Panel Discussion: “In Support of Language, or Current Knowledge about Contemporary Dance”


Researchers and curators working with knowledge produced in the field of contemporary dance will discuss the legitimacy of transferring approaches developed by Western dance studies to the Russian context. Where does the Western theoretical thought seem to correspond with the local scene, and where does it conceal and obscure its authenticity? What falls into the definition of current dance criticism? What kind or approaches does the integration into the Russian context require? Can there be a dance theory written in the Russian language? And what will it mean for the development of the art scene?

Pioneers of Russian contemporary dance who emerged in the 1990s would often describe themselves as blind and guided by intuition in what they did artistically back then. Theoretical works that eventually formed the foreign discipline of dance studies were still unknown in Russia at the time, while local critics had not yet developed their own language for discussing experimental practices. Today, on the contrary, the new Russian dance is in search of its authenticity surrounded by a plentiful of theoretical and discursive knowledge: it aims to contextualize its works, develop an historiographical tradition, and elaborate a language that would allow to build a discourse around what it does.

Critics writing about new dance pieces try to implement terms and categories deriving from the international practice in texts on Russian dance, making references to local “non-dance”, “conceptual dance”, “post-dance”, “dance-performance”, and the like. Aiming to apprehend these trends, authors more and more willingly use the language of contemporary art theory, psychoanalysis, gender theory, phenomenology, postcolonial and posthuman studies, etc.

Moderated by Anna Kozonina.


Anna Ildatova (b. 1988, Moscow) is a theater historian and critic, member of the Golden Mask Festival board of experts, curator of theater programming at V-A-C Foundation (Moscow). She received her master’s degree in Performing Arts from the University of Nice and Goethe-Institut Frankfurt’s joint program. Anna has collaborated with various magazines and resources, including Teatr, Afisha Daily, Vedomosti, Buro 24/7,, and PORT. She lives and works in Moscow.

Anna Kozonina (b. 1992, Nizhny Novgorod) is a critic, editor, and researcher in the field of contemporary dance. Author of critical articles published by,,, in the Moscow Art Magazine (Khudozhestvenny Zhurnal), and Springback Magazine. Participant of the Proscenium laboratory of contemporary dance and performance at the Volga-Vyatka branch of the National Center for Contemporary Art. Winner of the GARAGE.txt grant for the publication of a book about contemporary Russian dance performance and of the 2019 Innovation Prize in the New Generation category. She lives and works in Saint-Petersburg.

Sergey Konaev (b. 1978, Moscow) is a dance historian and ballet critic. Candidate of Art History (2005). Senior researcher at the State Institute for Art Studies, his academic interests include the study and publication of the nineteenth- and twentieth-century ballet heritage, with the focus on archive documents and dance notation. Sergey is an expert at the manuscript funds of the Bolshoi Theater Music Library Archive (since 2008), member of the Golden Mask Festival board of experts (2018/2019 season), and co-author (with Olga Fedyanina) of Kommersant Weekend magazine’s special project “Theater that wasn’t there. A history of Russian Theater in Unshown Spectacles” (2019). He lives and works in Moscow.

Anastasia Proshutinskaya (b. 1983, Yaroslavl) is a curator and researcher in the field of contemporary dance. She has a master’s degree in Performance Studies from the University of Southern Illinois and in Art History from Lomonosov Moscow State University. She worked at ZIL Cultural Center from 2012 to 2018 focusing on the organization of residencies for young choreographers and the production of new works. She was included in the selection committee of the [8:tension] Young Choreographers’ Series at ImPulsTanz, Vienna, in 2019.

Irina Sirotkina is a researcher of dance, author of the books Free Movement and Plastic Dance in Russia (2011) and The Sixth Sense of the Avant-Garde: Dance, Kinaesthesia and the Arts in Revolutionary Russia (2014). Author of the lecture course Dance and the Culture of Movement in History and Today which she read at the National Research Center – Higher School of Economics. Irina lives and works in Moscow.


Darya Yuriychuk (b. 1992, Moscow) is an artist and researcher of contemporary dance. She graduated in Art History from the History Faculty of Lomonosov Moscow State University and has a master’s degree in Visual Culture from the National Research Center – Higher School of Economics. Darya is co-author of performances A Landscape for a dead Dog and The Garden by the group zh-v-yu (in collaboration with Katya Volkova and Natasha Zhukova). Author of publications on dance, the politics of body, and contemporary art, she ran education courses at the National Research Center – Higher School of Economics, Na Solyanke Gallery, Laboratory of Journalism at Winzavod Center, and other venues. Winner of the Blackbox Residency (2018), she is the choreographer of the feminist performance-conference Locker Room Talk and co-author of the anti-capitalist performance-platform Caries of Capitalism at Meyerhold Center (Moscow).


Free admission with advance registration.

This talk will be in Russian and English with simultaneous translation.