Performing Gender: Fruitful training weeks Ljubljana and Bologna: next stop Leeds!
Performing Gender diving into practice at festivals City of Women and Gender Bender
The first steps are taken in the making of performative work for the European Performing Gender project, in which Theaterfestival Boulevard participates. The five dance makers of the programme already had two intense training weeks, with theoretical lectures, encounters with ‘life experts’, meetings with local projects and organizations, and workshops.
This month Cassero LGBT Center welcomed the five dance makers of the Performing Gender programme during the final days of the 15th edition of Gender Bender Festival, and guided them through an intense training week. This Bologna training week, from 4-12 November, followed the Lubjana’s one that took place from 6 to 14 October.
The journey of Roberta, Nataša, Jija, Koldo and Sophie started Ljubljana’s International festival of contemporary arts – City of Women Festival. The group of five dance makers has had the opportunity to get to know each other, work together and start building their performance sketches. The week combined a range of activities, such as practical and theoretical workshops, debates and meetings, encounters with specialists and other artists, as well as intensive dialogue between the five dance makers and the local dramaturg, Tea Hvala. Thematically, the focus was on different yet intertwined aspects of reproductive freedom.
This shared training continued in Bologna, where they continued to explore and deepen Performing Gender - Dance Makes Differences themes. The programme of the Italian training was very articulated, providing physical training, activities with guest artists, and meetings with ‘life experts’.
For example, Felix Ruckert did hold a workshop on bisexuality. Another group of artists involved in the project, Dynamis Teatro, did bring a performance which let the participants feel the discomfort in the confrontation with 'the other', in the fibers of their body. There was a strong connection with the first edition of Performing Gender (2013), thanks to the workshop of Giorgia Nardin, dedicated to the celebration of queer, femme, trans, ethnically ambiguous, resilient and militant bodies.
The Italian dramaturg Greta Pieropan joined the training activities for the last days in order to meet the dance makers, record some dialogues with them, and facilitate the development of 5 sketches. The week provided the dance makers with an abundance of raw material to implement their performative sketches, which were publicly presented on the last day of the training.
The next, third, training week will take place in Leeds, UK from 25 May - 2 June 6 2018. During those days, organized by Yorkshire Dance, Bend It takes place, a performing event which combines local, national and international work around the themes of gender identity in performance. The training will involve local projects and organizations. The local dramaturg Tanya Steinhauser will join the training activities for the last days. Theaterfestival Boulevard will host the last training week in ‘s-Hertogenbosch during its 2018 edition from 2-12 August.
Performing Gender matches an international ambition of Boulevard, that it has been developing throughout different aspects of the program since December 2014. This Boulevard’s first European collaborative training project. To the festival, this European collaboration is key. The project offers a chance to further develop the festival’s relation to the theme, to broach the subject to the audience, to exchange issues and differences related to gender with partners and to encounter dance makers and dramaturgs from the partnering countries.
About Performing Gender – Dance Makes Differences
Performing Gender – Dance Makes Differences exists thanks to 6 partners in 5 European countries: Gender Bender Festival (Bologna, Italy), CSC – Center for Contemporary Scene (Bassano del Grappa, Italy), City of Women (Ljubljana, Slovenia), Theaterfestival Boulevard (‘s-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands), Paso a 2 – Certamen Coreogràfico de Madrid (Madrid, Spain), Yorkshire Dance (Leeds, UK).
Performing Gender literally offers a platform for alternative images in relation to sex and differences in sexual orientation. Choreographers from the partner countries do research for two years and present the outcomes of their research first during Theaterfestival Boulevard 2018. During Tilburg Dansmaand (Month of Dance) they will work with 10 young Dutch dancers. The outcome of this trainings week will be presented in Tilburg in October.