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“’Us’ and ‘Them’: The unrecognized Russian dance and the imaginary West.” Anna Kozonina, Anastasia Proshutinskaya and Christine Standtfest in conversation

Dance Beyond Itself. A lecture cycle by Anna Kozonina and Anastasia Proshutinskaya
28 September 2019


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?


Anastasia Proshutinskaya (b. 1983, Yaroslavl) is a curator and researcher in the field of contemporary dance. 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. She has a master’s degree in Performance Studies from the University of Southern Illinois and in Art History from Lomonosov Moscow State University.

Anna Kozonina (b. 1992, Nizhny Novgorod) is a critic, editor, and researcher in the field of contemporary dance. Author of critical articles published by Colta.ru, Aroundart.org, Roomfor.ru, 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 nomination. Kozonina lives and works in St. Petersburg.

Christine Standfest (b.1963, Vienna) After studies of literature, linguistics, cultural and gender studies in Berlin and Lancashire, she developed widespread artistic collaborations as a performer, dramaturge, and teacher in the field of the performing arts. Currently she works for the ImPulsTanz – Vienna International Dance Festival and is co-artistic director of the festival’s [8:tension] Young Choreographers’ Series as well as curator with focus on co-operations with museums.


Free admission with advance registration.

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


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