For the partners of the CLASH! Project, the months February-March 2020 have been particularly intense, full of activities dedicated above all to the theme of Audience Development, designed and coordinated in its main guidelines by Petra Kašparová of 420People. Organized quickly and effectively to keep up with the many ongoing initiatives, Portugal and Italy were the first countries to set up two AD workshops each.

On February 19th, Companhia de Dança de Almada has organized in its studios an Open Rehearsal, plus a Q&A session, in order to bring a large community – groups of students, members of cultural associations and/or social solidarity organizations – closer to the world of professional dance. Approximately 35 seniors and youth in organized groups have been welcomed at the company’s facilities, where they have watched the work of the dancers, consisting of a warm-up class and rehearsal of pieces from the repertoire, and also chatted informally with the choreographers, teacher, rehearsal director, and dancers. The senior group was also invited to a short workshop in creative dance practice.

Balletto di Roma, institution open to 360 degrees from contamination with other worlds and experiences and firmly convinced that the premises for giving the idea of a meeting/clash are to exchange skills directly, has considered necessary to be in contact with choreographers from another company in order to make the concept of hybridization of languages and choreographic codes immediately visible and tangible. Once decided to exchange the Company expertise with Polish Dance Theatre, from February 18th to 22nd Balletto di Roma has hosted three dancers/choreographers from Poland to work with three dancers from Italy. Here is the feedback of Agnieszka Jachym, coordinating this inspiring choreographic activity, strongly desired by Artistic Director of PDT Iwona Pasinska in order to improve the expertise of her dancers:

“It was very interesting and satisfying to see the progress: how dancers of BDR learned the material and developed it within 5 days. We wanted that choreography to become their own story so they could feel comfortable performing it. Therefore, we asked them to create own movements that were a base later to combine them differently and insert into the piece. Dancers of BDR are focused on ballet technique mainly so exploring floor work tricks or learning various partnering (based on contact improvisation) were challenging. Just as for choreographers! Discussing different ideas of three of us and finding compromises so we have one vision of the show, also coherent dramaturgically. This exchange was great, rich experience artistically and on psychological level-to meet new people, get to know yourself and each other better, creating trust”.

On February 21st, Balletto di Roma has organized in its main venue an event called “Education Meets Professionals at BDR”: an important moment for the students of the CAP (Professional Start-up Course) and of the advanced courses of the Balletto di Roma School to attend the rehearsals of the above-mentioned creation which was running in view of the Festival Clash On Stage.

On February 25th, Teatro Vascello, Balletto di Roma invited the same group of students to attend the rehearsals and premiére of the re-staged creation “Sogno, una notte di mezza estate” by Davide Valrosso. The group has attended also an introduction talk by the Artistic Director Francesca Magnini who has introduced the history of the work and the details related to the creative process of the Shakespearian piece. Davide Valrosso is also the choreographer chosen to complete the exchange of competences with the Polish Dance Theatre for the Clash! On Stage Festival and in this sense, the circulation of knowledge is evident through a full
recurrence of themes and techniques related to dance practice.

The goal of both the AD activities of Balletto di Roma has been to expose the students to professional work practices under the guidance of expert artists and teachers in order to encourage them to think, research and communicate; to develop an open mind and a generous attitude in the rehearsals room and on stage; to be closer to the Company’s work. The target group was identified on the needs of Balletto di Roma to increase the interaction between the students and the professional contemporary activities, once selected a group of older students who were just starting to interact with the dance company on a professional level.

On March 6th, in the Auditório Osvaldo Azinheira – Academia Almadense a session has been held, open to all interested audiences with the presentation of an excerpt of the play “Inverno” by Companhia de Dança de Almada and the debut of the short film “Seven Days of Winter”, directed by Henrique Pina, followed by a presentation by Pedro Sena Nunes and Q&A session with the presence of authors Henrique Pina, Bruno Duarte and Luís Malaquias, moderated by Ana Macara.

In recent years, Ca.DA – Companhia de Dança de Almada has been proposing to carry out video dance projects that bring out the crossing of languages as a way of opening new aesthetic paths, innovating and expanding its cultural and artistic intervention in the community and stimulating the development of new audiences for contemporary dance. In this context, director Henrique Pina was invited to reflect on the dance piece “Inverno”, the latest choreographic work created in 2019 by Bruno Duarte for Ca.DA, in co-production with Teatro Municipal de Bragança. This is how the short film “Seven Days of Winter” emerged, based on that work, inspired by the winter traditions of Trás-os-Montes (Northern Portugal), and translating into a cinematic vision of that piece. After a whole process of research on the cultural heritage of Trás-os- Montes, we took the Ca.DA artistic team to that region for an artistic residence, from where they brought images, sounds, and signs of the ancestral mystique of that region.