Picture: Luciana Croatto (Diario Rural)

The 7th edition of the Margen International Dance and Nature Festival unites forest with art, community with territory, and tangible with intangible heritages. The interdisciplinary festival, directed by Samuel Retortillo, will take place from 26 – 30 June 2024 across different villages of La Rioja, in Northern Spain, an area of the so-called “emptied Spain”, an extensive region with towns inhabited by few people whose access to culture is almost non-existent. The Rural Choreographic Center operates in this territory, carrying out “cultural reforestation” work.

Within this context, the Startup Forum group proposes to include an outdoor adaptation of REFACE by Les Idoles (Chandra Grangean and Lise Messina), a piece whose transformative concept can spark curiosity and discussion amongst an audience which is not used to seeing dance.

Alongside the festival, the group formed by Samuel Retortillo, Simona Deaconescu, Nina Fajdiga, Tony Tran, and Masako Matsushita will gather for the kick off of “Growing Movements”, a curatorial think tank to discuss new practices and ways to make dance programming and presentation more equitable and accessible. Through the idea of Dance Reforestation, they will explore themes such as decentralising urban dance culture, non-human territory, fostering community bonds through dance, and using the natural landscape as an eco-sustainable stage for dance.

The goal of the curatorial team, composed of artists and producers from Spain, Italy, Slovenia, Romania, and Norway, is to actively diverge from traditional networking by deconstructing its current form and imagining new collaborative methods.