ŻﬁnMalta, National Dance Company, under the Artistic Direction of Paolo Mangiola, is a talented and adaptable dance ensemble. Established in 2014, the company is one of the country’s leading public cultural organisations, at the forefront of Malta’s contemporary art scene. ŻﬁnMalta provides a space for artists to develop and take risks, contributing to an open and expansive dance ecology in Malta and internationally, and providing opportunities for aspiring, emerging and established dance professionals to realise their potential and connect with audiences and communities. The ŻﬁnMalta repertoire features a multiplicity of voices and works, from neoclassical to conceptual, and including a number of full-length works. The company attracts highly sought after choreographers, who are given the scope to fully realise their artistic ideas while involving the company dancers more deeply as active contributors to the creative process. ŻﬁnMalta enrolls a group of 10 young dancers from Malta and across Europe, who bring to the company the virtues of diversity and versatility. The company is also committed to creating work for young audiences, and all productions come with bespoke workshops and public engagement programmes.
Choreography, being a practice of organising groups of people in action, can and must be a manner of pointing towards ideal forms and systems for individuals and societies. Regardless of the achievability of these utopian models, the fact that a certain choreographic system shows clear evidence of being beneficial for the group involved, is of great value. It is a daily practice of striving to achieve — within the artistic realm — that which is un-achievable (and probably has no place) in the real world.
Utopia is the result of a collaboration between Emanuel Gat and the ŻfinMalta company dancers, a celebration of their uniqueness, virtuosity, engagement, fearlessness, sense of responsibility and humanity. In a stream of choreographic consciousness, Utopia charts the personal journeys of ten individuals looking for connection and examining the role of the performer as an onstage, live creator.
ON REEFS AND ERODED LANDS WE DANCE
Taking inspiration from the Svalbard seed bank – a vault built to contain the world’s most prized crops in case of an apocalyptic event – this work explores the possibilities of what we as humans select and conserve as essential elements to protect and preserve life on earth. In a bunker charged with the synthesis of Paolo Mangiola’s lavish choreographic images, the organic modular structures and digital projections of Matthew Attard, Goya’s ethereal soundscapes, and Moritz Zavan Stoekle’s atmospheric lightscapes, the dancers perform the memory of a life that was, from the luminosity of coral reefs to forests and cities swarming with activity.
GIRLS & BOYS
Overgeneralization is a human tendency; a tendency which lies at the core of Girls and Boys.
Five girls in black, on a narrow white floor, dancing a dance, exposing themselves to stubborn cliches of femininity, which appear at every turn. Voices go up to please, to protest, to pacify. Gestures are minimal, flirtatious, as if taken from the catalogue of male fantasy. Kisses are thrown into the air, legs are spread, tushes rock from side to side – like men love. Five boys in black, on a narrow white floor, dancing a dance. Exposing themselves, too. Voices go up to plead, to berate, to pacify. Gestures are temperamental, familiar, as if taken from the cards of human history. Punches are thrown into the air, chests are puffed, legs drilled in a left-right-left march – like men love.Girls and Boys was not made with the intention of shining a light on the current zeitgeist of gender identity and fluidity. Boys can be boys can be girls can be boys, Girls can be girls can be boys can be girls, can be both can be neither and should be respected, regardless. More than a comment on gender stereotypes, or the current fluidity of gender roles, Girls and Boys targets the ‘brainwashing’ of males and females about how they should think, speak, dress and act. Five women and five men are gathered here in a complicated dialogue, with the expectations of society sitting invisibly, mightily, inescapably upon their shoulders.