La Biennale di Venezia / The 2019 Lions for Dance – La Biennale dance 2019: 21-30 june 2019 – Direction: Marie Chouinard.

Alessandro Sciarroni Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement
Steven Michel and Théo Mercier Silver Lions

La Biennale di Venezia announces the 2019 Lions for Dance: the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement has been awarded to Alessandro Sciarroni, considered to be one of the most revolutionary choreographers on the European scene; the Silver Lion has been awarded to the pair of French artists Steven Michel and Théo Mercier. The decision was made by the Board of Directors of the Biennale di Venezia, chaired by Paolo Baratta, which approved the recommendation of the Director of the Dance Department Marie Chouinard. The awards ceremony for the Lions will take place on June 21st 2019 (at 12 noon) at Ca’ Giustinian, the headquarters of the Biennale, on the opening day of the 13th International Contemporary Dance Festival (Venice, 21 > 30 June 2019).

A performer, choreographer and director, educated in the visual arts and with several years of experience in theatre, Alessandro Sciarroni « is an Italian choreographer – states the motivation – who creates in resonance with performance art. He is the conductor of the dancers and all of those whom, trained in different disciplines, he invites to participate in his projects. He builds concentrates of life at the limits of obsession, organizing them around events chosen from our fragile and ordinary lives. He puts our everyday bodies on stage in a space that amplifies insistence to find the fault that will soften and relieve us”. As an artist, in great demand for dance and theatre festivals as well as art galleries and museums, from Europe to Hong Kong, from Abu Dhabi to Rio de Janeiro, Alessandro Sciarroni has been something of a permanent presence at the most recent Biennale Danza with his original choreographic constructions that borrow from various disciplines: in 2013 with Untitled, I will be there when you die; in 2014 with You don’t know how lucky you are, in 2015 with TURNING_Thank you for your love version; in 2017 with Chroma, Aurora and Folk-s.

Steven Michel – who studied mime, dance, percussions – and Théo Mercier – trained in the visual arts and theatre direction – have found a common ground for experimentation in the intersection between art and choreography, the result of similar construction processes, but using different instruments, on the one side the body, on the other, objects. As the motivation states « Steven Michel and Théo Mercier are two committed young artists whose career we should pay great attention to. They come from a generation of creators who love to collaborate with others and move from project to project. Both create choreographic mise-en-scènes in which they explore the material of our culture, our space and our time. The bodies become objects and the objects move towards embodied, material, violent thought. These « plastic choreographer-artists » offer us strange parties, where the truth of falsity and the falsity of truth trigger thoughtful landscapes, devoid of nature, a new, crude, enchantment ».

Steven Michel, Théo Mercier, Alessandro Sciarroni will inaugurate the 13th International Contemporary Dance Festival of the Biennale di Venezia on the evening of June 21st with their performances. Affordable Solution for Better Living, a solo piece that subtly and humorously dissects the standardization of our lifestyles, created together by Michel and Mercier and performed personally by Michel; Your Girl, the piece with which Sciarroni broke into the world of contemporary dance, and Augusto, his most recent work, in which the physical and vocal practice through which the performers are allowed to express themselves consists solely of laughing to the bitter end.

In the past, the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement in Dance has been awarded to Merce Cunningham (1995), Carolyn Carlson (2006), Pina Bausch (2007), Jirí Kylián (2008), William Forsythe (2010), Sylvie Guillem (2012), Steve Paxton (2014), Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker (2015), Maguy Marin (2016), Lucinda Childs (2017), Meg Stuart (2018).

The Silver Lion, dedicated to promising young artists in dance, or to the institutions that have distinguished themselves for cultivating new talents, has been awarded in the past to Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker’s Performing Arts Research and Training Studios (2010), to Michele Di Stefano (2014), to Dana Michel (2017), Marlene Monteiro Freitas (2018).

The 13th International Festival of Contemporary Dance, directed by Marie Chouinard, will run from 21-30 June 2019 showcasing several daily events. This year too the Biennale College – Dance has scheduled its activities: three specific projects (Dancers’ project, Choreographers’ project, and a selection of Professional Dancers) will be included in the Festival’s programme.

The Dance department is directed by Marie Chouinard (Québec City – Canada, 1955), a dancer and choreographer who uses a primitive yet highly refined glossary, and considers dance as a sacred art to practice with absolute rigour. Chouinard pursued a complex avant-garde solo career for over a decade before founding her own group, the Compagnie Marie Chouinard, in 1990.

image: Alessandro Sciarroni

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