Bold new creations and collaborations with leading Maltese artists, alongside works by international dance luminaries, make up another wonderfully diverse 2023/24 season for ŻfinMalta, Malta’s National Dance Company.
Through a packed programme of productions, education and participation, Artistic Director Paolo Mangiola reveals: “This season, our focus shifts to the notion of voyage and exploration. We immerse ourselves in new works that touch on tradition and humour, storytelling, and fantasy; works that offer hope and solace and a place to reflect and be moved.”
It also marks the beginning of ŻfinMalta’s journey towards its 10-year anniversary, a time in which Malta’s national dance company has undergone a period of extraordinary growth, drawing recognition at a local and international level.
The season begins with Aerial, Mangiola’s new creation for Notte Bianca, a collaboration with the pianist Tricia Dawn Williams and a dialogue between dance and music, seen from an aerial perspective. In December, ŻfinMalta presents its first Christmas production, with direction and original music performed live by The New Victorians and choreography by Adriano Bolognino. A dance theatre adaptation of the Christmas book Ħolm tal-Milied? by Trevor Zahra, this full family experience takes audiences on a nostalgic ride, juxtaposing classic Maltese traditions with a contemporary musical score and aesthetic.
Kicking off 2024 is ŻfinDays, an annual double-bill featuring two short works. Cantata by Mauro Bigonzetti, one of Italy’s pre-eminent choreographers whose credits include Artistic Director of Aterballetto and productions staged at Teatro alla Scala, is a personal quest to combine the traditional musical heritage of Southern Italy with choreography that is evocative of its wild, Mediterranean origins. In contrast, Aringa Rossa.10’ by Ambra Senatore, Director of the National Choreographic Center in Nantes whose work has been performed at Théâtre de la Ville, uses clues, games, and fragmented scenes in an encounter with the dancers in which they take over the choreography.
Returning in March and presented as part of maltabiennale.art 2024, is Intimate Żfin, a series of choreographic miniatures created by Mangiola and performed with Alexandra
Alden and her band live in the space. April sees the return of Dances for Gozo, commissioned by the Ministry for Gozo. This double-bill at the Aurora Theatre features Cantata by Mauro Bigonzetti, and the new work Flesh and Stone by Canadian choreographer Lesley Telford, whose fascination with the myths of the Ġgantija giants of our past imagines how the power of those who came before us may seem super-human.
In May ŻfinMalta joins forces with Ballet D’Jerri, the national dance company of Jersey Island, in Geographers of Solitude by Paolo Mangiola. Twenty dancers come together to explore what unites the two islands through distinctive geographical and cultural landscapes, and one extraordinary migratory bird, the Arctic Tern. ‘Voices at the End’ is a double-bill by Mangiola, presented as part of the Malta International Arts Festival, and the final production in the ZfinMalta season.
An extensive line-up of education and participation programmes, and online activities, continues to make ŻfinMalta a space for artists to develop and take risks, and a place for aspiring, emerging and established dance professionals to realise their potential and connect with audiences and communities. This season includes open classes, intensives and training for young and professional dance makers, as well as community classes for participants with no previous experience. Open Rehearsals take audiences behind the scenes during the creation process, and Movimento and the Artist in Residence programme continue to demystify contemporary dance and provide a space for the exploration of ideas and new work.
ŻfinMalta national dance company approaches this milestone anniversary in a period of great strength and growth, with an increasing international profile and an extensive touring schedule. Confirmed tours include Gorizia Dance Festival, Belgrade Dance Festival, Teatro Ariosto in Reggio Emilia, the Jersey Island premiere of Geographers of Solitude, and a three-city tour in Germany.
Download the full programme from www.zfinmalta.org.