Dance Without Borders: Celebrating the 21st Edition of Europe’s Best Dance Festival

Under the slogan IMPECABLE DIFFERENCES, one of the most important European dance festivals announces its 21st edition. From March 7th to April 10th, 2024, a total of 19 companies from 14 countries, with over 30 choreographic productions, will be presented in Belgrade and Novi Sad. In honor of dance, top artists and great companies will gather and open important topics that analyze current events and society, create moments that trigger the most beautiful emotions.

Thanks to this Festival, Belgrade has become an important spot in the biography of artists, a place where new productions are discovered, and where well-known and young authors are represented with equal attention. The actuality of the program has determined the position of the manifestation on the international map, while high standards and bold introduction of new choreographic manuscripts and aesthetics enhance the expectations of the audience.

By discovering dance through its superb range, the festival has gained its audience. Since its founding, over 500 choreographic realizations have been presented, while every year the shows were followed by 20.000 spectators on average and around 100 accredited local and international journalists.

The manifestation was developed thanks to the support from the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Serbia, the City of Belgrade, the Provincial Secretariat for Culture, the City of Novi Sad, the EU Delegation in Serbia, the Embassies, and the Cultural Centers. By supporting the festival, which has been pushing the boundaries of artistic expression and contributing to the enrichment of cultural content in our country for longer than two decades, the NIS company encourages young, talented authors and top creators to position Serbia highly on the international cultural scene. An important segment of the social responsibility of the NIS company is investing in projects whose goal is the affirmation of art, in accordance with the values it fosters in its business. As a long-term partner of the Festival, Visa company supports the Belgrade Dance Festival with great commitment and believes in its role in positioning our country on the cultural map of the world. At the same time, Visa opens different opportunities for ticket shopping, to the satisfaction of the audience from the country and abroad. As a long-standing partner of the Festival, Erste bank aims to make high art available to the broadest audience in Serbia, developing special projects for young artists. Traditional and new friends of the Festival are Foundation Hemofarm, company Grand Motors and the brand Chery, DDOR Novi Sad, Vega IT, brand Nescafe,  company Heineken, Law Firm Bojović Drašković Popović and partners, and others.

March 7th&8th, 16h, 18h and 20h|Balkan Cinema ………Yoann Bourgeois, Grenoble

The theater audience got to know him as a dancer, and then as the unique director of the Choreographic Center in Grenoble. He charmed tens of thousands of Paris Louvre visitors with an installation with huge revolving stairs from which dancers fall and rise like children’s toys. He entered the world of high fashion as an associate of the Louis Vuitton brand. He enriched the space of new technologies with interesting applications. After all, who hasn’t seen music videos for Harry Styles, Selena Gomez, Marco Mengoni… Yoann Bourgeois, a wizard of kaleidoscopic talent and an author who constantly breaks down the boundaries between the most diverse art forms, is coming to Serbia for the first time.

The Belgrade Balkan Cinema will open its doors 6 times, and each guided tour through the famous installations will be followed by 100 people.

March 9th, 20h and March 10th, 19h|Serbian National Theater, Novi Sad … Göteborgs Operans Danskompani

The absolute hit “Skid” by Damien Jalet is performed on a large slope, bringing the performers out of a state of balance. The force of gravity drives dance, fueling a chain reaction of stunningly powerful moving images. This is a piece that has marked several seasons and is sensationally performed by the GöteborgsOperans Danskompani’s dancers. In the second part of the evening, the enthralling dance is confronted with the strong creative attitude of the unique Israeli artist Sharon Eyal. Her distinctive style has a hypnotic, pulsating power that is recognizable to anyone who has ever had the opportunity to discover her work. The costumes for the piece “Saaba” were prepared by the Dior fashion house.

March 11th, 20h|Theater on Terazije………………. Balletto di Toscana, Florence

Anderson’s fairy tale or the famous film of the same title, which won several Oscars, has received its new reading. “The Red Shoes” as a full-length piece by Philippe Kratz, performed by Balletto di Toscana, a company that won over the Belgrade audience at the previous Festival. A combination that cannot be missed!

March 14th & 15th, 20h|Serbian National Theater, Novi Sad………………. Kidd Pivot, Vancouver

The new piece by the wonderful Crystal Pite is entitled “Assembly Hall”, and will be seen in Novi Sad as part of her first European tour. Between the seasons in Paris and London, this unique artist will bow to the audience of our festival and take home the Jovan Ćirilov Award. The critic says that “rarely do you come across performances of such visual originality, such technical brilliance, and such emotional power, as those created by the Canadian Crystal Pite. Looking at her works, you are actually witnessing the birth of a new art form.”

March 16th&17th, 20h|Theater on Terazije……..MM Contemporary Dance Company, Reggio Emilia

Bigonzetti is… Bigonzetti: challenging, provocative, sensual, brilliant, undoubtedly one of the most respected Italian choreographers in the world. His “Ballad” depicts a very specific era: the late 70’s and early 80’s, and acts as a kaleidoscope of emotions! And Morelli’s “Elegia”? A movement colored by pure romanticism with Chopin’s piano music and a black background that gradually grows into a starry sky.

March 19th&20th, 20h|Bitef theater…………..Radim Vizváry, Prague

The widest range of styles, in the genre from classical pantomime to butoh, physical theater, and pure stage virtuosity, is shown by the leading Czech pantomime artist Radim Vizváry. The show is full of tradition, poetry, slapstick and lyrical extravagance. You will laugh and cry, all without a single word – since none are required by his Vizváry’s art. “Solo” is a breathtaking spectacle sure to entertain lovers of pantomime as well as those encountering it for the first time.

March 22nd, 20h|Yugoslav Drama Theater………………. Bells and Spells, Paris

“Allow me to present you the most beautiful performance of the month, year, decade, and maybe century! There are few shows that present poetry in such an infectious and enchanting way. A miraculous split? A polished gem!” This is how the critic of Paris Express presented “Bells and Spells”, a piece that united the talents of the daughter and granddaughter of the unique Charlie Chaplin.

March 24th, 16h&20h| Theater on Terazije………………. Company Hervé Koubi, Cannes

“Sol Invictus” is like a rebirth. New discovery of vital impetus. Return to childhood and everything that surrounds us. The movement that smiles, dance that comes from the heart, from the mouth, from the hips, from the feet on a burning floor. The stage as a playground of endless possibilities. There is an urgent need to unite and inspire hope. So there will be circle dances and spirals. Those spirals that raise every one of us thanks to each other, thanks to the Other. This piece is part of a ritual that is renewed again and again to celebrate the fact that we are alive. A rite to marvel. A rite without fear. A rite of communion that can stop wars and open the door to humanity that is aware that it is necessary to take care of life without delay. ž

March 25th&26th, 20h|Theater Duško Radović……..Dewey Dell, Cesena

“The Rite of Spring” by Teodora Castellucci is a performance that enchants the audience as if it were a cinematic fairy tale by Georges Méliès, thanks to the skill of the performers, the sonic juxtaposition between Stravinsky’s score and digital creations, the objects, the anthropomorphic prosthetics, and the simple but evocative scene that combines archaeological and contemporary imagery. The relentless succession of interactions and collisions between animal forms and human bodies, made spectacular not only by the tumultuous dance, costumes, and imaginative masks but also because of its ability to capture a sense of the struggle for survival and the cyclical nature of life.

March 27th, 20h| National Theater, Belgrade………Ballet of the National Theater, Belgrade

Three choreographers, for three inspiring and historically important musical scores. A new reading of tradition, through a triptych with the task of marking one hundred years of the Ballet of the National Theater’s founding, that was signed by Maša Kolar, Igor Kirov, and Miloš Isailović.

March 28th, 20h| Zvezdara Theater……………………Komoco, Florence

Sofia Nappi’s new work is inspired by Pinocchio. In images abstracted from commedia dell’arte, the artist asks herself whether the fantastic fairy tale that we love to read to our children, may not in fact be a story for the youngest? When she was a child, this story rather frightened her. For all its wit, Collodi’s book, which was published 140 years ago in Sofia Nappi’s native Florence, has a dark, melancholy side. In it, the wooden puppet gives up itself. Pinocchio loses its innocence, its impulsiveness, by being continually forced to learn from punishments, in order to become human.

March 29th, 16h&20h| Balkan Cinema………………. Gravity & Other Myths, Adelaide

One of Australia’s most exciting circus companies creates works that are extremely physical, innovative and honest. Instead of fine-tuning the performance with makeup, lighting and contrived theatrical overlay, the performers have deliberately gone the opposite way focusing on their exceptional skill, playful competitiveness, trust and friendship. The audience is brought in close to surround the performers. You can feel the heat, hear every breath, and be immersed in every moment. This honesty is the essence behind this piece, which has been performed more than 1100 times in 37 countries of the world so far.

March 30th, 20h| National Theater, Belgrade……………………Ballet Wiesbaden, Wiesbaden

An unrepeatable theater experience in the creation of great choreographers. The German Marco Goecke presents a piece that uses the sounds and music of the Orient, while the French Martin Harriague reminds us of climate change through a fictional talk show between US President Donald Trump and activist Greta Thundberg. A journey from precise and pure acting to puppet magic, at the speed of television and social networks.

March 31st, 20h| Bitef Theater……………………Michael Getman, Tel Aviv

Michael Getman’s piece, performed by the brilliant Ariel Gelbart, is a testament to the deep and elusive nature of dance, which can evoke pure sensations and lead to endless reflection. In the words of a critic: “a demanding, hypnotic, enchanting work”.

April 3rd, 20h| Theater Atelje 212……………………Oona Doherty/ OD WORKS, Belfast

Infusing the balletic grace of her dancer’s movements with tension and anxiety, Oona Doherty asks a refreshing yet unsettling question: what’s the point of dance? Behind this theme, there is a brilliant piece. A work that does not rely on the past or has an obvious agenda concerning the future. We are in the middle of the present… This young artist uses bodies in space in a similar way to Balanchine. Movement through space is based on intention, architectural awareness, and collective energy.

April 5th&6th, 20h|National Theater, Belgrade……..Sydney Dance Company, Sydney

From tenderness to turmoil, “ab [intra]” journeys through the intensity of human existence, exploring our primal instincts, our impulses and our visceral responses. The music fuses lush cello concerto with ambient electronica and the exquisite dancers occupy a visually arresting ethereal world.

This is a ferociously physical and heartfelt piece that will stay with you long after you leave the theater.

April 8th, 20h| Zvezdara Theater……………………Yue Yin Company, New York

Yue Yin grew up and prepared for her artistic career at the most prestigious schools in Shanghai, then continued her studies in New York, where she graduated. She performed on numerous stages and created works for many important institutions. She founded her own company in New York, and will present herself to the Belgrade audience for the first time, with two great pieces: “Ripple” and “Through the Fracture of Light”.

April 9th&10th, 20h|Bitef Theater…….. National Dance Company Malta, Valetta

“Utopia” is the result of a collaboration between Emanuel Gat and the National Dance Company Malta’s dancers. The piece depicts the personal journeys of ten individuals looking for connection and examining the role of the performer as an onstage, live creator. As a celebration of their uniqueness, virtuosity, engagement, fearlessness, sense of responsibility and humanity.

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