“30 Years of Steps Experiences”

What would the Migros Culture Percentage Dance Festival Steps be without its artists? To mark the 30th anniversary, numerous choreographers who have presented their works at the festival over the past years, as well as directors of participating companies, were asked to make a statement about the festival, mainly focusing on their experiences and personal assessment. Reading these (sometimes informative, sometimes critical and often very encouraging) comments will surely also bring back many of your own memories of wonderful encounters.

Aakash Odedra

Aakash Odedra

The Steps festival has allowed us to bring possible partners to contribute towards the growth of the company from a solo-based entity to an ensemble that now has 7 dancers, so the festival has helped us become networked in an area where we were relatively unknown… I was so incredibly impressed with Switzerland, not only from a scenic perspective, but also by the comforting safe friendly environment, that returning home was a depressive affair. The level of care given to make sure the artist and the team were made to feel that they were 100 percent integrated and part of the fabric of the country, rather than outside guests, was unique. Also having a chaperone tour manager, Linda, provided throughout the full length of the tour, was crucial to making the experience smooth and seamless... Steps is able to give artists an experience in itself that makes one feel liberated to be a part of the artistic community. For many, it creates a safe haven for artistic freedom and practice. Steps for me has a reputation of a festival you can trust 100 percent... it is an international forum/hub for the arts and enables artists to make connections that, at some point later on after the tour has finished, continue to help them and to support new works.

Photo: Sean Goldthorpe

Akram Khan

Akram Khan

Switzerland is a very unique place. It always has been to me, especially because my mother used to tell me, when I was just a small boy, that Switzerland was the land closest to what heaven would look like. I don’t even know if she has actually been to Switzerland, but I do know that many Bollywood films in the ’80s and ’90s used Switzerland’s romantic locations for their feature films. And so perhaps my mother formed her opinions based on her view of Switzerland through the lens of Bollywood films.

The programming or curating of the artists in the Steps festival is by far the most varied, wide-ranging and versatile I have ever come across. I somehow really enjoy presenting my work in different cities within a country. It allows the artist to gain a fuller sense of the country.

I think Steps plays a strong role in the international network, partly because of the programming, as some of the artists in the Steps festival are also very present in many of the other big festivals around the world, like the Edinburgh festival, the Avignon festival etc.

Photo: Laurent Ziegler

Ballet Junior | Patrice Delay & Sean Wood

Ballet Junior | Patrice Delay & Sean Wood

La participation au festival Steps a permis au Ballet Junior de Genève de mieux se faire connaître en Suisse et à l’étranger. La compagnie a progressé en présentant un programme riche et varié composé de pièces signées par des grands noms de la scène chorégraphique actuelle: Sharon Eyal, Hofesh Shechter, Barak Marshall. Pendant la tournée (16 spectacles dans 11 villes) nous avons pu bénéficier d’une formidable prise en charge de notre quotidien grâce à un «tour manager» fabuleux. Nos moments mémorables: croiser les autres compagnies et chorégraphes, rencontrer des publics variés et toujours enthousiastes, bénéficier de la bienveillance d’Isabella Spirig, qui nous a suivi régulièrement, apprécier les moments de détente comme lors d’une soirée organisée pour nous à Zurich, découvrir certaines régions de Suisse et de nombreux théâtres. Nous gardons un souvenir merveilleux de cette tournée!

Pour le public suisse, Steps est une vitrine du monde chorégraphique international! Le festival Steps se distingue parce qu’il offre aux compagnies invitées une tournée dans plusieurs villes. On a la sensation de participer à un véritable événement!

Pendant le festival, nous avions pour mission de sensibiliser le jeune public à l’art de la danse au travers de spectacles, rencontres et ateliers; nous avons ainsi pu être en contact avec toutes les régions de Suisse, au-delà des cultures et des frontières linguistiques. Une compagnie suisse a rarement la chance de pouvoir toucher les différents publics de son pays, Steps nous a donné cette opportunité!

Béatrice Jaccard

Béatrice Jaccard

Wenn man im Rahmen eines Festivals quer durch die Schweiz geschickt wird, ist das toll.

Meine persönlichen Eindrücke von der Steps-Tour? Ein gut organisiertes Festival, und wir wurden gut betreut. Etwas schade war, dass wir fast nur an Orten spielten, an denen wir sowieso gespielt hätten. Neue, dezentrale Orte wären spannend gewesen. Es steht ja auch in fast jedem Tal eine Migros.

Bill T. Jones

Bill T. Jones

I think back with admiration and pleasure to my company’s participation in the Steps festival in 2000. Our itinerary was well organised, the audiences were open and enthusiastic and it gave us the opportunity to see Switzerland’s spectacular scenery like a montage from a touring film. We have never forgotten this and wish to congratulate the festival on the occasion of its 30th anniversary.

Photo: Stephanie Berger

Candoco Dance Company | Stine Nilsen & Pedro Machado

Candoco Dance Company | Stine Nilsen & Pedro Machado

Steps is one of the most prestigious European dance festivals. As we performed many times with an easiness when it came to logistics, the tour meant that our dancers could concentrate on one thing only: dance.

The scope and range of Steps, with so many national performances over a month, is unmatchable. This meant we could meet very different audiences as we performed in cities and smaller towns, but also in French-speaking and Italian-speaking Switzerland. It’s also highly significant that a festival such as Steps programmes disabled artists in one of its key programming slots. […] It seems that Steps works hard at cultivating audiences, taking its performing artists everywhere, with a concern for artistic accessibility. The high density of the festival also meant that we could see other artists and vice versa. This is a great opportunity for artistic dialogue and exchange, unavailable in festivals where we spent 3 or 4 days only. This was particularly significant for us, as we are now working with Eun-Me Ahn, a choreographer who first saw us at Steps.

Our personal impressions while travelling through Switzerland? Everything was so smooth and the short distances between cities were made more pleasurable by the dramatic landscape of lakes and mountains. Everywhere we went, we were well received and could enjoy local regional food (our dancers love eating) while basking in the all-encompassing Swiss culture. The efficiency and ease of travelling by train was also a real luxury compared to the UK!

Cathy Marston

Cathy Marston

Our participation in Steps raised our profile in Switzerland, allowed us to commission new music and to work with a band live on stage, which wouldn’t otherwise have fitted within our budget. It also gave the dancers the opportunity to get to know many Swiss stages and to ‘bond’ throughout the tour. As a choreographer, I benefited from all of the above, as well as the support and encouragement of the wonderful Steps team.

The multi-venue aspect [of the festival] is unique, as is the fact that there’s no ‘centre’. It feels like it makes a community of the whole country. I also love that it’s so intensely concentrated in time, so there are lots of dancers ‘scurrying around the country’ bumping into one another, watching each other’s performances. It feels like it’s a festival that speaks equally to the ‘dance world’ and ‘the rest of the world’! It’s not reserved for the ‘initiated’ and feels open to all.

Internationally, Steps has a respected ‘brand’ and draws attention to the fact that dance thrives in Switzerland. I like that it’s a connecting force between the free scene and establishment scene, as well as Swiss and international artists.

Photo: Isak Hoffmeyer

Cathy Sharp

Cathy Sharp

The opportunity to travel and to be exposed to other audiences in the other cantons of the country was important for the company. Our participation was also much appreciated by our public and sponsors at home, in addition to being a qualitative addition to the profile of the company.

The audiences [in Switzerland] were curious and excited to see companies other than those from their own region and they were open to different choreographic styles. I remember it was often said that they wanted to experience and feel something during the performance, so they could take that feeling and visual home with them.

The fact that Steps takes place throughout the entire country makes it special. It brings dance to the people and breaks the barrier for some who are shy of going to dance performances and into a theatre. The fact that international companies, as well as Swiss companies, are invited to perform and create, makes dance more accessible.

The national Steps network encourages cultural awareness and dialogue between the different cities in Switzerland, where there is much diversity of concepts, visions and approaches.

One vital and positive aspect, is that the Steps festival seems to be partly an extension of the international festival network, as sometimes there is a sharing of international artists. This therefore gives the cities, audiences and performers the chance to see and experience really high-quality art and dance.

Christian Spuck

Christian Spuck

Steps ist das grösste Schweizer Tanzfestival. In diesem Rahmen auftreten zu dürfen, ist eine grosse Ehre. Gleichzeitig ist es eine tolle Gelegenheit, um einem breiteren Publikum zu zeigen, dass Ballett nicht unbedingt dem Klischee entsprechen muss. In «Notations» war unsere Compagnie in drei zeitgenössischen Stücken zu erleben.

Bis heute begleiten uns tolle Erinnerungen an unsere drei Gastspiele in Mézières, Neuchâtel und Genf sowie an die Begeisterung des Publikums in diesen Städten. Gerade in der Schweiz, einem Land mit verschiedenen Sprachregionen und Kulturen, zeigt Steps durch die landesweite Durchführung einmal mehr, dass die universelle Sprache des Tanzes keine Grenzen kennt.

Steps ist weltweit das einzige Festival, das in einem ganzen Land stattfindet. Hier verlässt der Tanz sozusagen die Metropolen der Welt und kommt zum Publikum. Dadurch, dass Steps vor meiner Haustüre stattfindet, freue ich mich jedes Mal, wenn die Stadt zu diesem aufregenden Ort wird, an dem jeden Abend neue und inspirierende Tanzaufführungen stattfinden.

Ballett oder Tanz allgemein wird in der Schweiz eher unterschätzt. Als ein landesweites Tanzfestival fördert Steps nicht nur den Austausch unter allen Tanzschaffenden, sondern ermöglicht auch dem lokalen Publikum den Zugang zu dieser Kunstform. Steps zieht Aufmerksamkeit auf den Tanz und spielt daher eine wichtige Rolle in der Schweizer Tanzszene.

Photo: Jos Schmid

Daniela Neugebauer | Company Wayne McGregor

Daniela Neugebauer | Company Wayne McGregor

Steps was very important to the work of Company Wayne McGregor because although Wayne McGregor’s work is known and acclaimed internationally, it seemed relatively new to the Swiss audience. In my eight years in the company, we had not toured to Switzerland, apart from Chiasso. Wayne of course had choreographed for Ballet Zurich a couple of years before we came as a company, as part of the Steps festival too I believe, and this was the first time he had created work in Switzerland. Therefore, the Steps festival was integral to building our profile here.

It was wonderful to visit the different theatres and cities, which are all quite different from one another. For example, it was wonderful to have performed at Theater Basel, then to have been in Fribourg, a city situated in a very different landscape, and then in Geneva, where we performed in a totally different kind of building. It’s a great festival, pulling together artists, cities and venues – and ultimately a lovely tour through Switzerland.

Eric Gauthier

Eric Gauthier

Unsere Company war 2012 schon einmal eingeladen mit Christian Spucks «POPPEA//POPPEA». Wie sehr die Bekanntheit in der Tanzwelt und speziell in der Schweiz dadurch steigt, haben wir sofort im Anschluss bei den Tourbuchungen gemerkt. Durch Steps kam zum Beispiel der Kontakt mit dem Theater Winterthur zustande. Seitdem treten wir dort praktisch jedes Jahr auf. Dass wir 2018 sogar tanzpädagogischer Partner von Steps sind, ist eine Ehre, die uns besonders freut.

Wenn man durch die Schweiz reist: beeindruckend, wie super organisiert und sauber alles ist, selbst am Bahnhof Zürich! Deshalb würde ich sehr gerne mehr von der Schweiz sehen, obwohl ich so viel internationale Reiseerfahrung habe. Aber Steps wird mir jetzt hoffentlich die Gelegenheit dazu geben. Schliesslich sind wir gleich in sieben Städten in der Schweiz zu Gast.

Von anderen Festivals unterscheidet sich Steps ganz klar durch die nationale Präsenz. Wie cool ist das denn? Ein Festival, das nicht nur in einer Stadt zu Hause ist, sondern in vielen Städten im ganzen Land veranstaltet wird! Dass Steps dank der Trägerschaft der Migros die ganze Schweiz bespielen kann, ist fantastisch und macht mich fast ein bisschen neidisch. Mit dem COLOURS International Dance Festival haben wir 2015 auch ein grösseres Tanzfestival gegründet. Aber von einer Ausweitung auf ganz Deutschland können wir wirklich nur träumen.

Es gibt wohl keine internationale tourende Compagnie, die nicht gerne bei Steps eingeladen würde. Steps geniesst in der Tanzwelt wirklich einen Ruf wie ein Donnerhall. Umso stolzer macht es uns, nun schon zum zweiten Mal zu den glücklichen Auserwählten zu zählen.

Photo: Maks Richter

Eun-Meh Ahn

Eun-Meh Ahn

Steps was important for the success of my work, which was presented in Switzerland for the first time thanks to Steps’ invitation. It was a great opportunity to create a relationship with a new audience and increase the visibility of the company in Europe.

My impressions while travelling through Switzerland: I liked it very much. Beautiful landscapes, beautiful architecture. Very nice and warm people. It is very clean everywhere.

What is really nice with Steps, is that we could perform in different venues within the same festival. It is a festival that really cares about the artists and we felt at home in every city and theatre we visited.

Steps involves theatres in all parts of the country. It is really interesting to travel from German-speaking to French-speaking parts of Switzerland and see the little differences. What I also liked very much is how old buildings, like factories or former military buildings, were transformed into theatres – a thing we don’t have much in Korea. Internationally, Steps is a well-known festival with a high-quality programme that many presenters attend. It was a great opportunity to perform there and I hope we get the chance to come back.

Photo: Ok Sanghoon

Félix Duméril

Félix Duméril

Für eine Compagnie ist es erstrebenswert, beim Steps-Festival dabei zu sein, einem Spiegel der zeitgenössischen Tanzvielfalt mit einem ganzheitlichen Ansatz. Es ist ein Festival mit Betonung auf «Fest», das stets sucht: nach Verbindungen von verschiedenen Stilen, Inhalten, Formaten, Kooperationen, von Internationalem wie auch Nationalem, Aktualität, Unterhaltung, Humor. Tanzkultur wird als selbstverständlich vermittelt. Die kulturpolitischen Impulse – zum Beispiel mit den Symposien – motivieren und inspirieren zu neuen Perspektiven und Ansätzen, sie ermöglichen Dialog und Austausch. Ich persönlich wünsche mir, dass weitere Schweizer Firmen das Kulturprozent-Format kopieren.

Ich war immer sehr gerne mit dabei. Steps ist ein Zeitfenster, in dem auch die kulturellen Barrieren, Rösti-Gräben, Schweizer-Hemmungen und Ähnliches überwunden werden.

Für die internationalen Akteure, die die Schweizer Szene etwas kennen, ist das Steps-Festival durchaus ein Ideal. Ein Kulturmanager wünschte sich sogar eine internationale Zusammenarbeit, um das Modell Steps in anderen Länder zu exportieren. Vielleicht wäre die Tanzwelt ein wenig eine bessere, wenn es viele Steps in anderen Ländern geben würde.

Foofwa d’Imobilité

Foofwa d’Imobilité

Steps est une manifestation unique dans notre pays morcelé et multilingue, un exemple de diffusion et de collaborations entre les structures. Des spectacles accueillis par de grands théâtres ainsi que par de plus petites structures, afin de présenter de fins mélanges entre différentes approches de la danse. Il me semble que le réseau que Steps a réussi à créer est un modèle pour toutes les compagnies, réseaux de diffusion, liens entre les organisations, théâtres en Suisse.

Germaine Acogny

Germaine Acogny

Ma participation au festival Steps était un moment important dans ma carrière, puisqu’elle allait me permettre de me présenter et de m’installer sur la scène internationale. C’était mon premier solo après mon départ du Sénégal et il a récolté un fabuleux succès.

Les préparations de la part du festival étaient très professionnelles et les relations des plus chaleureuses. Les tournées étaient très bien organisées et communiquées: beaucoup de monde nous attendait partout.

Aucun autre festival ne nous a permis de faire des tournées aussi longues dans toutes les parties d’un pays.

Le réseau de Steps est extraordinaire et couvre toute la Suisse, ce qui est une chance pour les artistes et la population. Le rôle de Steps est de faire connaître la danse dans sa grande variété à la population, de chercher de nouveaux talents et de donner une chance aux nouvelles créations des compagnies connues ou encore inconnues du public.

Photo: Antoine Tempé

Gideon Obarzanek

Gideon Obarzanek

Steps is a unique and highly regarded European dance festival allowing for a comprehensive exchange between Swiss audiences across the country and international dance productions. Coming from Australia, this was a big opportunity for having my work so well introduced to Switzerland. Switzerland is such a beautifully scenic country it almost has an unreal quality. I can only assume beneath its utopian charm there may be some more gritty elements, however as an unenquiring guest I could only admire its beauty.

Unlike festivals in a single location or specialising in a particular demographic, type of performance or dance, Steps certainly seemed to celebrate a wide diversity of dance styles, presenting them to a broad audience across a vast network of communities.

Photo: Peter Greig

Gilles Jobin

Gilles Jobin

If I cherish the Steps festival very much, this is because it is the only travelling festival in Switzerland. It is so difficult for a Swiss choreographer to have work shown across our own country, that Steps brings a refreshing and powerful solution to the huge problem of the diffusion of our work in Switzerland. It was so beautiful during the 2016 festival to discover cities, dance spaces, audiences and landscapes across Switzerland in our last tour of “FORÇA FORTE”. In 2004, Steps was also the only festival to be interested in “Delicado”, a creation I did for the Gulbenkian Ballet of Lisbon. Thanks to the Steps interest, this creation has toured across Switzerland and would have otherwise been unnoticed by Swiss audiences and professionals. The festival has improved artistically over the years and its fine programme is bringing new works to new audiences across the country. My only regret is that it does not happen every year! Long live Steps! And for the century to come!

Photo: Gregory Batardon

Guilherme Botelho | Alias

Guilherme Botelho | Alias

Que Steps continue à arroser la Suisse de danse, avec ouverture, audace et pertinence.

Hans van Manen

Hans van Manen

Meine Beziehung zur Schweiz ist mit besonderen Freundschaften verbunden: Martin Schläpfer, der meine Arbeiten während seiner Zeit in Bern präsentierte, und natürlich Heinz Spoerli, bei dem ich oft in Basel und Zürich gearbeitet habe. Das Steps-Festival habe ich eigentlich durch Samuel Wuersten, eine weitere «Schweizer» Verbindung, näher kennengelernt. Er hat mich 2010 an einem Tanzsymposium vor Publikum befragt. Ich war sehr beeindruckt vom Tourneekonzept des Festivals. Das ist weltweit wirklich einzigartig und bietet den eingeladenen Künstlern eine viel intensivere Erfahrung. Schon das Reisen von einem Ort zum anderen durch die wunderschönen Schweizer Landschaften ist ein einmaliges Erlebnis. Wenn ich mit meinem Partner, Henk van Dijk, im Zug durch die Schweiz reise, schauen wir aus dem Fenster und stellen jeweils fest, dass wieder makellos gestaubsaugt wurde. Herzlichen Glückwunsch zum Geburtstag!

Photo: Erwin Olaf

Helena Waldmann

Helena Waldmann

Das Gute an Steps ist, dass das Festival die Aufführungen der eingeladenen Tanzcompagnien im ganzen Land verteilt. Ich habe fast alle meiner Stücke in der Schweiz gespielt, immer in Zürich, Basel und Baden. Steps bringt die Aufführungen aber auch an Orte, die nicht so gut mit Tanz versorgt sind, wie in meinem Fall auch nach Schaan, Steckborn und Delémont. Das war räumlich eine Herausforderung. Und, was das Publikum betraf, eine überaus positive Überraschung. Die Lust und die Neugier der Menschen, sich auf die Vorstellungen und die anschliessenden Gespräche einzulassen, war überwältigend. Das Konzept, den zeitgenössischen Tanz unter die Leute zu bringen, geht für mich voll auf.

Ich kenne kein anderes Festival, das so dezentral strukturiert ist. Bei Steps zu spielen, bedeutet ja, die Schweiz mit dem jeweils eingeladen Stück bekannt zu machen – eine Tournee durch das Land. Das ist absolut grossartig! Ich hatte den Eindruck, dass das über die Jahre aufgebaute Netzwerk viele Theater, besonders Stadttheater in kleineren Städten, befähigte und auch ermutigte, sich für zeitgenössischen Tanz zu öffnen, wofür das Publikum sehr dankbar ist.

Photo: Tina Ruisinger

Honji Wang et Sébastien Ramirez | Wang Ramirez Company

Honji Wang et Sébastien Ramirez | Wang Ramirez Company

Participer au festival Steps est un honneur: d’abord de par la qualité de sa programmation, ensuite parce que cela représente une reconnaissance et une marque de confiance envers notre travail et, finalement, car le festival offre une visibilité auprès de nouveaux spectateurs et dans différents territoires. Le soutien de Steps dans le travail de la compagnie est également une réussite et a été primordial. Il nous a permis de réaliser et de concrétiser nos projets. Il est un tremplin permettant d’élever nos créations au rang supérieur et d’aboutir dans une perspective de tournée importante au développement d’une nouvelle création. Sans nos partenaires, nous serions incapables de présenter notre travail artistique sur scène.

Nous avons été impressionnés par le nombre de spectateurs, qui aiment la danse et qui sont ravis d’aller en voir, ainsi que par l’accueil, très sympathique et détendu. Le festival Steps nous donne le sentiment d’être les bienvenus dans ses théâtres: on passe d’une ville à une autre sans jamais être déboussolé et on est entouré par une super équipe, qui s’occupe bien de nous. On a l’impression d’être à la maison. Le rayonnement du festival Steps dans le milieu de la danse est également très important grâce à sa programmation de qualité. Le festival Steps est l’un des festivals les plus dynamiques permettant la diffusion et la visibilité du travail artistique des compagnies dans un pays. Il est reconnu comme une plate-forme de danse internationale prestigieuse, qui favorise des échanges de qualité et facilite une vraie réflexion sur le travail artistique.

Photo: Jan Van Endert

Inbal Pinto & Avshalom Pollak

Inbal Pinto & Avshalom Pollak

Inbal: During the 30 years of the festival, we have had the honour of being hosted there three times. Each time was different: we performed with a different production, the dancers were changed, time had passed – the festival has grown and so have we. What distinguishes the Steps festival is its geographic dispersion throughout the country, which, with precise and meticulous professional planning, allows for a short and intensive time, in which to feel the people of Switzerland and the culture in the various regions, and therefore creates a unique experience. On your 30th anniversary, our wish is that you keep on and keep growing – and of course we wish you a happy birthday!

Avshalom: I don’t think that there is anything like Steps in other venues/festivals around the world: one organisation that hosts, tours, promotes and makes foreign companies accessible alongside local companies. I admire the Steps network and I am trying to figure out how to implement it in other parts of the world. I think that the international network should team up with Steps and absorb its great achievements and knowledge.

Photo: Gadi Dagon

Introdans | Roel Voorintholt

Introdans | Roel Voorintholt

Participating in Steps was important for the success of the company because it made clear that, also on an international level, INTRODANS is unique in developing repertoire for young audiences in combination with an intense, educational and active workshop programme. Working with different schools and teachers was also a challenge for us. And because of Steps, we also connected with Swiss choreographers like Jerome Meyer and Gisela Rocha.

I loved travelling in Switzerland: the country is very well organised and so is the festival. I like the fact that Steps is part of the Migros Culture Percentage. If you go to Migros, you see and hear information about the festival, so it means that lots of people can be part of it. It is not just for the elite.

Steps has a long history and tradition and is known by lots of people in the international network I think. Also the level of professional companies is high.

Photo: Hans Withoos

Ismael Ivo

Ismael Ivo

When I performed the piece “Francis Bacon” at the Steps festival, it was just after the premiere in Germany. It was a confirmation that the work was attentive to the very new and avant-garde. The festival had an eye for innovation and quality.

In Switzerland, my impression was one of meeting a public full of IMMENSE CURIOSITY.

[As to the role of Steps within the international network,] I believe it is behind. The Steps festival does not yet have a high profile in the international network. Not on the level of its importance and very high quality.

Itizik Galili

Itizik Galili

Participating in the Steps festival was like a jumping board in terms of exposure and new networking. It was priceless exposure for the NND/Galili Dance Company. Looking back, I have strong memories of travelling through Switzerland. It was my first visit. I remember seeing incredibly beautiful nature. As an extra, personal, joyful experience, this travelling happened in a bus from the ’70s that gave me the feeling I was part of a beautiful postcard.

What I find unique is that the festival not only approaches upper-class society, but also gives importance to bringing dance art forms to remote places for anyone to see. From my personal perspective, the Steps festival is not just an international venue that spreads all over the country, but a worldwide trademark, which brings and creates unique productions, performances and events related to dance.

Photo: Gadi Dagon

Marco Cantalupo & Katarzyna Gdaniec | Compagnie Linga

Marco Cantalupo & Katarzyna Gdaniec | Compagnie Linga

La dimension intercantonale, nationale, globale donne à Steps un caractère unique et une portée populaire - sans pour autant trahir la qualité de la programmation - qu’aucun autre festival peut, à ma connaissance, proposer. Voir sa photo sur les cabas de courses ou son paquet de sucre reste une expérience rare en danse contemporaine…

Le Festival Steps est le parfait exemple de ce qu’un réseau national, fédéré par un projet, peut offrir en termes de force artistique, publicitaire, budgétaire, politique. Il serait formidable que la même synergie puisse œuvrer, dans les années de «repos» de Steps, sur un projet présentant les nombreuses et excellentes propositions artistiques suisses!

Les compagnies internationales de renoms connaissent et respectent Steps pour son ouverture artistique, sa «polyphonie stylistique».

Photo: Gert Weigelt

Marisa Godoy

Marisa Godoy

The opportunity to perform within the festival was very important for us. Among other things, it made the work available to a more diverse and also broader audience, not only because we were travelling to various towns in Switzerland: this was noticeable mainly here in Zurich, our base, where I had the impression that our participation in the festival attracted to the theatre an audience that had not seen OONA project’s work before, and where ‘All is You’ was very well received. Steps is very well structured in terms of dissemination of the work it presents and the support we received was also important. One felt backed-up in regards to press releases, possibilities of interviews, previews and reviews in the main papers, and so on. The three-way co-production between OONA project, Steps and Gessnerallee was also very important to allow good working conditions for the collaborators.

Steps is a multifaceted dance festival. In short, I think it distinguishes itself [from other dance festivals] through a programme that is very broad, involving artists from different corners of the world and also from different dance aesthetics. The symposium offers the opportunity to meet with other dance practitioners and dance specialists in an atmosphere of discussion and interaction. As to the workshops for local dancers [which are part of the festival], invited dance companies or individual dance artists have the possibility to share their dance practices and discoveries with the dance community, which adds to the aspect of dissemination of artistic inquiry and practice.

Photo: Marisa Godoy

Mauro Bigonzetti

Mauro Bigonzetti

I’m strongly convinced that the success of a company is made [partly] by the venues that artists frequent, the atmosphere they breathe. This has a big impact on their motivation. In this sense, Steps had an important impact on my work with the company and on dancers themselves. Steps is an itinerant festival and this makes it possible to be in contact with other artists and companies all the time: exchanging, meeting, being in contact in an artists’ ‘melting pot’… this was very special.

I’ve worked several times in Switzerland beyond Steps: in Zurich, Basel etc… I must say that this country has always made me feel at ease.

Photo: Nando Vescusio

Meryl Tankard

Meryl Tankard

The Steps festival was very important for my company Australian Dance Theatre. It gave European audiences an opportunity to see our work that was created on the other side of the world. Steps has a fabulous network!

I personally loved travelling through Switzerland with the Steps festival. The theatres were beautiful, the landscapes quite magical and audiences brilliant and very appreciative. Always a nice surprise to visit the next space. There is something quite unique and intimate about each town, so there is a real feeling of ‘community’, which you don’t get in other countries. Every theatre had its own individual style. Audiences felt really close and were very warm always. Such a variety of venues from quaint proscenium-arch theatres beside lakes to industrial factories. All in such close proximity.

Michael Schumacher

Michael Schumacher

The range and quality of dance presented at the Steps festival is truly remarkable. I have been invited to the festival on three different occasions to present three completely different productions at an incredibly wide range of venues. It is the generous and diverse programming that sets the Steps festival apart on the international stage. I am sincerely grateful to have taken part in the legacy of this unique and wonderful celebration of dance.

Mourad Merzouki

Mourad Merzouki

Steps fait partie des rares festivals à accueillir sur la durée et c’est précieux pour une compagnie de pouvoir prendre le temps: rencontrer les équipes, les autres artistes, les publics, comprendre le pays… Rencontrer des artistes venus du monde entier et d’autres disciplines que celle du hip-hop est une véritable richesse pour moi en tant qu’artiste. Et cela a été important pour la Cie Käfig de s’inscrire dans une programmation internationale de cette envergure, car cela reflète le niveau des spectacles que nous proposons.

J’ai été touché par l’âme de ce festival, on y sent une équipe investie et portée par le désir de partager l’art sous toutes ses formes avec les publics. Et d’ailleurs de le partager au-delà des représentations, notamment en organisant plusieurs temps de rencontres entre artistes et publics, une démarche à laquelle je suis très sensible. Par ailleurs, toute la compagnie a ressenti une volonté sincère de la part de l’équipe du festival d’accueillir les artistes dans les meilleures conditions. Chacun des théâtres s’inscrivait dans une dynamique commune portée par une seule et même entité. J’ai perçu une feuille de route claire, véhiculant l’image de Steps de manière homogène dans tous les lieux.

La singularité de ce festival se situe, selon moi, dans la richesse de sa programmation, donnant à voir la richesse de toutes les danses, dans des propositions très éclectiques. Steps fait partie de ces rendez-vous qui suscitent l’intérêt des compagnies du monde entier. On ne peut que vouloir être partie prenante de ce festival qui est repéré dans le milieu pour sa pluridisciplinarité et pour son exigence de programmation. J’en garde un très bon souvenir, tant d’un point de vue artistique qu’humain.

Photo: Gilles Aguilar

Ohad Naharin

Ohad Naharin

In all the touring we did with Batsheva, the Steps tour in 2006 is fondly remembered and engrained in our hearts and minds. The festival’s unique concept, to tour, rather than perform in one place and then leave again, offers a rare opportunity to really connect to a country. Travelling from one place to the next through the picturesque Swiss landscape made a profound impression on all of us. Connecting to different audiences in each place where we performed was a most enriching experience. Happy birthday, Steps festival... here’s to many more!

Photo: Gadi Dagon

Rafael Bonachela

Rafael Bonachela

I have known about Steps for a long time and the festival celebrates the best that dance has to offer from around the world. As a choreographer and artistic director, it was a privilege to be invited and an honour to come all the way from Australia to share our company and work with audiences of such a prestigious festival.

Spring was in full swing and it was so stunning to travel through the picture-perfect countryside, where different languages are spoken from city to city. It doesn’t happen in every tour that you get to stay in the most gorgeous mountain resort, complete with open-air thermal baths, like we did in Monthey. It was a real treat for the company and perfect for the dancers’ bodies. We felt so welcomed and audiences were very enthusiastic and responsive wherever we performed. It was a great feeling to hear, at each curtain call, whether in German, French or Italian, a resounding “bravo” for Sydney Dance Company. It’s very rare to visit a festival that extends through an entire country – that was a different experience for us. Over a period of three weeks, we performed in seven towns to full houses. The festival itself runs with the precision of all things great and Swiss. It was a very busy schedule, always on the go between hotels, theatres, buses and trains. Very impressive and incredibly well organised.

Steps has a very important role within the international network because it’s a cultural event embracing dance in all its forms, styles and backgrounds. When we were there, I also participated in the full-day symposium on the future of dance, organised by the festival and attended by peers from around the globe. It’s important to bring dance leaders together to discuss and to celebrate the richness of our art form.

Photo: Ben Symons

Raimund Hoghe

Raimund Hoghe

Ich habe mich sehr gefreut, 2006 von Steps eingeladen zu werden und meine Arbeit in mehreren Städten in der Schweiz zeigen zu können. Es war sehr anregend, innerhalb weniger Tage in sehr unterschiedlichen Städten und Spielorten aufzutreten – vom Roxy in Birsfelden/Basel zum Theaterhaus Gessnerallee in Zürich, von der Aula der Gewerbeschule in Biel zum Théâtre Sévelin 36 in Lausanne. Heute, mehr als zehn Jahre danach, sind mir die Spielstätten noch immer sehr präsent. Steps ist sicher eines der wichtigsten europäischen Tanzfestivals.

Photo: Rosa Frank

Regina van Berkel

Regina van Berkel

Steps gave me wonderful support and two great opportunities to bring my creations to the Swiss public. These were strong and intense experiences, which gave a beautiful enrichment to my work. To have been able to travel through Switzerland in a short and compact time, performing in different theatres and locations, meeting very diverse audiences, was an exciting challenge. One exceptional aspect of Steps is the possibility to see modern dance all over one country in such a compact period. This brings a tremendous chance for exchange, sharing and attention to this art form. I congratulate Steps on this 30th anniversary and wish Steps a beautiful further journey.

Rocío Molina

Rocío Molina

Ce festival est élaboré sur la base de relations humaines profondes et de beaucoup de tendresse. Le soutien et l’amour pour la danse sont certains et c’est ce qui est transmis au public. Merci pour votre travail et votre soutien à des compagnies aussi différentes depuis autant d’années. STEPS est pour moi un festival plein de couleurs, accompagné par un public d’une grande jeunesse.

Photo: Pablo Guidali

Sabine Kupferberg und Jiří Kylián

Sabine Kupferberg und Jiří Kylián

Sabine Kupferberg und ich haben viele schöne Erinnerungen ans Steps-Festival. Ein Höhepunkt war die Koproduktion mit NDT 1, 2 und 3 von «Arcimboldo» im Jahr 2000 mit unvergesslichen Vorstellungen in Basel. Mit NDT 3 und Meryl Tankards Stück «Merryland» feierte NDT 3 in der Ausgabe 2002 des Festivals Erfolge im ganzen Land. Besonders am Herzen lagen uns die Tourneen von «Last Touch First» 2008 und von «Queen Lear» 2012, die als Koproduktionen von Steps und dem Holland Dance Festival gezeigt wurden. Steps ist durch das Intercity-Konzept wirklich einzigartig in der Welt. Wir gratulieren herzlich zum 30. Geburtstag und wünschen weiterhin viel Erfolg!

São Paulo Companhia de Dança | Inês Bogéa

São Paulo Companhia de Dança | Inês Bogéa

Being at the Steps dance festival was key for our company (SPCD) to successfully broaden contacts with the audiences who usually attend these performances from different parts of the world. Seeing our performances through their eyes and those of curators enabled us to sense echoes of our work – both its strengths and the points we need to work on. The cosmopolitan approach of the organisers and the opportunities to reflect and swap experiences with people also enhanced our international exchange experience.

We got a chance to show our work in six Swiss towns and cities (Winterthur, Monthey, Bulle, Morges, Biel and Zurich) with excellent structure at theatres and everything so well organised by the festival team. Such careful production is proof that Switzerland understands the significance of fostering the arts and education. This long-term investment by Migros as sponsor, along with other partners, shows that institutions play a crucial role in society, as key elements in cultural and social transformations. We have learned more about Switzerland through our contacts with its people and by discovering the particularities of each city. A member of the festival team accompanied our group on a day-to-day basis, so we quickly learned about many of the country’s features and characteristics.

There are several factors that distinguish Steps from other festivals, including its curatorial programme, hosting both established groups and newer ones, and its range from works that make immediate contact with audiences to the more provocative or investigative ones that reveal a variety of interesting possibilities in contemporary dance, as groups perform in different cities. The festival’s seminar, informal meetings and interactions also enhanced connections between artists. There was a great opportunity to interact socially in the relaxed context of a party organised for this purpose. Isabella Spirig’s curatorial initiatives are creating spaces for experiences, dialogues, exchanges, and performances with Q&As, meetings and experiences of the potentialities of the art of dance. I would also emphasise that festival events are usually held in one or more theatres in the same or neighbouring cities. So at Steps we learned a lot about Switzerland while having many performances with tickets sold in advance, thus making it easier to arrange a tour – particularly for us Brazilians, who are so far away from this country, geographically speaking.

The ability to bring together artists, producers, programmers, critics and the general public in several Swiss cities has created an instigating network, given the nature of the curatorial proposal of interacting with the burning issues of our time that are being reflected in dance politically, socially and artistically.

Photo: Daniele Duarte

Sharon Eyal and Gai Behar | L-E-V

Sharon Eyal and Gai Behar | L-E-V

Isabella and the Steps festival were among the first to see our potential and to believe in us – first as artists and then as a dance group. This kind of trust and belief gives you confidence, both in yourself and towards others. Our first piece ever shown in the Steps festival was “Corps De Walk”, performed by Carte Blanche, a Norwegian dance company; 2 years later, we performed “HOUSE” with our own dance group, L-E-V. This year we will perform a new L-E-V piece, which was co-produced with the Steps festival. This support is powerful and gives us the opportunity to establish ourselves as a significant dance group in the festival and also in the dance world in general. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that, together, we made a dream come true.

While touring, we’re all 100% concentrated on the work to be done, therefore we don’t have much time to observe the environment. Nevertheless, at the Steps festival, from the first correspondence, to the touring, through to the return home, we get nothing less than the most professional and caring environment, which encourages seriousness and most enjoyable work. The Steps festival enables you to have this experience on a national tour with a unique feeling of a family/homey atmosphere.

Photo: Amit Sides & Oran Avivi & Kobie Flashman

Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui

Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui

Not only has the nationwide network of Steps allowed and encouraged me as an artist to present my work to a large-scale Swiss audience, but without its support, some of my signature works, like “Babel(words)”, “Milonga”, “Fractus V” and “Icon”, would not exist. I’ve been privileged to know Isabella Spirig, artistic director of Steps, for about 10 years. She has followed my journey as an artist and given me valuable feedback throughout many creations.

Photo: Mats Baecker

Teresa Rotemberg | Company MAFALDA

Teresa Rotemberg | Company MAFALDA

Steps ist eine einzigartige Form, in der Schweiz zu touren, mit so viel Resonanz, Glamour und der grossen medialen Aufmerksamkeit. Für mich war die Teilnahme mit meiner Compagnie 2006 sehr speziell, weil aus diesem Anlass ein Dokumentarfilm unter anderem über meine Art und Weise, zu arbeiten, gedreht wurde. Und wir hatten einen tollen Artikel in der Zeitschrift DU.

Für mich war die Erfahrung wunderschön, weil auch im Vorfeld die Unterstützung durch das Festival da war. Wir konnten das Stück ein Jahr vorher kreieren und haben erst mal eine Tournee in Deutschland gemacht. Während des Festivals war die Organisation hervorragend, alles lief sehr gut, die Reisen und der gesamte Ablauf waren so gut organisiert, dass es auch immer wieder Momente der Ruhe gab. Schade ist immer, so erlebe ich das jetzt auch bei anderen Festivals, dass man wenig Gelegenheiten hat, andere Produktionen zu sehen.

Dass wir bei einem Festival eine Tour durch alle Landesteile der Schweiz machen konnten, zeichnet Steps besonders aus. In diesem Umfang ist mir das bisher noch nicht wieder begegnet. Wir konnten einige der Orte, die wir durch Steps kennen gelernt haben, danach mit andern Produktionen besuchen. Auf jeden Fall konnten wir unsere Möglichkeiten und unsere Bekanntheit in der Schweiz steigern.

Steps hat einen grossen Namen, der weltweit für Qualität steht. Das merke ich immer wieder an den Reaktionen anderer Compagnien, wenn sie realisieren, dass ich am Festival teilgenommen habe. Eine internationale Vernetzung ist allerdings direkt nach 2006 für meine Compagnie nicht entstanden. Seit 2013 hat sich das durch die Förderung von Pro Helvetia geändert.

Photo: Atwood Koschinsky