Held over three days in July, the Svetvinčenat Dance & Non-Verbal Theatre Festival is a longstanding highlight on Istria’s cultural calendar. Organised by the Zagreb Dance Ensemble, the 2022 program will be the 23rd edition of the festival, and it promises to be the biggest and best so far, with a thrilling variety of international performers waiting to engage and amaze art experts and lovers alike. This year, the festival is curated by Snježana Abramović Milković and brings together creative excellence from the fields of contemporary dance, physical theatre, mime, circus and much more.
The stunning Morosini-Grimani Castle is the perfect setting for this celebration of expression. The 13th-century castle has long been the symbol of Svetvinčenat, an emblem of expression and community that has seen everything that has happened in this quaint Istrian town over the centuries. After being destroyed in World War II, the castle lay dormant for decades, but it has risen from the ashes over the last two decades thanks to the dedicated renovation programs and a strong desire to pay homage to the history of this beautiful part of the world. Today, the Morosini-Grimani Castle sparkles with heritage and emotion.
London-based dance company Fubunation will open the festival with ‘Ruins’, a deeply impactful piece that focuses on the myth of masculinity in the Pan-African diaspora. The brainchild of Rhys Dennis and Waddah Sinada, Fubunation’s focus is on creating greater visibility for black culture and the representation of dancers of colour in contemporary dance. Using live performance, movement, film and photography, ‘Ruins’ tackles the complex subject of generational trauma, masculinity and the pendulum between conflict, vulnerability and dependency. It is a hugely stirring piece of work and a stunning way to open the 23rd Svetvinčenat Festival.
Kopie van Ruins, Photo by Ton van Til
Following his acclaimed 2018 festival performance of ‘Cartoon’, Slovak choreographer and co-founder of Les SlovaKs Dance Collective Anton Lachky returns to Svetvinčenat with a new production. ‘The Others’ showcases everything that makes Lachky great, a show that pushes the envelope of theatrical performance while addressing the big questions facing the planet and civilisation. Built around four people living in an unusually isolated world, ‘The Others’ takes conversations and turns them into actions, with the ecological impact of every single thing we do front and centre of the performance. If Lachky’s 2018 production is anything to go by, this will be a major highlight of this year’s festival.
Anton Lachky - The Others
Elsewhere, the festival program is made up of a wide range of inspiring pieces tackling a variety of subjects. Spanish choreographer, dancer and pedagogue Laura Aris Alvarez presents ‘Geometry of a Breath’, a conceptual work about connectivity, interrelationships and togetherness. ‘Waiting for James B.’ is a rousing call for the liberation of bodies and souls through the intense physicality of dance, produced by French choreographer Helene Taddei-Lawson. At the other end of the spectrum is German choreographer Philippe Kratz’s ‘Open Drift’, a moving piece about two beings fluctuating on open water that lays bare the brevity of existence and our connections. The burgeoning domestic scene is represented by Ksenija Zec (‘Embraces’) and Matea Bilosnić (‘Klown’), while the festival will also celebrate 25 years of a major European dance network with Enya Belak’s ‘Aerowaves at 25’. Lachky’s Les SlovaKs Dance Collective co-founder Milan Tomašik rounds out the stacked line-up with ‘Mosaics’, a wildly dynamic and immersive dance concert featuring a duo of dancers and a quartet of percussionists.
Laura Aris Alvarez ©Thibault Gregoire
Established in the year 2000, the Svetvinčenat Dance & Non-Verbal Theatre Festival has grown into a significant event on the Croatian cultural calendar. Educational seminars and workshops round out the schedule as the festival continues its aim of fostering an active, democratic and culturally-educated society through the power of creativity, ideas and gorgeous harmony between the artists and the audience.
Tickets for the festival can be reserved through email, while the official website and social networks of Svetvinčenat Dance & Non-Verbal Festival are regularly updated with information and other tidbits.