Diana Vishneva's Context festival

Saint Petersburg

October / November 2020

Diana Vishneva's
Context festival

The international festival CONTEXT. Diana Vishneva provides access to the best practices of contemporary dance. Each year the festival brings world premieres, unique collaborations, and critically acclaimed productions created by both recognized and emerging choreographers to the Russian audience. The festival also features documentary film screenings and a broad educational programme.

Over the course of the year, the Festival team travels the world in search of the most exciting contemporary dance companies to present their works to people in Moscow and Saint Petersburg.

Just as any context reveals a new trace of meaning even to something you’d thought was familiar and understandable, the CONTEXT. Diana Vishneva festival reflects the best contemporary dance has to offer. The festival aims to help the audience make a connection to the contemporary choreography and to see modern dance as a new world where choreographer’s social and personal messages are as important as the choreography itself.

«The productions you see at the CONTEXT. Diana Vishneva festival are edge and essence: the cutting edge of the world-class contemporary choreography and the essence of the leading dance festival in the country» — Afisha Publishing House

«A new festival of modern choreography appeared in Moscow and immediately threatened to overshadow all similar projects, as it was inspired by Diana Vishneva herself — this prima ballerina is a real expert in contemporary choreography like no other of her academic colleagues» — Tatyana Kuznetsova, Kommersant newspaper

The founder and art director of the festival is Diana Vishneva — a ballet dancer who easily “speaks” the language of the greatest ballet innovators of the XX-XXI centuries, from Martha Graham and Maurice Béjart to Mats Ek and Alexei Ratmansky. In 2013 she came up with the idea of a festival, later given the name CONTEXT. Diana Vishneva, that could become a laboratory where both Russian and international choreographers could show their creative writings and working methods to each other and to a wider audience.

In its first year, the festival attracted 2,000 spectators, and in 2016 the audience amounted to more than 9,000 people. Among the venues of the festival are the Mariinsky Theater and the Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Musical Theater, the Gogol Center, the Stanislavsky Electrotheatre, the Mossovet Theater, and the Documentary Film Center.

Over the years, the festival has brought to Russia many internationally acclaimed dance companies such as the Martha Graham Dance Company, Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet, the Ballet Company of Maurice Bejart, the Suzanne Dellal Center, the Richard Alston Dance Company, Introdans, Gauthier Dance, Netherlands Dance Theater: NDT II, Ballet Preljocaj, Ate9 dANCE cOMPANY, and NANINELINNING.NL. The festival showcased works of such renowned contemporary choreographers as Mats Ek, Hans van Manen, Marco Goecke, Ohad Naharin, Jiří Kylián, Maurice Béjart, Martha Graham, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Angelin Preljocaj, and Aszure Barton.

Theatre and dance professionals see the festival as an opportunity to expand their creative abilities and career horizons, while emerging choreographers and performers are given a chance to reach a whole new international level in their experience. The educational programme of the festival is constantly developing, its aim is to present rare documentary films about choreographers and artists, conduct lectures with the leading choreography academicians, and hold workshops by celebrated foreign dance companies and choreographers. The festival was the first to hold a series of public talks ContextSpeaks with prominent choreographers and dancers on art, career and life, and also workshops for ballet photographers, dance critics and make-up artists.