Queer Zagreb 2009

time: 5.5.2009. - 10.5.2009.
place: Zagreb, Croatian
organiser: Queer Zagreb
Queer Zagreb, festival which hosted so far some of the biggest figures of contemporary dance expression, controversial video projections, motivated discussions and artistic considerations is set to take place from 5th to 10th of May in Zagreb.

‘Queer Zagreb festival contributes each year to the cultural and social diversity of Croatia, as the program attracts wide audiences and allows them to see things differently – but also to see different things. The festival has been making its mark by presenting artists who challenge norms of aesthetics and of contents within which the vast majority of local culture in Croatia rests, dizzy by the stale stench of mediocricy and bored with itself into deep slumber. The strength of our program this year lies in the variety of artistic aesthetics and approaches to body as tool of precise choreography, as a source of private and public pleasure or pain, as a space of violence, vessel of illness. We managed to bring together an impressive choir of artistic voices from Brazil, Argentina, France, Germany, Great Britain and Bulgaria.

Raimund Hoghe arrives with his group piece Boléro Variations which will surely once again be appreciated by the audiences who are familiar with his work from three years ago when he first performed at Queer Zagreb, as well as by those who will for the first time encounter Raimund’s visions and thorough understanding of dance, music and stage as Boléro Variations is his master-piece.

We are presenting four productions from France this year which is a feat in itself. Alain Buffard brings to Zagreb his solo work Good Boy which in all its simplicity and beauty reveals an intimate and private space of vulnerability and beauty. The second show by Alain Buffard Les inconsolés has a completely different feel and builds a much darker and ominous relationship with the audience as it makes us witnesses and accomplices in a physical and emotional tragedy. François Chaignaud and Cecilia Bangolea are responsible for the other part of the French section of the program, also presenting two pieces in both of which they impose physical limitations to the bodies and challenge the traditional way of performance, movement and expression. The shows are at the same time funny and dramatic, sexual and asexual as well as demanding and unusual to perform.

Ivo Dimčev from Bulgaria has already performed at Queer Zagreb a couple of years ago when his famous performance Lili Handel and Concerto completely swayed the audience. His new piece Paris, which he created for another Bulgarian dancer, Christian Bakalov, talks about Dimčev’s strange relationship with the city of Paris, with its ways of treating immigrants and all the mixed emotions that city sparks in him.

From Great Britain we are hosting a short, but highly effective and punch-in-your-stomac performance Transmission by Dominic Johnson whose work leans on classic body art aesthetic. However, he does not focus solely on the element of shock but plays with the ideas of spectacle and ritual in his work. The name of Dominic Johnson will surely be one of the most mentioned during this year’s festival.
And at last we come to Brazil. Or Brazil comes to us. André Masseno is a performer whose work expresses his incredible ability of transformation by the slightest movement or posture change. André Masseno deals with gender roles, sexuality and social perception of queer bodies. Both his pieces, Billboard Body Machine and The Dying Swan or I am not Here, are very communicative and surely audience pleasers.

From Brazil we are also bringing probably the most famous theater company Teatro Oficina and its legendary director José Celso. Teatro Oficina marked half a century of Brazilian theater, introducing new theater practice, participating in the creation of tropicalism and bringing anthropofaghia into theater. Of tropicalism could be said that it is the most important artistic and social movement in Brazil, as it changes the perspective on colonialisation and experience of history. The opportunity that we can host José Celso and his theater, and that we can work together with him on creating a new production with Brazilian and Croatian actors on Plato’s The Banquet is a huge honour and an artistic endeavour which will mark Queer Zagreb 2009.’

(Text: Zvonimir Dobrovic)