Best of Slovenia’s contemporary dance on show in Ljubljana

Ljubljana – The best of Slovenia’s contemporary dance production over the past two years will be showcased at the 10th Gibanica biennial in Ljubljana until Saturday. Choreographer Marko Mlačnik will be honoured for his lifetime achievement at tonight’s opening event.

The opening event at the Old Power Station has been entitled To Do Hugging. An improvised choreographic spin-off from the performance Tristan Chord Or Sweet Ever After, the show will invite dancers of all generations into the hugging etudes under artistic guidance of Kaja Lorenci, in order to highlight what people have in common: the need to touch.

At the opening, Marko Mlačnik will be presented with the Ksenija Hribar Award for lifetime achievement. Even though he has choreographed only a handful of dance and theatre projects, he has been described as “probably the most iconic author in the shadow” in the field.

He started off his dance career in the circles affiliated with the Contemporary Dance Studio. He has collaborated with Ksenija Hribar (1938-1999), the acclaimed dancer, choreographer and teacher, and with most of fellow dances and choreographers from the Ljubljana Dance Theatre, as well as theatre director Dragan Živadinov. He has been co-creating key productions at the Mladinsko theatre.

The competition programme of Gibanica will feature nine productions; the selectors Zala Dobovšek, Bettina Masuch and Benjamin Perchet have picked eight from among a total of 55 productions, while It is Impossible to Wait in Vain by Leja Jurišić and Miklavž Komelj qualified directly by virtue of Jurišić’s winning an award for the production Together at the previous festival.

The other productions in the running for awards this year are: Fent Cua/While Waiting (Joana Serra Foraste, Urša Sekirnik, Carlota Grau Bages), Sonny (Nataša Živković), Thinging (Jan Rozman), Song (Mala Kline), Superfluous (EN-KNAP Group), “Infected” Flight (Alien Express – Žigan Kranjčan, Gašper Kunšek), The Flock of Experienced Birds (Ajda Tomazin) and Inventor on Earth (Bara Kolenc).

The festival will also feature three discussions: an international panel debate themed National Dance Platforms – supermarkets or meeting points and one on Gibanica, a glimpse into the future, as well as a discussion with the authors of selected productions about Slovenian contemporary dance.

The festival will be held at the Old Power Station, Cankarjev Dom, the Španski Borci cultural centre, in Novi Trg square and at the urban culture culture Kino Šiška. The awards for best production selected by the judging panel and the audience will be presented at the closing ceremony on Saturday.