The Croatian Institute for Movement and Dance (The Institute – Hrvatski institut za pokret i ples) is a not for profit organization instrumental in pioneering and enhancing infrastructural support for the independent contemporary dance and mime in Croatia. This multifaceted organization prides itself with several ongoing projects that have left a lasting impact on the development of the dance sector in the region. Through a series of interconnected projects The Institute has produced and promoted several generations of Croatian dance artists contributing substantially to raising awareness for contemporary dance in Croatia as well as forging partnerships for international cultural exchange and collaboration, ensuring an increasing presence of the new generation of Croatian dance makers on international markets. The Institute’s work is multi-layered:
- promotion, production, presentation, education, information, networking.
Dance Week Festival (Tjedan suvremenog plesa), founded by Artistic Founding Director/ Producer Mirna Zagar is The Institute’s longest standing project. This annual international festival of contemporary dance has since its inception in 1982, presented well over 500 internationally acclaimed artists and companies and has positioned contemporary dance and its appearing expressions firmly on the Croatian cultural scene.
The Institute’s activity in area of promoting the Croatian contemporary dance idiom is visible through several major undertakings: -In 1992, The Institute presented over 250 Croatian artists to Copenhagen as part of the introductory events leading to Copenhagen-Cultural Capital of Europe;
- The Institute has for over 10 years championed the regional presence for the international choreographic event “Rencontres Chorégraphiques Internationales de Seine-Saint-Denis” and has produced award winning authors (Borut Separovic, Emil Matesic); -
- In 1997 The Institute presented Croatian mime and dance at the Veem Theater in Amsterdam;
- The First Guide to Croatian Contemporary Dance and Movement Theatre published in English in 1998 and distributed to venues, festivals and dance promoters world-wide;
- In 2002 an emerging generation of Croatian dance makers is presented at a networking session at the Archa Theatre in Prague, and later that year in ZekaeM for select German presenters;
International collaboration and networking through the Informal European Theatre Meeting and with the European Mime Federation resulted in a unique model for alternative education in the performing arts: MAPA(Z) – Moving Academy in Performing Arts (Zagreb, Amsterdam, Berlin). The project spearheaded by Mirna Zagar (Zagreb) and Ide van Heiningen (Amsterdam) resulted in a series of collaboration and research based projects bringing together independent dance and theatre makers from across Europe. This supportive network not only supported professional development but also provided solid ground for a network aiming at enhancing mobility and collaboration in the arts between former Eastern Europe and Western European based artists. Through MAPA, the Institute introduced a unique model of alternative skill enhancement seminars and workshops (Arts Management, Light Design, Technical and Performing Skills, Dramaturgy for Dance), for the practicing performing artists working in the independent sector in Croatia. Most of the Institute’s current project leaders were recruited through this system receiving valuable management training, as did several artists leading today’s developments within the sector received moving on to create their own performing units and to teach as MAPA instructors throughout Europe (Matko Raguz, Ivana Muller, Alexander Acev, Denis Sesnic, Andrea Bozic, Zak Valenta etc). Through The Institute numerous Croatian dance students received opportunities to continue their dance education at European dance institutions.
The Institute provides a platform for start up initiatives by emerging dance artists frequently leading to formation of their own respective companies and other spin-off activity (Emil Matesic, Edvin Liveric, Irma Omerzo, Iva Nerina Gattin, Marija Scekic, Marjana Krajac).
The Institute facilitates information flow on, about and for dance among audiences at large, governments and professionals through diverse activity such as electronic newsletters and web-based information (PLESNE NOVICE – www.teatar.hr), publishing, open forums, round-table discussions, workshops, seminars, and holds a unique dance specific video-library.
On the tracks of its successful publishing activity (First Guide to Croatian Dance; Modern Zagreb; Corpographics – 20 Years of Dance Week Festival) The Institute in 2005 embarked on the compilation of a historic archival DVD featuring Milana Bros (one of Croatia’s key contemporary dance authors) along with the history of her unique dance ensemble (KASP – Komorni ansambl slobodnog plesa/ Chamber Ensemble of Free Dance).
Within its educational and networking activity in addition to collaboration within the MAPA network, The Institute is partner to the pan-European dance apprenticeship program D.A.N.C.E. spearheaded by Random Dance (UK) , Cie Preljocaj (FR) and Charleroi/Danses (B). The Institute, along with CCN Ballet Biarritz and Festvial Le Temps d’Aimer Biarritz (FR), Dantzaz San Sebastian (E) partners with the Centro Ricerca Arti Sceniche Contemporanee and the Biennale Danze e Italia in the organization of the International Choreographic Competion in Pesaro, Italy 2006.
The Institute in partnership with the City of Zagreb, Office of Cultural Affairs, spearheaded in 2004 the development of a Centre for Dance in Zagreb, soon to open doors.
A unique source of information for dance in Croatia of interest to the international markets, The Institute continues to be a unique networking point towards local, regional and international collaboration and a multitude of educational and touring opportunities.