Istanbul iDANS 06 Dance Festival gets bigger

iDANS International Contemporary Dance and Performance Festival had always an extensive program which was hardly fitting into a single month every year since 2007. Already in the fourth edition, iDANS was to break a record in Istanbul for the number of invited artists from abroad, with 41 projects of 154 artists from 21 countries. This year, the festival organizers of Bimeras decided to expand iDANS into the whole season until May, and present a program which will encompass not only diverse expressions of contemporary dance but will also feature some of the most cutting edge theater and trans-disciplinary live arts from the international scene.

The decision to extend the festival came as a reaction to the difficulty of securing the necessary number of venues for October in Istanbul, where state art institutions have always priority in receiving venues against the independent scene. Recently, Besiktas Municipality withdrew Fulya Sanat from iDANS Festival, and gave its previously reserved dates to the State Opera and Ballet instead. iDANS is reacting to this challenge by extending the program into the whole season and preparing an even more comprehensive program, which will result in iDANS becoming the biggest festival in Istanbul. iDANS had been deemed worthy of funding by the Culture Program of the European Commission, becoming the first festival from Turkey to receive the prestigious support.

A contemporary Silk Road
Inspired by the historical caravan trail that had extended some 6500 km interlinking trade routes across the Afro-Eurasian landmass that connected East, South, West Asia with the Mediterranean and the European world as well as parts of North and East Africa, iDANS 06 will be framed around the metaphor of the Silk Road. As well as programming the work of established and upcoming artists from Europe and the Near East, the program will include contemporary performing arts from East and Southeast Asia, and will explore the migration, evolution and cross-pollination of diverse movement styles and expressions.
Before human species invented words for nations or passports, they were highly mobile and were engaged in trading across large distances spanning entire continents. The trade of material goods out of ecological, economical or spiritual needs facilitated the exchange and hybridization of ideologies, religions, beliefs, aesthetic know-how, movements and gestures. In its 6th edition iDANS brings together a diverse array of artistic approaches to highlight the transformations across time and space, in an attempt to trace out a contemporary silk road of dance.

Obviously, iDANS program’s exploration is not exhaustive of what’s out there in Asia. Yet, it marks for iDANS the beginning of a deeper research and investment in contemporary performing arts in and around Central, East, and South East Asia.

iDANS 06 activities and program are clustered under separate sections that take their name and characteristics from the goods traded along the Silk Road. These sub-headings will be: ‘Gemstones’, ‘Spices’, ‘Silk’, and ‘Paper’. ‘Gemstones’ features staged contemporary dance and theatre performances of some established artists such as Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker (BE), Rimini Protokoll (DE), Saburo Teshigawara (JP). ‘Spices’ introduces some quite challenging, pungent and tasty works of numerous upcoming artists such as Aakash Odedra (UK), Anne-Linn Akselsen & Adrián Minkowitz (NO/AR), and heralds the news from the next generation of contemporary dance with P.A.R.T.S.’ recent graduates’ freshest works. ‘Silk’ features Tao Dance Theater from Beijing and Toshiki Okada from Tokyo. ‘Paper’ section encompasses the knowledge production and exchange projects of iDANS, namely, “Critical Endeavour Turkey 2012”, “Teaching the Teachers” as well as public lectures and talks.

An Overview of iDANS 06 Program
The festival program will include an increasing number of events until May 2013 that include live performances, presentation of iDANS’ very own co-productions, film screenings, a photography exhibition, and talks. Besides, iDANS 06 also hosts two training and capacity development programs geared towards the professionalization of the field of contemporary performing arts. Below is an overview of iDANS 06.

Training and Capacity Development Programs

Critical Endeavour Turkey:
The international performing arts writing and journalism workshop Critical Endeavour, carried out in the 2010 edition of iDANS as a joint event of the EU supported network Jardin d’Europe, took place again in 2011 as a local edition titled “Critical Endeavour Turkey” in iDANS 05 with participants from Turkey. As an education and development program for those specializing in contemporary dance and performing arts journalism, Critical Endeavour Turkey will again be organized within iDANS 06 in 2012. Critical Endeavour Turkey aims to contribute to the development of a literary culture which confronts the challenges, responsibilities and inquiries of critical practices in the dance field. Critical Endeavour is at the same time the resident writer program of iDANS. Some 15 participants determined via an open call follow all events and performances throughout the festival and publish their reviews, critiques, interviews, articles and essays – in English and Turkish – on the interactive festival blog

Teaching the Teachers:
In collaboration with Mimar Sinan University of Fine Arts Department of Contemporary Dance, iDANS hosts on October 20th and 21st an intensive session on “Alternative Pedagogies and Models in Contemporary Dance Education”. The session is part of a series on the “Teaching the Teachers” activities co-designed and implemented by Jardin d’Europe Network partners, funded by the European Commission.

Photography Exhibition
In the first photography exhibition ever presented at iDANS, the renowned photographer Peggy Jarrell Kaplan, who is also the resident photographer at iDANS 06, takes us into an analogue journey in contemporary dance through the ‘faces’ of its creators. The exhibition entitled Portraits of Choreographers: Body into Face can be viewed at festival venues throughout the duration of the festival.

A Unique Social Creativity Project: iKEDİ
iKEDi was designed by Austrian theatre-director Airan Berg and South African/British designer Roger Titley for iDANS in 2010. Continuing in 2011 as a school project each month at designated public schools in less privileged neighborhoods, the giant cat sculptures of iKEDi will once more navigate the streets of Istanbul and gather people of all ages around creativity in puppet building workshops in 12 different urban spaces between 1st of September – 7th of October, 2012.

(Detailed schedule on )
Highlights from Performances at iDANS 06 (Detailed program on

Author: istanbul

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