Connecting audiences to personal stories of artists from around the world


Dance Bridges Festival 2019 brings to the city an interesting mix of events and workshops. There will be no less than 40 artists hailing from 15 countries to take part in this 5 day art extravaganza working around the theme of “The Sense of Intimacy”. This festival is a very unique one. The performances captures the pulse of contemporary life and thinking. This uniqueness is captured through each of these artists and each of these regions of the world.


This dance biennale founded in 2015 by Vanessa Maria Mirza supported by an international team based in the U.K, Taiwan and France has grown from strength to strength. Now in its third editionApart from Vanessa, associate director Dam Van Huynh from UK and artistic programmer Pierre Palluet were also present for the curtain raiser.


The opening day performances took place at ICCR featuring Asomates Dynameis Dance Company (Cypress), Tijmur Dance Theatre (Taiwan), Gabrielle Revlock (USA) a piece by Vanessa Maria Mirza and Martin Piliponsky Braier (Argentina). The festival saw participation from other renowned dance groups and artists like Massala Dance Company, Florent Schwartz, Harm Weistra, Julianna Ottlick, Compagnie Humaine, Dadans, Papia Chakraborty, Buoyant Performing Arts, Syimah Sabtu, Subhajit Khush Das, Stefano Fardelli, Parth Bharadwaj, Pintu Das, Van Huyhn Company, Pietro Marullo, Casey Avaunt, Diya Naidu, Purnendra Meshram and Vanessa Maria Mirza.


Talking about her experience, Vanessa said, “I was inspired in the beginning in 2014 to try to create a small onetime event in Calcutta for artists to meet and share their work, which developed into a festival in 2015. It had an amazing response from artists, audiences and participants. And so I dared to dream to create an organization to support the Festival as an International Dance Biennale with smaller events in between for years. I was lucky to be able to have an international team to support this as well as Indian based advisers and board members. I think it’s important as artists not to be too easily satisfied with what we are creating and where we are at, and to be aware of what is happening in other parts of our country and around the world.”

Making this event extra special is the ambition of Vanessa to ensure the Festival is open to all by offering most events free of charge – apart from workshops requiring a participation fee. Performances and showcases will take place across Kolkata inviting the national and international audience to discover our unique city whilst watching some of the finest contemporary dance made today. Dance Bridges Festival has at heart to engage with local artists and connect them with artists from around the world. For this edition, 3 international choreographers have been offered the opportunity to spend a few days in Kolkata to create new dance pieces with local performers, which will then be presented during the Festival. The various venues of DBF includes ICCR Kolkata, Alka Jalan Foundation (Ballyngunge), Alliance Française du Bengale, International Management Institute (Alipore), Kolkata Centre for Creativity (E.M. Bypass), American Center and Quest Mall.

This year’s theme “The Sense of Intimacy” reflects a wide range of shows connecting audiences to personal stories of artists from around the world. “We will explore performances in unconventional settings and bring the viewers closer to the performers to create a space for unique and personal encounters. We will look at how turning our focus towards deeper human connections may help us to cope with our changing world and society,” signed off Vanessa.

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