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Dance stars in Łódź again

Each edition of the Lodz Ballet Festival is an eagerly awaited celebration of dance. Since 1968, choreographic art enthusiasts have been coming to Lodz during the biennale to watch performances by the best ballet companies and contemporary dance theatres. This will also be the case this year. At the turn of April and May, the Grand Theatre will be the most important place on the Polish dance map thanks to exceptional guest presentations and the premiere performed by the Lodz Ballet company.

Presenting the artistic plans for the current season, the management of the Grand Theatre announced the premiere of Romeo and Juliet with music by Hector Berlioz. The originator of the idea to entrust Sasha Waltz with the production of this performance is Anna Nowak, the director of the Lodz Ballet company. The world premiere of the production took place on the stage of the Paris Opera. After the death of Pina Bausch, Sasha Waltz is considered the most important figure in German choreography. In the work process, the artist pays special attention to the coherence of dance and music in the space of the broadly understood opera theatre. Sasha Waltz, similarly to Pina Bausch in the past, successfully performs not only choreographies but also operas and opera-ballets, giving them a contemporary dimension. Remembering the performance of Sasha Waltz & Guests during the last edition of LBF, we are looking forward to the staging of Romeo and Juliet with the participation of our artists. This will be the historic, first choreographic production by Sasha Waltz in Poland.

The festival programme for this year will include a performance by the also acclaimed artist Sharon Eyal. She is undoubtedly the most recognised representative of Israeli women's choreography. Travelling all over the world with her own company, L-E-V Dance Company, Sharon Eyal will present her project in Poland for the first time, even though, she has already performed on the stage of the Grand Theatre in Lodz as a dancer of the Batsheva Dance Company in 1991. I had the pleasure of seeing the performance OCD Love back in 2018 at the Beijing Dance Festival, and as it turned out, it was its highlight. The extremely physical choreographic language used by the choreographer was developed through a process of creative dialogue with the dancers of the premiere cast. OCD Love does not have a storyline, yet it is not abstract. It takes us into a world of unusual interpersonal relationships. The performance was created for specially composed electronic music by Ori Lichtik, with whom the artist has collaborated for years.

Aterballetto is another special guest who will make its stage debut in front of the Polish audience during LBF. The company, based in Reggio Emilia, is the largest and most successful contemporary dance company in Italy. The Aterballetto artists will dance the diptych Yeled/Secus by Eyal Dadon and Ohad Naharin in front of the Polish audience. This performance complements the festival's panorama of Israeli contemporary dance, which has been enjoying worldwide success for three decades. Eyal Dandon, an artist of the young generation, began his dancing career in the Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company, well known to the Lodz audience. After winning the choreographic competition in Hannover, Dadon's career gained momentum. It is possible that one day he will be as eminent as Ohad Naharin, the long-time director and choreographer of the Batsheva Dance Company. Naharin's works have been continuously staged on the most important dance stages for 30 years. Until recently, we could see his performance -2 staged at the Polish Dance Theatre. The LBF presentation of Aterballetto is a dialogue between artists of different generations, representing a choreographic style that has enthusiasts and followers all over the world.

We had to wait many years for the reappearance of the Lyon Opera Ballet. Coppellia by Maguy Marin, which we saw at the LBF in the 1980s, redefined the status of contemporary dance in opera theatre. The Lyon Opera Ballet is still the most progressive company of its kind in France, open to contemporary art, and inviting emerging dance stars, including Marcos Morau and Christos Papadopoulos. In this context, the presentation of the Lyon company, which we will see in Lodz, can be described as a return to the origins of post-modern dance in the second half of the 20th century. Cunningham Forever is a choreographic retrospective of Merce Cunningham. And an extremely rare opportunity to see the work of this outstanding artist on our continent. The premiere of Cunningham Forever was made possible thanks to Cedric Andrieux, a director of the Lyon Opera Ballet, who was a member of Cunningham's company in the United States for a decade.