ADVOCACY EVENT | zašto Zagreb u 2024.

(uskoro na HR)

Zagreb has a long and rich history of the independent dance scene, while 2024 marks the centenary of Rudolf Laban’s dance group performance in Arts Pavilion Zagreb which had an immense impact on modernizing dance in the region. 

Since then, the continuity of innovative, avant-garde and critical contemporary dance has been part of Zagreb’s rich artistic and cultural life. Since the end of the 1990s, we witnessed an expansion of self-organizing artist-led collectives and initiatives that created a unique contemporary dance scene which introduced self-organization, experimentation, networking and struggle for a better artists’ social status. It has made Zagreb a leader in the region and a recognizable scene in Europe, despite its precarious status and unstable working conditions.

Several generations of independent dance makers created not only their authorial visions but worked tirelessly as organizers, producers, educators, and communicators on national, regional and international levels, maintaining the continuity of choreographic innovation, opening new spaces, fighting for working conditions, developing their audience and public discourse. 

One of the greatest achievements was the opening of the BA in dance 10 years ago at the Academy of Dramatic Arts in Zagreb, so dance art finally gained academic status, and new generations of dance professionals are now studying in Croatia. 

Notwithstanding the continuity of artistic innovation and tireless work on structures, dance in Croatia is still the only professional performing art form that doesn’t have an institution, thus it is still (100 years later) entirely based in the independent sector. So, behind the scenes of our productions, festivals and international tours, dance artists live in constant precarity, financial and social instability leading to burn-out, giving up in the early stages of professional development, and compromising artistic visions.

We, as a group of lifelong dance artists, experts based in Croatia and supported by our colleagues from the Nomad Dance Academy, the region and Europe, are activating our knowledge, energies, passion and visions, and committing to find new models for institutionalizing dance in sustainable and stable, dynamic, decentralized and intergenerational way for dance to keep on growing, moving and creating new values. 

We stand on the position that the dance profession in Croatia needs urgent recognition as a multilayered and fully developed art and cultural sector.
Without institutionalized and stable structures, our knowledge, experience, artistic achievements and understanding of the importance of continuity will erode, leaving no real capital or heritage to the new generations as well as the long-term efforts and labor invested from both sides – the dance scene and the cultural policy-makers.

Therefore we are inviting you to join us in developing new forms of structure for contemporary dance and performing arts prioritizing:

  • Foundation of a stable and professional platform for dance theory, archive and practice research

Dance art has produced a huge amount of practical and theoretical knowledge. What is needed is a strong grid and support to archive all this expertise. It is necessary to have a database for the students and scholars, from which they can feed their discourse and academic work, and to secure the rich history for the future. Practice research is a key necessity for any further development of the dance art field.  The future institute would support and provide a solid and safe environment for artists to research, protecting the art processes from liberal pressure of quantitative evaluations. 

  • Stable and professional structure and strategy for emerging artists 

The future of the dance art field needs serious strategy: the circumstances in the international context are changing rapidly, the number of new artists coming from the educational system is growing and the existing models of production and public funding are not responding adequately to the growth and needs of the future scene. A stable structure would provide frame for both building new strategies and models of production for the emerging scene.

  • Long-term policy for regional and international collaborations 

The Croatian dance scene (as well as other regional scenes) is connected to the international scene almost exclusively on the basis of individual efforts and initiatives. We need institutional support that would come up with a long-term policy of connecting and networking. For this we need to professionalize the work of producers, curators and managers.