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Swiss Focus at the Cali International Dance Biennial 2023

Colombia — Events

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Cali Dance Biennial

For its 6th edition, which runs from 7 to 13 November 2023, the Cali International Dance Biennial in Colombia brings together four shows and one exhibition of artists from the contemporary Swiss dance scene. Following the participation, in 2021, of the Biennial’s curatorial committee in the Swiss Dance Days programme, in partnership with Pro Helvetia, some of the companies presented in this context were chosen.

They are representatives of a new generation living and creating in Switzerland, with diverse interests, from multidisciplinary latitudes and connected by contemporary aesthetic visions, movement and the exploration of other corporealities, musics and architectures.



The dancer and choreographer Ruth Childs investigates the body and its musicality. She explores her physical and emotional memories with music ranging from Beethoven and Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker to Dvorak’s Slavonic dances, which she listened to as a child. Stepping into an empty space, a white room, she invokes, plays, dialogues, embodies and fights with these musical recollections, using color to punctuate and organise them, in an abstract auto portrait. Her body, shifting from projection screen to human figure, to animal-like creature, to musical instrument, or to simple vibration, takes on, conducts, and questions the notion of what is intimate and what is collective.


Drawing inspiration from Japanese tales and animated films, Beaver Dam Company creates a physical and virtuoso dance in “Yumé“. Edouard Hue’s choreography is a wordless narration, where the characters live a fabulous adventure. The piece shows a heroine who never stops traveling, searching for her lost shadow. During her journey, she encounters strange and fantastic characters. The adventure takes her through amazing lands. Deep in the sea or lost in the clouds, she will discover supernatural places where the laws of nature are upset.


A journey on moving grounds developed by choreographer Nicole Morel, from Antipode Danse Tanz, and architect and set designer Lea Hobson, is the result of a dialogue between dance and architecture, between sculpture with three-dimensional elements and bodies. It builds a changing and dynamic show according to time and space. The set is formed by an island sculpted in white blocks, which adapts to the place and the context in which it is placed. At first, the dancers are grouped in the centre. Then, they move and blend with the space; they create new landscapes, shapes and patterns, transforming the structure. These new space configurations, combined with those of the dancers, carry images that subtly echo the consequences of climate change, drifting icebergs or the slow disappearance and destruction of our environment by the hand of man.


The sho by Linga Company is inspired by the amazing performance of animal group movements, such as schools of fish, flocks of birds or swarms of insects. These flexible and fluid formations (capable of immediately modifying their speed and direction without losing spatial coherence,), question the laws of interaction and the ways of relating between the different members of a group and the coordination of their movements. “Flow” also marks Linga’s first collaboration with Keda, a French-Korean duo formed by E’ Joung-Ju and Mathias Delplanque, who like to confront ancient nuances of the world with textures, rhythms and electronic resources. With a musical score performed live, the work proposes a liberating and joyful performing experience.


Swiss visual artist Céline Burnand and Afro-Colombian dancer Andrea Bonilla from Cali attempted to revive the invisible bodies of history, replacing them with emblematic architectures of the colonial project, often in ruins and evoking the failure of such enterprises, or the damage they caused, not only to local populations but also to nature and intangible heritage. Following a research trip by Céline to Colombia, the work developed from textual and photographic archives. The circulation and exchange of ideas and images then emerged in the act of dance, a kind of catharsis for the dancer filmed by Céline. On the right side of the diptych, Andrea dances in various spaces on the Pacific coast where slaves found refuge during the Spanish occupation, and where certain fugitives from the Gorgona prison hid during the 20th century. On the left, Egyptian dancers Amina Abouelghar, Eman Hussein and Samar Ezzat dance in various parts of the Helwan sanatorium, south of Cairo, where tuberculosis patients were treated from 1926 to 1950, and for which Céline has personal archives.

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