Curator Anastasia Proshutinskaya and dance critic Anna Kozonina will discuss with the curator of ImPulsTanz Vienna festival Christine Standtfest to what extent Russian dance is integrated in the European context, trying to define the former’s authentic features. Is it possible at all, and how, to escape the logic of a “chasing game” and critically scrutinize auto-colonial attitudes permeating the discourse around Russian dance?
While traveling across Europe or America, one can easily come across posters of Russian ballet: the classical dance produced in Russia is popular and famous everywhere. The situation with Russian contemporary dance is quite different though, as it remains almost unknown abroad and seems to be fundamentally isolated from the international scene.
Indeed, the history of contemporary dance in Russia is very special, having seen a rapid bloom in the beginning of the twentieth century, a state ban on new dance forms in the 1930s, fifty years of complete silence and oblivion before and a slow rebirth in the 1990s, foreign tours around the millennium, and the return to isolation by 2010 due to funding cutbacks.
In spite of this complicated evolution and the absence of infrastructure however, the new Russian dance seems be starting to integrate into the European scene and affiliating itself with current English-language criticism. It implements categories deriving from the Western discipline of Dance Studies (a choreographic turn? post-dance?), sees itself contextualized within some prevailing philosophic ideas, and enters the territory of visual art and performance. Looking from inside, contemporary Russian dance may conceptually appear a part of the European environment, as adjusted for the lack of budgeting, education, and professionalization mechanisms. But what’s the viewpoint of a European expert on it?