Bolzano Danza is a leading festival of contemporary dance, both nationally and internationally. Organised by the Haydn Foundation, it brings its contagious energy to the city every July, attracting a diverse and enthusiastic audience. Inclusion, participation and sustainability are key to the festival. It is open to societal diversity and ready to capture our world in a state of flux – through the universal language of dance.
The performances, which showcase the best contemporary choreographers and dancers and encompass a wide range of genres and languages, are centred around the Teatro Comunale, from which they radiate out to a number of prominent venues throughout the city, reshaping its perception thanks to projects involving artivism and social interaction. Alongside the performances, the festival also offers dance workshops of all styles organised by the Südtiroler Kulturinstitut.
of the Festival
Bolzano Danza is born as a spin-off of Bolzano Estate’s classical dance section. The new festival, comprising both performances and dance workshops, is organised by the city and province of Bolzano. Loredana Furno is the first artistic director; Ulrich Roehm is responsible for the workshops.
Ulrich Roehm and Giuseppe Carbone are named co-artistic directors of the festival. They invite leading European ballet schools as guests. The Roland Petit Evening, with Alessandra Ferri and the Ballet National de Marseille, is a great success.
Lanfranco Cis is appointed artistic director and remains supported by Ulrich Roehm until 1996. The festival makes a decisive turn towards contemporary dance, becoming a bridge between Central European and Mediterranean culture. Bill T. Jones, an icon of African-American dance, is amongst the guest artists this year.
Angelin Preljocaj and Carolyn Carlson make their first appearance at Bolzano Danza; they will return on several occasions.
The festival and dance workshops are reorganised: the former is coordinated by the province’s Department for Italian culture, the latter by the Department for German culture. The individual editions of Bolzano Danza become thematic.
Maguy Marin presents her masterpiece May B at the festival.
Bolzano Danza is handed over to the Nuovo Teatro Comunale – Auditorium Provinciale Bolzano foundation. The Teatro Comunale di Bolzano becomes the main festival venue, the festival itself is is recognised by the Italian Ministry of Culture. Italian debut of Red Giselle with the Eifman Ballet.
The festival celebrates its twentieth anniversary with Trisha Brown, Marie Chouinard and Germaine Acogny. From this edition onwards, the festival will increasingly give space to female choreographers.
Manfred Schweigkofler becomes artistic director of the festival. Bolzano Danza expands under his leadership. Alongside the performances in the theatre there are various free open-air events in the city and in spectacular venues such as Sigmundskron Castle.
Shen Wei presents the European premiere of Re–Parts I, II & III at the festival.
Bolzano Danza is becoming a “Festival 2.0” with an increasingly inclusive nature, reaching the urban public space with its new outdoor section and implementing various projects that involve the local community.
Emanuele Masi is appointed artistic director for the Dance and Opera departments of the Teatro Comunale di Bolzano, thus also for the festival. Bolzano Danza hosts the Italian premiere of Tragédie by Olivier Dubois, which will be followed by a long series of premieres in Bolzano by the French artist.
Organisation of Bolzano Danza passes to the Haydn Foundation with Emanuele Masi becoming the festival’s artistic director. The festival is revamped under his leadership, with a focus on social inclusion, sustainability and interactivity. Each edition is entrusted to an external guest curator. Rachid Ouramdane participates in Bolzano Danza for the first time with Tenir les temps; he will subsequently become an associate artist and return on several occasions.
Gauthier Dance//Dance Company Theaterhaus Stuttgart, which has participated in Bolzano Danza before, becomes an Associate Company of the festival for the period 2018 to 2022. Michele di Stefano is appointed Guest Curator of the festival’s Outdoor section for 2018.
The festival reinvents itself with EDEN – Danza per uno spettatore (Dance for One Spectator), an innovative response to the pandemic: each performance in the theatre has only one spectator and one dancer, a symbolic encounter between two “primordial” human beings in search of lost perfection. The project receives the Danza&Danza prize from the Italian critics.
A three-year collaboration commences with the Ballet national de Marseille, led by the (La)Horde collective, which becomes an Associate Company of Bolzano Danza for the years 2022 to 2024. The German company Gauthier Dance//Theaterhaus Stuttgart is named Principal Guest Company until 2024.
The festival in figures
Emanuele Masi (Trento, Italy, 1977), curator, has been the artistic director of the Bolzano Danza Festival since 2013. A graduate of the Conservatorio di Trento and the Accademia Pianistica Internazionale di Imola, he has worked in theatre and dance organisations, collaborating with some of the major theatre institutions in northeast Italy. He served as artistic director of the Teatro Comunale di Bolzano and of the dance seasons of the Teatro Sociale di Trento as well as an artistic consultant for the Trentino-Alto Adige Dance Circuit from 2018 to 2020. He has been a member of the Italian Cultural Council of the Autonomous Province of Bolzano since 2014 and is currently a member of the Board of Directors of the Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio Foundation in Bolzano.
In 2010 the educational project Oper@4u, co-curated with Carlo Delfrati, won the Abbiati Prize for Italian music critique. In 2021 the EDEN project, conceived as a response to the first lockdown within the Bolzano Danza Festival, was awarded the 2020 Special Prize by Danza&Danza magazine. Since 2021 Emanuele Masi has been artistic consultant of the Fondazione Musica per Roma for the programming of the Equilibrio Festival and dance activities at the Auditorium Parco della Musica in Rome.
“Through contemporary dance we speak about social inclusion, equal opportunities, environmental sustainability – in other words, the great challenges of our time. And also, as it should be, about raw emotions.”
The Haydn Foundation of Bolzano and Trento is one of the most eminent centres of artistic innovation in Trentino-Alto Adige. Its mission is to support high-quality symphonic music, opera and dance, promoting intercultural dialogue and encouraging social and personal growth. Since 2015 it has been organising Bolzano Danza, a festival that has developed its own strong identity by focussing on inclusion, sustainability and experiments with various styles and languages.
In sync with the environment, taking responsibility for the planet. At Bolzano Danza we pay attention to ecological sustainability in all its forms: from supporting social inclusion to numerous Going Green initiatives to reduce the festival’s carbon footprint. At performances, for example, we encourage sustainable mobility and efficient energy use, and distribute reusable water bottles to avoid unnecessary waste.