Why do dance festivals matter?

Words by Ines Carvalho.

The UK’s main festival for new choreography, Resolution, is back for its 31st edition. Between January and February, 81 artists have the chance to showcase their original work from different backgrounds and styles, which turns The Place into a hub for emerging artists — on and off the stage. Festivals such as the likes of Resolution have been responding to the evolution of performance as an all-round expression, where choreographers and performers are at the same time promoters and producers of their work. Emerging artists find at this stage of their careers the chance to develop their work, making new relationships and, most of all, embracing a ‘Do It Yourself’ attitude.

Beyond the evening performances, Resolution aims to support artistic development directly from experienced professionals who lead mentorships programmes for the participants, and for a group of aspiring dance writers who find their critical voice on reviewing each evening. In fact, this is what Resolution stands for: a festival for new choreography that opens boundaries for a multifaceted, fresh generation of dancers and creators. 

The past decade has proven it. The digital universe has created 360° artists who are not only limited to creation. Instead, they have become their own structure; with the power to manage their work and share it on a wide range of channels. This online community of individual and collectives has never had so much visibility. Their voices are getting louder. However, they might be getting lost in the middle of a noisy dance world. That is why festivals for emerging artists play a key role by connecting all of these voices, just like a chorus, and deliver it to a local, national and global audience in a face-to-face experience. 

Festivals including Resolution are emerging across Europe based on the same mission, prioritising networking opportunities between artists and professionals from the dance sector. Spring Forward is one of those cases: it is a cutting-edge platform for Europe’s most promising choreographers. Every year, 20 artists take part in a line-up that happens in different European cities. Moved by the value of making connections, Spring Forward advocates conversations with programmers, whilst the festival is broadcasted to introduce those emerging artists to a worldwide audience.

In France, La Becquée also facilitates artistic exchanges between young artists as well as MosaicoDanza in Turim, Italy, that brings together 100 artists from all over the world. By combining competition, conversations and solo performances, the Solo-Tanz-Theater Festival in Stuttgart, Germany, is another case of promoting the new choreography and its multiple forms of movement and expressions. Even well-established festivals like ImPulsTanz in Vienna have created parallel initiatives such as [8:tension] Young Choregraphers’ Series, to offer a firm place for new generations. 

Emerging artists find through these festivals the perfect outlet for showcasing new ideas, while organisations play an important role in artistic support and development. They highlight not only what happens on stage. They think about what it means to be a new artist nowadays: a global creative individual who is open to endless possibilities of creating, delivering and sharing.

Resolution 20 at The Place is on until 21st Feb 2020. See its website for details and tickets.