Radical, eclectic, erotic and politically engaged

The 17th “Antistatic” transcends the boundaries of dance with an exceptional international selection

Official Press Release of Antistatic. Cover photo by Florian Kraub

The 17th edition of the Antistatic International Festival for Contemporary Dance and Performance will take place between 14th May and 23rd May 2024 in Sofia. The motto of the festival in 2024 is “More than a dance” and the three co-founders of “Antistatic” – the artists Iva Sveshtarova, Willy Prager and Stephan A. Shtereff explain why: “In the world of the 17th “Antistatic” the dance is not just an act of self-expression but also a quantum leap that transforms not only the space around us, but also every internal world. Through dance we create new realities, overcome stereotypes, obliterate wrong notions, we connect with others. We need more than one dance to continue.”

The festival is starting strong with two performances of choreographers who are familiar to the Bulgarian audience from its previous editions. On 14th May in Hall 1 of “Toplocentrala” Center for Contemporary Arts Zufit Simon (Germany) comes back with her most recent production – the performance “Radical Cheerleading”, which brought her a nomination for the prestigious German award “Der Faust” in 2023. In her performance, she successfully transforms the form of political activism and protest “Radical Cheerleading” into an unconventional dance performance, full of humour and depth and raising the question of what is worth going out in the street for today.

The popular German choreographer duo Verena Billinger and Sebastian Schulz are coming again to Bulgaria on 15 May. After their sizzling hot performance “Romantic Afternoon”, studying the choreographic potential of the kiss during the Romantic edition of “Antistatic” in 2018, in “hip piece” they are focusing on the “centre of all desire and lust, the motor of dance” in the body – the hips and the thighs. The stage is taken by a group of dancers of varying backgrounds in different dance training  - ranging from Afro dance, Afro house, oriental dance and belly dance through dancehall, various hip-hop styles to salsa and twerking, who have been initiated into the art of hip swinging. Through their shared play with the mastered movements and their individual interpretation, the performance stands right in the middle of current cultural debates about appropriation and ownership, eroticisation and exoticisation, sexuality and gender, identity politics and universalism.

Photo by Franziska Strauss

On 20th, 21st and 22nd May the festival is showing three performances created as part of the international project “SEEDS”, taking care of the continuity between the generations in the field of contemporary dance and the long-term training of young performers and producers. This is the intention of three renowned choreographers from Bulgaria, Serbia and Romania who create their performances with young, international teams. The Bulgarian premiere of “Bodies on the line” by the choreographer Ioana Marchidan (Romania) will take place on 20 May at 19:30 in Hall 2 of “Toplocentrala”

She focuses her attention on the performers of the independent stage in order to find out more about their feelings of belonging and how they manage the exhausting rhythm of modernity, which speeds up even more because of constant project writing and the fear of not being seen. On 21 May the choreographer Igor Koruga (Serbia) launches into a dance exploration of possible ways to combat capitalism through the ideas of fluid identities with his performance “Unstable Comrades”. On 22 May it is time for the new version of the emblematic performance of the choreographer Willy Prager (Bulgaria) - “Transformability: Forever [partly musical]”. Transforming the eponymous article by the philosopher Boyan Manchev into a script which follows the structure and rules of the popular musical genre, the performance comments on the main theses of the text on meta level through its stage language in order to view a fake image of happiness leading to a state of impossible pleasure and complete exhaustion.

On 23 May the 17th edition of “Antistatic” closes with the memorable performance “Таnzanweisungen” by Moritz Ostruschnjak (Germany). Here the choreographer remains true to his eclectic style where the performer on stage transitions effortlessly from the traditional dance Schuhplattler to a ballet grand jeté, from boxing footwork to break dance moves and from ballet révérence to rope jumping while the ongoing rhythm kept by the breathing, jumping and the sound environment connects all these contradicting elements in unbreakable unity. This is how the playful and bright performance leads us to the verge of its emotional abyss where we can hear the provocative song “Der Mussolini” of the German group “DAF”.

In addition to the exciting international programme, the 17th edition of “Antistatic” insists on “More than a dance” by holding the 4th Bulgarian Dance Platform and the Educational Programme “Without Distance” as well as with the diverse programme of parallel events. You can find the full programme here and you can find out more on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube.

Photo by Florian Kraub

The international programme of Antistatic Festival for Contemporary Dance and Performance 2024 is organized by “Brain Store Project” Foundation and “Nomad Dance Academy Bulgaria” Association with the financial support of the Ministry of Culture, Goethe Institute Bulgaria, Sofia Municipality – Calendar of Cultural Events, National Culture Fund under the Creative Europe Programme, project SEEDS - South-East European Dance Stations, co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union and in partnership with CCA “Toplocentrala”, Derida Stage, the Square 500 National Gallery and Club “DOM”.

Bulgarian Dance Platform is realized with the financial support of the Ministry of Culture.
The “Without Distance” 2024 educational programme is part of the project “Life Long Burning – Future Lost and Found (LLB 3)” and is realized with the financial support of the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union, the National Culture Fund under the Creative Europe Programme in partnership with Goethe Institut Bulgaria.

The media partners of the 17th edition of “Antistatic” are: Impressio.bg, АртАкция, Виж, Jasmin.bg, Kafene.bg, Artportal.news, Café Arte, Портал Култура, Въпреки.com,  Литературен вестник, Културен център към СУ „Св. Климент Охридски”, Лицата на града, Madamsko.com, Uspelite.bg, Open Bulgaria.

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