international improvisation festival, 15th edition

  1. 22 – 25 / 07 / 2021
    25 – 28 /
    09 / 2021
    26 – 28 / 11 / 2021

A few seconds of a phone call informing us about the disease being closer; movement of the ground under our feet which suddenly removes the feeling of stability in everyday life, and as a consequence leaves the dysfunction of our living and/or working space, which lasts longer than we could have expected; news about even more extreme disasters in other parts of the world, which cease activities and lives, and point to the threat of a total ecosystem failure…  

Why and how we create here and now?

As in every year until now, the program design was guided by rethinking the actual needs and the state of the art scene, as well as the society. Lately, we have all been experiencing the impossibility of planning, demands for multiple adjustments with regard to new safety measures, new spaces, new circumstances… Openness towards the moment, mutual listening, collaboration and being with what is, represent the basic knowledge acquired through improvisation and the foundation of our resilience and creativity. Through Improspekcije we are interested in affirming improvisation as an approach, a way of thinking, creating and continuous confronting the ever-changing ‘now’. In the time we live, improvisation gets a new meaning and the experience and skills acquired through long-lasting practice of improvisation give us support and knowledge of how to survive in the performance, as well as outside of it.

Through performances, discursive and experimental formats, the program of the Improspekcije festival explores various corporeal, social and political aspects of improvisation in its broadest sense, it presents the work of internationally renowned improvisation artists, Sara Shelton Mann / Abby Crain (Moving Alchemy Workshop and the performance The Other Side) and Kirstie Simson (workshop ‘Improvisation as a Life Practice’ and performance ‘AIRE, solo for our mothers’), continues old collaborations and opens space for new ones, both locally and with international partners, and support the work of local artists with special focus on the influence of the pandemic on the artistic work and production. The following works will be presented: ‘Invisible Dance’ by Irma Omerzo, ‘The World of Kisses, not Stones’ by Antonija Dorbić, Lana Šprajcer, Marta Krešić and Danijela Vukadinović, ‘In Free Translation’ by ‘Magija’ dance company and Sanja Josipović, as well as works by young artists who have just completed their dance studies at the Academy of Dramatic Art in Zagreb.

In collaboration with the Academy of Dramatic Art of the University of Zagreb, through the project ‘Curating in context’, the program presents a two-part experiential lecture by Varinia Canto Vila ‘Should/Could/Can: Movement within the relation of law and life’. In collaboration with Movement Research from New York, through the Global Practice Sharing program we continue the OPEN Exchange, an interdisciplinary and intercultural dialogue between artists from the U.S., Iran and Croatia.

I part

22 – 24 / 07 / 2021, Svetvinčenat
Sara Shelton Mann / Abby Crain: Alkemija pokreta

25 / 07 / 2021,  Svetvinčenat
Sara Shelton Mann / Abby Crain: Druga strana: Noć sanjarenja

There is a party outside and fireworks inside, the kind that keep you awake for centuries or busy for lifetimes. Light that candle and dance.

The Other side is a work (partly structured, partly improvised) by Sara Shelton Mann, for the soloist and her long time collaborator (since 1996), phenomenal performer Abby Crain. Sara makes her works in tight collaboration with her dancers, weaving in high level of dance technique with risk and surprise of improvisation, fuelled by energetic work and healing knowledge.

With Abby’s gifts being sourcing a character in an improvised performance, combining great physicality and flowing language, Sara will shape the solo around Abby telling us a story, involving the audience. A long poem written in the style of calligraphy of the body from times spent pondering the nature of life during the  ancient period or a future space:

‘We are entering the yellow zone, drought in the west, tornadoes riding in flooded boats down the southern streets, debris falling from the clouds like snowflakes,  the impact like hailstones on the border, the sound of a gun and the smell of death at your door. May I touch your breath/kiss your bones? There is a party outside and fireworks inside, the kind that keeps you awake for centuries or busy for lifetimes. Light a candle and let’s dance/ p.s. will you buy me a house in nirvana, take away all our suffering, love me forever and ever.’

Mann’s art is of a piece with her healing work and political engagement: it is meant to reveal and transmit the story of our collective humanity.
It is a puzzle without a beginning or end. Framed, condensed and constructed through the consciousness of performer and witness, the work functions as both façade and transparency, to look through and listen into. We imagine what they will do next, and what they are thinking.

In explaining her process for making of solos with and for her performers, Mann wrote: “I open the ground and track it as a guide and follow the progress of the terrain chosen by the individual. Some chose the difficult path, some chose the surreal dream of extinction, some the practice of perfection…I have chosen, and I do not choose. People find me. I have become a hermit in a cage and those who find me have to find the key to the door.” In her making, she extends this dynamic, almost mystical relationship with her dancers and the forces they together channel into exquisite form.

duration: 30 minutes
performer: Abby Crain
choreographer: Sara Shelton Mann
Performance will exclusively be made for the Svetvincenat dance festival.


II part

25- 26 / 09 / 2021, ADU Zagreb i Ljetna pozornica Tuškanac
Kirstie Simson: Improvisation as a life practice 

27 / 09 / 2021, 7 pm , Museum of Contemporary Art Zagreb
Kirstie Simson: AIRE, solo for our mothers

This solo was originally created to honor my mother who passed away eight years ago.
I imagined her spirit released to fly freely with the red kites, magnificent birds that are native in her country of Wales.
My mother inspired me to seek freedom in my life.
This solo is my way of expressing gratitude to all the women who have fought hard for women’s rights and is an expression of my desire for all women to be free.
I subsequently discovered I have inherited a genetic condition from my mother that has been passed down through the generations. In the solo I ponder how we can honor the lineages that have created us by how we live our lives, in gratitude for opportunities we have that past generations were denied.
With freedom comes responsibility.

28 / 09 / 2021, 5 pm, Krešimirov trg, kvart Medveščak
Irma Omerzo: Invisible(dance)
site specific performance

project author and choreographer: Irma Omerzo
performers and movement authors: Viktoria Bubalo, Anđela Bugarija, Ema Crnić, Lara Frgačić, Una Furač Štalcar and Ariana Prpić
composer and musical accompaniment: Stanko Kovačić
dramaturgy: Jasna Jasna Žmak
costume designer: Zdravka Ivandija Kirigin
ballet associate: Andreja Jeličić
photography and video recording: Jasenko Rasol
production: MARMOT
The performance has been financially supported by the Ministry of Culture and Media, and the Department of Culture, Education and Sports of the City of Zagreb.

The new project by Irma Omerzo derives from the specific circumstances of the artistic production in the time of the global pandemic, which have drastically reduced various opportunities for togetherness. Displacing the performance into the public space of the Zagreb neighbourhoods, in this new project Omerzo asks a somewhat utopian question of how little, or how much is needed to make contemporary dance visible in the public space, for a performance to happen from an everyday situation, for someone who is not a part of a usual dance audience to suddenly become one.

At the same time, this project is a continuance of the author’s rethinking of the working conditions on a dance stage in the domestic context and outside the pandemic time, considering the fact that the question of invisibility and the lack of working space are constants which invariably follow the cultural activities in the domestic independent scene. In that sense, “moving out to the street” in this project involves double motivation. The choreographic material is thus detached from everyday movement and draws on various kinds of coded bodily practices, exploring communication capacities of our bodies in the public space. The performers thus build a joint network in which various modes of corporeal signalization and communication are exchanged, occasionally playing with ballet vocabulary, as the most codified part of dance register. On the other hand, modes of urban invisibility are choreographically investigated through the derivation of movements from various (semi)illegal practices. The combination of these diverse kinds of materials creates a choreography which initiates a dialogue with various urban topoi temporarily transforming the street space into performance space, creating ways in which dance exists, but in which it can also be accidentally discovered by spectators. Invisible (dance) thus invites its audience to follow it and discover it, moving synchronously with the pulsation of the neighbourhood.




III part

26 / 11 / 2021, 7 pm, Museum of Contemporary Art Zagreb

Evening of student works:

Anika Cetina, Ela Đimoti, Jeanne Lakits, Dora Pocedić: JADE

The body allows itself to be seen, by choreographing the body’s relation to the camera. The choreography is a result of an intimate interaction of the performers with the camera tool. Performers work with their personal/public/virtual space to escape its normatives and to stress their vulnerability.

We search to destabilize the spectators’ comfort that comes from enjoying and indulging in the performance from afar. So we indulge in the choreography afar from the spectator. Authors and performers: Anika Cetina, Ela Đimoti, Jeanne Lakits, Dora Pocedić.

This work was made in the academic year of 2019/2020, in the production of Academy of Dramatic Art of University of Zagreb, during the study program of Contemporary Dance, Performance division, in the course of Choreography 4, under the mentorship of Nikolina Pristaš.

Valentina Miloš: l (s)
Ela Đimoti: nice things inside
Anika Cetina: Anna, balla

27 / 11 / 2021, 7 pm, Museum of Contemporary Art Zagreb

Antonia Dorbić, Marta Krešić, Danijela Renić i Lana Šprajcer: World Of Kisses Not Stones


We are the products of a long selection process of chemical, biological, and cultural structures that at different levels have interacted for a long time in order to shape the funny process that we are. About which we understand very little, by reflecting on ourselves, by looking at ourselves in the mirror.

The Order of Time, Carlo Rovelli (2019)

Choreography unfolds on the cloud underneath the soil and speculates about time that does not pass, but is omnipresent, contained in the world of things. The world on the cloud underneath the soil is always in a gentle, restrained, continuous motion. Time is without the unity and/or direction; affirms the multiplicity and diversity of temporalities – of stones, humans, worms and microbes – which, by repeating, renewing, rebuilding on the network in continuous motion, create temporary images and events –

on the cloud underneath the soil, things are rounder and softer,

Differences in the surfaces of

things are blurry, always continuing and permeating gaze

multiplicity of perspectives does not diminish the distance but only distributes it

extending continuing imagining

a constant and mutual establishment and annulment of the world through encounters.

By each pairing with the choreography, dancers are renewing and expanding their knowledge and understanding of potential events and situations on the cloud underneath the soil.

The difference between things and events is that things persist in time; events have a limited duration. A stone is a prototypical ‘thing’: we can ask ourselves where it will be tomorrow. Conversely, a kiss is an ‘event’, It makes no sense to ask where the kiss will be tomorrow. The world is made of kisses, not of stones. On closer inspection, in fact, event the things that are most ‘thing-like’ are nothing more than long events.

The Order of Time, Carlo Rovelli (2019)

28 / 11 / 2021, 8 pm, Museum of Contemporary Art Zagreb

Nikolina Komljenović i DISKOlektiv : Most

exchange performance

Artistic directors: Sonja Pregrad and Zrinka Šimičić
Production: Multimedijalna koliba
Partners: Academy of Dramatic Art Zagreb, August Cesarec Centre for Culture and Cinema, Dance and Non-Verbal Theatre Festival San Vincenti, Movement Research GPS, Museum of Contemporary Art Zagreb
Supported by: City of Zagreb, Ministry of Culture of Republic of Croatia, GPS/Global Practice Sharing program of Movement Research with funding from the Trust for Mutual Understanding
Improspekcije2021 festival is part of Antisezona project.