In a world shaking on its foundations, where shared spaces are less and less common and where conversations close more doors than they open, we are proud once again to be placing togetherness in the spotlight with this 23rd edition of the Festival de Marseille. What kind of city do we want to inhabit in the coming years? How can we step beyond all forms of compartmentalisation and involve as many people as possible in our Festival? How can the Festival provide, more than ever before, a platform for artists and the worlds they create? How can we give the initiative to dance, movement and the body? We defend dance not as an academic exercise offering entertainment, but as an accessible, generous, multi-facetted vocabulary in which our city's residents can express themselves and with which they can identify. Dancing, feeling what others feel, being who we are and being better people: these are undoubtedly the challenges of the Festival de Marseille.
Creating and imagining alternative new worlds: this is what drives and fascinates the artists we work with. They are storytellers, and they dance their stories. Of course, each of them works within a discipline, a tradition, a particular artistic landscape. But more importantly, these artists invite us to "move", to try out new perspectives, and to see the world, its people, and those around us with more dignity and love, by stepping beyond judgments and stigmatising remarks that social discourse all too often entails. Many fundamental and existential questions appear in a new light, and it will be possible, we hope, to provide more meaningful answers. The Indonesian choreographer Eko Supriyanto places women at the heart of a traditionally male world, but he also literally immerses us in the sea, in nature, and in key ecological issues. Thomas Bellinck from Belgium and Serge Aimé Coulibaly from Burkina Faso encourage us in very different ways to rethink the way Europe and the world relate to one another, highlighting new connections and new interactions. Fabrizio Cassol and Alain Platel bring life and death together in Requiem pour L., Nacera Belaza and Lisbeth Gruwez redefine our relationship with time. Éric Minh Cuong Castaing focuses our attention on bodies that are different: bodies that, despite disability, have great beauty and enormous potential. And Jan Lauwers totally shifts our relationship to history and love.
Marseille, with its rich histories and perspectives, more than ever before provides our Festival with its starting point and its horizon: who are the people in this city that we have to inspire with our programme? Which young artists deserve our support so that they can shape tomorrow's landscape, and what narratives does the city inform? We have "QG Mondays", when young artists from MarsLab show us their programme, and the "Festiv’Alliés", our friends who help us to embody the spirit of the Festival, and a host of collective projects in the framework of "MP2018"...together, with artists from all over the world, we create a shared space that is both European and cosmopolitan, but which is only possible in Marseille.
We are delighted to celebrate our "world city" with a highly diverse range of dance pieces and dancers. We opt for tomorrow's narratives and aesthetic initiatives, but our central themes are celebration and connection. The 2018 edition of the Festival de Marseille is thus in perfect harmony with "MP2018": our shared aim is to make an entire city move towards a common future full of love.
A warm welcome to all of you from 15 June to 8 July 2018!