The Gdańsk Dance Festival (est. 2009) is a year-long project that consists of the Residency/Premiere competition, the Tri-city Dance Point (featuring premieres and presentations by local artists), the International Competition Solo Dance Contest, and the main programme showcasing some of the most intriguing dance theatre shows from Poland and abroad. The Gdańsk Dance Festival is organised by Klub Żak based in Gdańsk.
The idea of Festival was derived from the tradition originated by previous contemporary dance events: Baltic Dance University, Dance Explosions, and the Gdańsk Dance Corporation (est. 2002). Its aim is to present and promote contemporary dance, stimulate artistic growth and cooperation, while also fostering international exchange between artists.
The Residency/Premiere project encompasses performances by Polish artists, developed in the course of biweekly residencies. Performances are selected by means of a competition; the creation process is overseen by a mentor—an experienced, esteemed international choreographer. Residencies conclude with premieres of newly developed pieces. So far, the project has seen the realisation of over 35 performances supervised by such coaches as: Marc Vanrunxt, Roberto Olivan, Arkadi Zaides, Trajal Harrel, Jozef Fruček, Linda Kapetanea and others. Since 2017 the residency has been open to foreign dancers.
The festival is accompanied by the Solo Dance Contest (formerly known as the Baltic Movement Contest) for a solo miniature for dancers from around the world. The competition attracts over 150 entries, with 30 artists invited to present their performances in Gdańsk. The project provides a platform for networking and conversations on art. The international Jury provides each dancer with individual feedback and then selects the finalists. The pool prize is € 6000, as well as a special audience award. The Jury is made up of artists, curators and critics of dance such as: Susanna Leinonen, Ann Van Den Broek, Ismael Ivo, Roberto Zappala and Laurie Uprichard.
One integral part of the festival includes dance workshops addressed to children, advanced dancers, and professional dancers (master classes), respectively. The workshops are held by artists from Poland and guests from abroad. Aspiring researchers and dance critics may participate in dance criticism workshops.
For a number of years, the festival has also been accompanied by the international Baltic Movement Conference, covering such issues as organization and funding, contemporary dance development strategies and promotion and analysis of the staging strategies of dance artists.
Current festival curators: Agnieszka Fortenbach, Maria Miotk
Curators of previous editions: dr Katarzyna Julia Pastuszak, Leszek Bzdyl, Joanna Czajkowska, Anna Haracz, Anna Steller.