Every year the New York Coil Festival features the most innovative dance and performance productions from all over the world. This year, the Austrian contribution was Anne Juren and Annie Dorsen's Magical, an homage to recent feminist cultural history of the female body, lauded by both the Village Voice and The New York Times.
Magical quotes Valie Export's iconic Aktionshose: Genitalpanik from 1969 as well as Yoko Ono's performance, Cut Piece, in which she lets the audience cut the clothes from her body until she is naked. The piece also contains a nod to Marina Abramovic, who auto-aggressively cut her own flesh until she bled.
The Austro-French performer Anne Juren, who lives and works in Vienna, developed this performance three years ago with the New York choreographer Annie Dorsen, for a production commissioned by Szene Salzburg and Impulstanzfestival and supported by the Austrian Cultural Forum.
Magical has been performed more than 40 times around the world, providing further proof that the Austrian dance and performance scene has been able to draw international attention for quite some time. In 2012, the Cultural Forum invited Saskia Hölbling, Anna Mendelssohn, and Doris Uhlich, among others, to perform in New York. All this traces back to a partnership with the dance platform Movement Research, which has enabled the ACFNY to present Austrian artists in the legendary "Monday Series" at NYC's Judson Memorial Church – the holy grail of modern expressionist dance, as it were.
Presenting dance and performance – which is currently a focal point of Austrian cultural diplomacy – is as much a part of the Austrian Cultural Forum's day-to-day endeavors as is organizing concerts, curating exhibitions, planning panel discussions, and maintaining the only Austriaca library in North America. The results are often wonderful and creative combinations in collaborative practice: We were, for instance, able to bring together Austrian composer Bernhard Lang and choreographer/dancer Silke Grabinger. They created a nearly hour-long piece "Moving Architecture," dedicated to our building, and premiered it on the occasion of our tenth anniversary. In the performance, Grabinger managed not only to be the soloist of the piece, but also to coax an entire musical ensemble to move to the sounds. She has since been invited to present her work at Movement Research as well.
This short glimpse into dance is meant to present but a small excerpt of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' and the Austrian Cultural Forum's dedicated work towards giving young emerging artists who are still unknown in the United States an opportunity to present themselves to an American audience. (Andreas Stadler)