The 16th International Festival of Contemporary Dance runs from 22 to 31 July 2022, directed by Wayne McGregor. The programme will feature daily events with soloists and international companies as well as the activities of the Biennale College Danza dedicated to specific training projects that will be included in the Festival’s programme.

Wayne McGregor CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) is a British choreographer and director whose work encompasses a variety of genres including technology, visual art, film, opera and education. His productions are featured in the repertories of companies around the world, including Paris Opéra, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, New York City Ballet, and many others.

Dance has always been the most collaborative of art forms. We work through and with other bodies, in a seamless dialogue of mind and matter. Often, we do not speak – we allow the core of us to radiate and instinctively start to move; to music, to images, to feelings, to impulse, to touch, to…..inputs that stream in from a myriad of sources and resonate inside us, inspiring us to create. Mostly, we do not remember where an idea starts, or where an idea ends. We are all continuum and exchange, morph and transformation, a borderless vessel of exploration and potential.

Our bodies too are more transmutable than ever before as we extend ourselves into virtual worlds, transform ourselves through meditation or simply teleport for a while in the metaverse – this fantastical world where everything is possible – kind of. Physical borders are eroding as quicky as geographical borders are redrawn and still the human spirit transcends itself over and again – towards a permanent state of the unfixed, the impermeable, the free.

What is it for an artist/an artwork to be boundary-less today? Is it expressed in the people we choose to collaborate with, the mediums we innovate inside, from where we work, or in the attempts to erode the categories that define us or something other? Isn’t art making, the very act of breaking boundaries, borders and barriers? Isn’t it a way of re-imagination and a new way of thinking? Art, then perhaps the liminal space of the in-between.

Biennale Danza 2022 will have 5 programme strands: Live/Installation, Biennale College, Collaboration, Film, Talks/Workshops.


The work and artists in our second year are in many ways uncategorisable – they all resist singular definition, as they transcend genre and medium in their work. Radical collaboration is key to their practice as the spaces between art forms merge, coalesce and transform into new and surprising direction. Their boundary-lessness opens new channels of art making and presents audiences with fresh challenges of perception and interpretation.

We are delighted to be commissioning and co-commissioning new work this year for the Festival including world premieres from Saburo Teshigawara Rocío Molina, Diego Tortelli, and we look forward to presenting many European and Italian premieres from iconic dance world leaders to emerging innovative new voices.

Let’s start with the Biennale Danza World Premiere Commissions:

From the ‘total theatre’ imagination of sculptor, dancer, designer and artistic visionary (our Golden Lion) Saburo Teshigawara, comes an intoxicating world premiere, re-imagining of a seminal Ballet Russes work Petroushka. Versioning this classically renowned narrative, Teshigawara searches for expression on the cusp of human agony and despair – inseparable from skin and flesh.

Morphing between the feral, the sensuous, the upright, the parallel, the violent, the tender – in an astonishing explosion of physical and creative energy – the mercurial contemporary flamenco dancer Rocío Molina (our Silver Lion) stages Carnación, a battle between her volcanic body and five ecstatic live musicians in her world premiere creation.

Diego Tortelli: winner of the Biennale Danza’s first call-out for Italian choreographic talent, impressed with a questioning vision and restless curiosity. His imaginative proposal for a brand-new work Fo:NO takes us through the body via the throat for a sonic and visceral experiment in beat boxing, intricate dance and identity politics.

It is rare to experience seven top tier – auteur – choreographers sharing one programme of trailblazing dance, but that is exactly what we have with Gauthier Dance’s new evening The Seven Sins in the theatre Malibran. Aszure Barton, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Sharon Eyal, Marco Goecke, Marcos Morau, Hofesh Shechter + Sasha Waltz collaborate, inspired by their individualistic take on a mortal sin – an evening that promises to be both transgressive and fiendish.

Marrugeku make intercultural indigenous dance theatre from the northwest Australian experience, where desert meets sea, Australia meets Asia and where cultures twine and fuse. For Biennale Danza 22, Dalisa Pigram+Rachel Swain’s hard-hitting political work Straight Talk exposes Australia’s shameful fixation with incarceration in a potent cry for change.

Rudi Cole and Julia Robert’s burgeoning company, Humanhood, are making significant waves on the international dance scene, bringing together their shamanic powers with their blurring somatic choreographic language. We are thrilled to be presenting their first full-length evening Infinite in Venice, where modern physics and Eastern mysticism fuse in the human body – part performance part meditation Infinite completely upends our understanding of the theatre going experience, where here, audiences are invited to tap into the infinity we all contain within.

Troubled but tough, unloved but unbowed, Maggie the Cat is the captivating focus of Tennessee Williams’ Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Now, Trajel Harrell the maverick contemporary artist and acclaimed choreographer places Maggie at the centre of this dazzling and provocative work of high art and pop culture. Maggie the Cat addresses power, gender, rejection and inclusion through the prism of one of modern theatre’s most celebrated characters whilst with masterly timing and aesthetic flair, Harrell delights and surprises.  

In a breath-taking collaboration between MacArthur genius choreographer Kyle Abraham, A.I.M and pioneering electronic dance music legend Jlin – Requiem: Fire in the Air of the Earth breathes startling new life into Mozart’s Requiem in D minor. Drawing from a rich variety of physical genres: classical ballet, hip-hop, modern dance, and street dance Abraham challenges Jlin to recast the iconic Mozart Requiem which she does by building her sound on a style of house dance and street dance that originated in Chicago in the 1990s. From this new dialogue a work emerges of great poignantly leading us into an exploration of grief, turbulence, and rebirth.

Image: Bianca Li – Le Bal de Paris – 26 july 2022, La Biennale

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