Outreach Chile 1 · By José Laginha

Chile outreach was a great opportunity to meet Danzalborde festival, to get to know a little more about the contemporary dance scene in Latin-American countries. It was a great pleasure to get in touch with Chile, Santiago and Valparaíso communities, should I underline this very beautiful, colourful and unique city. Beyond the festival official programme, there was also time to visit a few structures devoted to dance around Santiago.

I found Danzalborde to be a very well organized festival. It follows it main objective, to present contemporary dance from different Latin-American nations. The festival suits its presentations to whatever stages are available – either ordinary theatres, streets or neighbourhoods are set to host performances.

The festival face it’s the city itself. Take a look at the rainbow layered alike houses, built to withstand any quake the Earth can throw them. Unstable, but sustainable. Danzalborde is multi-cultural, but its roots are deep grounded in the Latin-American traditions. The festival sparkles creative breakthroughs. To foreign eyes, as my own, it may look sometimes naif, but always very honest. Most definitely. An outsider, such as me, can only take a limited, quick glimpse. Anyway, Danzalborde organizers were bright and careful enough to choose a diverse and solid sample of what’s going on around that continent. From all I’ve seen on stage, a structural guideline seems to be present. The political, social and economic zeitgeist is often a much underlined background to most creations, as well as a strong sense of community.

I found it to be a privilege to see such a well-organized and outspoken dance festival with an enthusiastic and very involved young audience. There may be, or nor (?), an organized network of dance creators. But it really doesn’t seem to matter. They all seem to share the same values, unkike what’s happening today in Europe.

Across the Atlantic, European creativity in on dire straits, longing for ideas, lacking the ability to share them, and loosing itself in the constant yearn for funding and financial support. Ironically, such everyday status only blinds it to what’s happening in the social and political scenery.

If you take some distance in consideration between the two realities, I think the Latin-Amercian scene can teach us how to approach dance in today’s liberal obsessed, production-prone, all about profit Europe that we are living today.

Parallel meetings and talks were also a great experience. Both local directors and programmers had the chance to know about the EDN network. I would also like to highlight the seminar with the students of the Valparaíso University Architecture course. They were interested to develop what a dance house should be properly designed. Bringing the festival into the campus was a very smart move I should credit the organizers. A very good example of how separated worlds can easily come together.

In Santiago de Chile we had the opportunity to feel the pulse of the local contemporary dance community. Nave was a big surprise. It focus on supporting and hosting creators. Seen from an architectural and conceptual point of view, it’s truly outstanding. But most impressive, it is a place artists can really call home. Designed and thought by artists. No detail was left behind.

I’m very interested in a future work with Nave, through partnerships in order to support some of the creators they will receive at there residency center. Being two centers who were born of individual wills, with the same matrix – being alternative and support contemporary dance particularly the one “outside the system” – I think that would be very profitable that we approach and share work and experiences.

José Laginha
Artistic director at DeVIR/CAPa Faro
29 December 2015