Dancing is poetry with arms and legs

Our impressions of the Antistatic Festival

Written by Andrea Vushkova, Scott Green, and Atinuke Ajayi, photos by Antistatic
Published 21 May 2022

The Antistatic Festival for Contemporary Dance and Performance opened for its 15th edition on Monday, 9 May with the performance “Duets with Abstraction.” In the performance Julian Weber covered different approaches toward abstraction, treating them from their respective historical point of view. We were impressed by the way the whole gallery hall was used. Julian interacted with the audience in an untraditional manner and none of the spectators could take their eyes off of him. Everything in the hall was used: the paintings, the works of art, even the balcony and french windows. The energy of the performance was electrifying and charging. The live music performance by Johanna Oderski was enrapturing, creating a dramatic and magical ambiance.

On 11 May we saw “LOVECAGE” by the award-winning choreographer, Filip Milanov. Expectations were high, partly based on the impressive track record, but also because of the exciting description of the performance. There was no disappointment to be seen, the performance lived up to everything. 

The show began with ominous music, with this sound carrying through the entire performance. Two young ladies emerged from the shadows one in a short black gown, another in a more revealing outfit. A male dancer soon appeared, and with the woman in the black gown danced all over the stage, gazing at each other affectionately while the other woman danced on her own—this clearly represented true love, followed by what could be best described as a love triangle.

The next performance we were set to see was “84 conversations” with Stephanie Handjiiska and Kosta Karakashyan which we were quite looking forward to, but it was unfortunately canceled. So we eagerly awaited the next performance which was “Before the End … (of the World)” by Iva Sveshtarova and Willy Prager, two of the founders of the Antistatic Festival. 

We were presented with a dark room with four separate bundles of balloons on the stage. Soon enough these balloons started moving in what might be described as a process of blooming/ coming to life. Throughout the performance, some of them would be dancing while the others were giving voice to what was being performed. The entire performance was a thought-provoking one, leaving us with certain questions to ponder.

Goldberg Variations Cover

Next up was “The Goldberg Variations,” originally performed by Steve Paxton. Now given new life, and performed with incredible style and thought. It was a delight to watch, the imagery and videos used during the performance made us feel a certain sense of something other that can’t be adequately described.

The music performed live on stage which had taken five years to transpose correctly for the accordion, was a delight to hear and only added to the depth of the performance. During the performance, one of the dancers was occasionally out of sync with the others, whether intentional or not, it only added another layer to the performance. 

The festival concluded on Thursday, 19 May with “Thinging” an anthropocentric work by choreographer, performer, and improviser Jan Rozman. His performance is a visceral reaction to the world of things we are living in, one where he confronts things – objects that surround him and the sensations and ideas triggered by them.

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