Concert review: Montpellier Dance Festival June 22-July 6

Montpellier Dance has maintained its leading significance for over three decades due to the artistic leadership of Jean-Paul Montanari.

July 8, 2013 21:59
1 minute read.

‘THE GOLDLANDBERGS’ Emanuel Gat 30. (photo credit: Emanuel Gat)


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With dozens of summer festivals all over France, Montpellier Dance has maintained its leading significance for over three decades due to the artistic leadership of Jean-Paul Montanari, a key player who often goes against the current, spotting upcoming trends and taking risks.

Only two years after a politically bold decision to expose 10 Israeli creators in one edition, this year he nominated Emanuel Gat as associate choreographer for the 33th edition.

Gat’s work was presented daily through two premiers; Goldlandbergs – previewed at TA Dance recently – and Corner Etudes, both designated for the Corum’s huge stage and a new site-specific piece set to music by Wagner, designed for the inner courtyard of the old monastery that houses the festival's headquarters.

Crowds flocked daily to see, in an unprecedented step, open rehearsals of Corner Etudes. Gat also presented a photo exhibition, the byproduct of his creative process, as well as a video installation for a single viewer at a time in a cave under the foundation of the complex.

No wonder that, when asked in a press conference if he thinks his overwhelming presence isn’t a bit megalomaniacal, he hesitantly uttered, “maybe.”

The buzz around Gat aside, the festival had a rich program to offer, with superstars like Israel Galvan, who revolutionized Flamenco dance. He took on an ambitious task with In Real, a choreographic memorial monument to the Gypsy genocide in WWII. With emotions running high, he revealed in a private conversation for the first time that he comes from a Jewish family.

Akram Khan, one of the top names in dance today, presented his latest work, Desh, dedicated to Bangladesh, homeland of his family, and which was certainly one of highlights of the festival.

His solo, so rich in texture, images and sounds, reminded us of the transcendence of dance, where the specific and local becomes universal.

It’s impossible to name all the participants, but there are two that must be mentioned: Boyzie and Panaibra, a duo from South Africa (Soweto) and Mozambique that managed to raise poignant political and social issues, and Dairakudakan, w

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