Solid-Air and the new era of festivals

Photo: Solid Air Festival

By Cristina Vázquez

It is commendable that, from independent production, the binational artistic duo made up of the French Sarah Matry-Guerre and the Mexican Renato González launch the first edition of Solid-Air, an online festival dedicated to dance, where the importance granted to international cooperation makes it possible for 18 countries to be represented in the programming, which takes place from April 1 to 25, 2021.

Although the pandemic triggered the exhibition of artistic work in virtuality, this pair of dancers and choreographers found a different mechanism to promote the creation of young colleagues by combining dance with film and offering the public something more than the visual register of a show.

Solid-Air accommodates a diversity of cultural expressions such as documentaries, video dance, digital animation, dance-theater, interactive works and proposals that explore sound art. And its diversity is also thematic, as it reflects on identity, the LGBTTTIQ community, man’s relationship with nature, ambivalences, human confrontation and the use of our voice.

The festival offer comes from Germany, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, Ecuador, Spain, Slovakia, United States, France, the Netherlands, Italy, Israel, Mexico, Poland, Switzerland and Taiwan. These are key countries in the generation of contemporary dance proposals.

Both the richness of dance formats and themes, as well as the different trajectories of the thirty artists and companies, and the wide range of nationalities that make up the program, highlight Solid-Air’s values: inclusion, diversity, equity and creativity.

The relevance of this festival is its birth outside the institutional sphere and the different way of disseminating and consuming the arts. The public chooses what they can and want to see from the 41 works, including eight world premieres, and creators are favored by receiving 70 percent of the revenue generated at the box office, under the modality of pay per event.

The minimum cost of the tickets is three euros (equivalent to 74 pesos), there is a fee of 7 euros (equivalent to 172 pesos) and a solidarity fee with the artists, in which the public can contribute a greater amount of resources.

The program comprises no less than 11 Mexican groups and soloists: Lux Boreal, Cuatro x Cuatro, Laleget Danza, Foco al Aire, the UNAM Choreographic Workshop, Moving Borders, Proyecto al Margen, Catalina Navarrete, Yuki Pastrana, Omar Carrum and Renato Gonzalez.

It should be noted that Solid-Air marks the debut of the Working Ensemble Company (W.E. Cie), a civil association, headed by artistic directors Sarah and Renato, with the mission of promoting art and exchange between artists (their plan is to organize residencies between France and Mexico), and also among audiences from widely divergent latitudes. And it is precisely the virtual stage that allows breaking established borders.

It is the purpose of the company, headed by the Franco-Mexican duo, for the festival to transcend the barriers between disciplines. It is true that it focuses on the work of the body, but it puts it in dialogue with the visual arts, science and technology.

Solid-Air will take place once a year, for four weeks, with the intention is to enrich it with master classes and lectures. The platform that hosts the festival will remain throughout the year to offer seasonal programming online in order to gradually form audiences, to familiarize them with pay-per-view while supporting creators financially.

By recognizing diverse work, inclusion, and equity in cultural and artistic expressions, we can actively participate in these efforts from our trenches, be they creators, audiences, managers, presenters, and other arts professionals.

More information about the festival can be found on the website: solidair.art and at @SolidAirFest (on Facebook) and solidairfest (Instagram).

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