In 2008, when we were unveiling widespread globalisation in dance here at the C/U Festival and reflecting on the meaning of emigration in dance and its shape, we were certain that the trend would only develop further. We presented a fierce showcase of cultures born in the 21st century and squared up to the myths, stereotypes, and fantasies associated with African and Asian cultures by providing a platform for artists hailing from these continents.
Ten years later we are witnessing the reversal of the trend: an inward turn towards oneself and one’s heritage.
The 2018 edition of the C/U Festival welcomes artists who ask us and themselves some very personal questions. They do not judge or direct the discussion towards any unambiguous answer. They confront stereotypes and draw on their respective nations’ rich traditions to talk about their present. Their personal experiences recorded in the performances foster empathy and understanding, prompting the audience to question the familiar. They provide a starting point for a discussion on Europe, the Arab world, and each and every one of us.
The artists combine their nations’ music traditions and new forms of dance and performance art to tell a contemporary tale of the new meeting the old over and over again. Indirectly, they touch upon the current geopolitical problems. The performances echo with the tensions building up in the Middle East, where the artists hail from. They tackle demolitions of ancient buildings, the fragility of objects and human life, bicultural identity, exile, absence. They explore illusions and hopes associated with art as well as notions of subjugation, manipulation, and mutual dependence. At a time when all eyes are on women, they investigate how men are coping with the world they live in.
And so, igure it out! Where are you right now? Figure it out!! Is the East near or far? Figure it out!! Are you well-oriented? Look around! Stay alert, watch the world change around you. Look inside yourself, you might want to reorient, if you’re lost… Orient yourself!