On Saturday, 5 August 2023, the winners of the ImPulsTanz – Young Choreographers’ Award, which was launched in 2018, were announced at a ceremony at the Volkstheater – Rote Bar:
The artists can look forward to a prize money of 5,000 euro and a two-week artistic residency at ImPulsTanz 2024.
The international jury consists of the choreographer and dancer Tamara Alegre, curator, author and cultural scientist Anna Kozonina and curator and dramaturge Mateusz Szymanówka. They explain their decision as follows:
It has been a great privilege to be given time and space for in-depth conversations about our peers’ work over four and a half weeks as a jury. For this gift and the varied, inspiring and at times polarising programme of this year’s [8:tension] Young Choreographers’ Series, we would like to thank its artistic director Christine Standfest and the festival team. Above all, our respect goes to all the artists presenting their performances in the series: not infrequently at late hours, in hot rooms and in front of an overstimulated audience. We want to honour the labour connected to “emerging” in the arts and stress the importance of platforms like [8:tension], highlighting not only talented individuals but also various entrances into the dance scene and, most importantly – visions for its future.
While following the works we discussed notions like urgency, craft, representation, commitment to the material, generosity, risk, and care. We looked at how the ideas were put in motion and how the complexity of the matter was embodied in the performance. We argued about the realities that works reproduced and the new worlds and potential futures they proclaimed. Importantly, we were not just discussing what “worked” but also were interested in the generative moments that may be perceived as “failure”, when the work loses its coherence, alienates or irritates us, but makes us ask questions. We were also critically reflecting upon the geopolitical inequalities between the dance scenes and the perspectives we represent, in regards to class, race, gender and beyond – being an all-white jury, for instance – discussing how our backgrounds impacted our perception and actively seeking conversation with colleagues and audience members.
Three works in the selection stood out for us particularly because of the way they proposed and coherently embodied something urgent for the current moment regardless of essential differences in their geographical origin, aesthetic means, and social matters they dealt with. However, while discussing the works, we all did agree on one name only, and our opinions got polarised between two others. So, we decided that the performances that sparked our endless debate would get a special mentioning from the jury and the festival. These works are Batty Bwoy by Harald Beharie and To Be Possessed by Chara Kotsali. We agreed that this year’s ImPulsTanz – Young Choreographers’ Award goes to Marga Alfeirão with Mariana Benenge, Myriam Lucas and Shaka Lion for the work LOUNGE.
We want to honour Harald for the choreographic vivisection of the social; for exploring the revolting body in its fragility and the ability to transform; for skilful work with the awkward and discomfort; and for an impressive daring first solo work in which black queer bodies strike back, confronting the problematic and predominant white gaze, among others.
We want to honour Chara for her virtuosity, precision and eye for detail in working with multiple media; and for creating a system of cultural, historical and spiritual references around uncanny femininity that came together as a complex semantic and affective, embodied landscape.
We give this Award to Marga with Mariana, Myriam and Shaka for LOUNGE: for a work that is relaxed but politically charged, for being courageous and caring, for masterfully choreographing lesbian sensuality and intimacy between two performers, establishing a strong personal connection on stage that is also welcoming for the audience; for an invitation to slow down and release habitual modes of perception; for the consistency of the proposal; for giving things time to unfold; for building bridges between dance genres and scenes; for centring rest and pleasure in a world that is built on self-exploitation, which as we believe is a powerful message for our exhausting times.
Nominated for the ImPulsTanz – Young Choreographers’ Award were works by a young generation of choreographers, which were presented in the past five weeks as part of the [8:tension] Young Choreographers’ Series at ImPulsTanz. Altogether nine productions offered the audience a varied cross-sectional perspective on current trends and new developments in the realm of dance and performance. This year’s programme was curated by Christine Standfest.
The [8:tension] Young Choreographers’ Series has been presenting the works by newcomers during the ImPulsTanz – Vienna International Dance Festival since 2001. This year, the ImPulsTanz – Young Choreographers’ Award was awarded for the fifth time. It is based on the Prix Jardin d’Europe, which was awarded as part of the EU-sponsored project Life Long Burning in Vienna up to and including 2017.