the confrontation with the Italian and international guests which allowed me to meet new professionals and strengthen the relationship with others that I had already met. In some cases, the foundations have been laid for projects that could go on in the future.

Vittoria Lombardi and Cristina Carlini @ SiDance / PAMS, Republic of Korea

Vittoria Lombardi was a guest of SiDance 2019 as under35 professional, tutored by Cristina Carlini, project manager of Crossing the sea for the leader partner Marche Teatro. Vittoria Lombardi, thanks to SiDance, has joined the official delegation of PAMS – Performing Arts Market Seoul, taking part in the market and networking event dedicated to the Korean and Asian area that in October 2019 has gathered over 400 operators and artists worldwide. Vittoria Lombardi followed the artistic programme of the two events, also taking part in the networking moments, and was able to get in touch with different realities and international organizations. Previously, Vittoria Lombardi was a guest of Cross Festival 2019, in Italy, during the days of greatest presence of foreign artists and professionals.

The producer takes on a much more defined role in Korea, with the primary responsibility of “public face and voice” of the company and the artist. Not only during the speeches, but also in the networking occasions with the operators. An almost exclusive positioning that demarcates a clearer division between the competences that participate in the development of a creative process, and by difference, underlines the fluidity which instead distinguishes the Italian context in defining roles and tasks of the analogous professional figure of the “operator”. A theme on which cultural professionals particularly debate.

To be underlined, the different use of the word “market” to define the networking context of the four days of Pams – unlike similar European contexts – and the pleasant organization of a real “fair” environment through the setting up of stands with a strong investment in promotional and graphic material to facilitate the marketing and promotion of companies with foreign programmers.

As a freelance producer and curator in the field of performing arts and as cultural project designer, I walk in the land of confines where artistic languages and socio-political research meet and feed each other in a virtuous system of exchanges and revelations. The international dimension is, within my professional path, an essential prerequisite for promoting and cultivating good practices and for identifying sustainable curatorial production methods and approaches, according to a cross-cultural and transnational perspective that can feed on the differences and comparison between cultural contexts and different social networks.

Andrea Costanzo Martini @ SiDance, Republic of Korea

Andrea Costanzo Martini was hosted for two weeks, between September and October 2019, by two different Korean organizations thanks to the collaboration with the partner SiDance: the Busan Dance Center and the SiDance Festival itself. The choreographer had space and time to develop and work on his new artistic research, with the support of the two artistic directors of the structures. He also held workshops in both centers, activities which allowed him to come into direct contact with local artists. In parallel, Andrea Costanzo Martini was invited to present one of his shows during the SiDance Festival.

It was a difficult exchange partly because of the obvious language barrier, but also because of a cultural misunderstanding that made clear the huge gap between my expectations as a choreographer and the ones of the dancers. Especially the concept of interpretation of the choreographic material was very different. While I proposed a rather elastic approach to the representation of the sequences, the dancers instead tried to execute in identical way, even in the smallest details, the steps and gestures I proposed. (…) That said, it was a very fun exchange in which we also realized how irony is experienced in a completely different way from place to place. When I asked them not to take themselves seriously, the result was always something outside my expectations, sometimes in a hilarious way, even if in a different way.

In the following days I met the manager of the Seoul Dance Center who took us on a visit to the Hongik University area, the birthplace of the famous K-Pop (Korean Pop). In this neighborhood groups of more or less professional dancers compete publicly in dance competitions (groups or singles), where the absurd is the rule. I found this antithetical position, with respect to the scene previously encountered in Busan, very fascinating. I am sure that if I had stayed longer I would have discovered countless other aspects of Korean dance.

This exchange has had a strong impact. Not perhaps directly as far as dance itself is concerned, but for an encounter with an incredibly rich and different culture. Having to deal with situations that are sometimes not easy, the limits of communication and the evident mismatch created by this cultural divide pushed me to a moment of deep introspection that I still feel the benefits of. South Korea is a unique, varied, rich and ever-changing human landscape. I am sure that the collaboration (especially thanks to the meeting with Sophie from the Busan Dance Center) will continue in the future.

Sotterraneo @ Shangai Dramatic Arts Center, China

Sotterraneo was hosted, in September 2019, by ACT Festival, organized by Shangai Dramatic Arts Center.
Thanks to the synergy activated with the director, Sotterraneo was able to take advantage of a research residence for the original project presented at Crossing the sea, entitled “The Angel of history”, which envisages various stages of creation and site-specific research, as well as presenting its own show during the Festival, programming their “Overload” for the first time in China. During his stay at the Festival, Sotterraneo was able to attend the programming and get in touch with Asian artists and operators.

We immersed ourselves in a deeply diversified context with respect to the concept of “residence” we are used to, with a sort of crowding-out that brought us into close contact (even physically, given the coexistence inside the space) with the working reality of the SDAC. Being a very early design phase, and therefore mainly theoretical and study work, the “cohabitation” was absolutely peaceful and fertile, allowing us to develop dialogues with Ophelia – often prolonged for dinner – with respect to the Angel of history and its future possibilities.

The conversations with Ophelia helped us to clarify the context in which the works presented at the Festival were inserted, also with respect to Chinese production methods, circulation, and their funding system, thus inserting the simple vision of shows in a wider context than again highlighted differences and assonances.

Replicas of the show were both a success, in front of a full and attentive room that showed that it was almost not at all confused by scenic mechanisms and references of which we feared the excessive hook with the so-called “western” culture: the meeting with the public after the first reply, and the meeting with some spectators in the following days, they showed a lively and punctual interest in the work, highlighting peculiar points of view able to move thoughts and reflections useful to our poetry. < / em>

Tecnologia Filosofica @ Shangai International Dance Center, China

Francesca Cinalli and Paolo De Santis were hosted by Shangai International Dance Center (China) for two weeks in August 2019, taking part in two different events: Youth Dance Festival and Competition and China Dance Biennale.
The Youth Dance Festival and Competition is a dance competition for dance groups and schools from Shanghai and neighboring areas, such as Taipei and Macao, for very young people aged 7 to 15 years. Francesca and Paolo They were judges of the Competition, taking part in over 70 shows, together with local and international guests; they then selected 24 youngsters for a workshop, experimenting with this particular target their artistic research on water, with a final presentation to the public under the title “Water-drops”. The presentation was a great success and was therefore presented exceptionally also during the Biennale.
During the Dance Biennale, they held a new workshop, this time for professional dancers, which allowed them to get in touch with the artistic reality of Shanghai and China. They were also guests of the Biennale events and got to know operators and artists, making new relationships.

During the two days of Competition, we had an idea of ​​the training model and of the strict discipline adopted by dance schools in China: from the pieces presented, a strong basic technique emerged for every dancer-dancer student to a robust gymnastic-athletic preparation and a very strong bond with the roots expressed above all in the pieces of traditional Chinese dance presented with great pride and a sense of belonging to the People’s Republic of China. In some pieces we have also observed the look projected towards the commercial West, with a strong television influence.

The meeting that fascinated us most was the one with traditional Chinese dance: the codes of classical dance, martial art and virtuous gesture blend in it. While working at the Training Camp, we tried to mix their reference codes within a simple choreographic script that was rich in detail in relation to the music, sounds and voices of children.

We had the pleasure of meeting many international programmers (Germany, France, England, Bulgaria, Portugal, China, Japan) and listening to their thoughts in special discussion panels on the state of contemporary dance in China and what is meant by contemporary. The artistic director Sabrina Chen Li seemed very open to the possibility of exchanges with European partners able to develop in the practice of the body the languages ​​of contemporaneity also in China.

Camilla Rizzi and Gerarda Ventura @ LDTX Festival, China

Camilla Rizzi was a guest of the Beijing Dance Festival in Hong Kong (China), as young professional/curator, in July 2019, together with Gerarda Ventura, artistic director of Anghiari Dance Hub.
Camilla was able to take part in the Festival, meet with Asian and international professionals and explore aspects related to the audience, the type of programming proposed and the management model used by the Festival.
Camilla was previously hosted in Italy at Interplay Festival, in May 2019, during the weekend dedicated to Asian shows and meetings with foreign professionals.

The passion and dedication that all the festival staff revealed in creating this great event are certainly positive and admirable: the artistic director of the festival, Willy Tsao, presented every single performance and held all the meetings, acknowledging a very broad knowledge of the Chinese dance scene. His words and way of doing leaked love towards his work and towards art.
Moreover, everyone, from volunteers to management and production managers, has proved to be very helpful and attentive to the needs of operators, artists and audience, as well as being always present and participating in the activities. Details that make the difference.
The Chinese choreographers, to the question “What is your relationship with dramaturgy?” responded by referring to the drama, to the emotional part of the performances, demonstrating that probably the word dramaturgy has not yet become part of their dance vocabulary.
But we must not think that this implies that Chinese dance is “worse” than the European one: surely our continent has a history of important dance that has laid the foundations for what is the current landscape; however China, that up to thirty years ago would never have been able to stage the shows presented today at the festival, is very quickly recovering the “lost time” with great care and devotion.
I wouldn’t be surprised if in a decade the Chinese festivals became the focal point of international contemporary dance, also due to the large number of structures available to them.

Salvo Lombardo @ Attakkalari Dance Center, India

Salvo Lombardo was hosted at Attakkalari Center for Movement Arts, in Bangalore (India), during the Biennale Interim Festival in February 2019.
Salvo has conducted some laboratories with local artists and one artistic residency, again with Indian dancers, assisted by Daria Greco.
During his stay in India, Salvo also presented his previous show Outdoor dance floor, again with the participation of Daria Greco.
Salvo previous works were hosted at Inteatro Festival and Armunia during summer 2019 at the presence of Italian and international partners and programmers.

I focused my choreographic research on Cricket and on the cultural reference codes (this being the national sport but of British derivation). This gave me the opportunity, really interesting for me, to create a conjunction between two of my ongoing processes of artistic research: an exploration of kinetic and gestural memories linked to sport and at the same time my interest in a post-colonial reading of the iconography of bodies in the contemporary world. I would very much like to be able to continue the research with the artists I met in India, Anindita and Prashant, with other periods of work in Italy.