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“Getting closer” is the motto of the forthcoming dance festival Antistatic

Willy Prager from the Antistatic international festival: Competitive festivals are a thing of the past

Photo: antistaticfestival.org

Willy Prager is one of the founders of Antistatic. The festival was launched in 2008 in Sofia as the only forum of its kind and is part of the Balkan modern dance network “Nomad Dance Academy” for popularizing and promoting modern dance and performance in the countries of the region.

Prager graduated from the Berlin University of the Arts, the university in Plovdiv, as well as the experimental drama classes 4ХС. He has worked with some of the world’s top directors and choreographers. He is holder of the Prix Jardin d’Europe from the Impulstanz international festival in Berlin (2013).


On his latest choreography project - “Less might be more, but sometimes less is just nothing” - he is working with students from the Academy of Dance and Performance of the National Centre for Dance in Bucharest. The show, inspired by the Spanish disco company Ballet Zoom, is on the programme of the 14th edition of Antistatic.

“I took a line from the message conveyed by visual arts - “Less is more”. But we’ve had so much of that during the pandemic that we now need more kisses, more hugs, more human contact,” Willy Prager says.


The festival will take place from 88 May until 6 June, under the motto “Getting closer” and will be 100% live. Even last year when we had to push back the programme from the spring to the autumn we were live, Willy Prager told Radio Bulgaria:

“Ever since the start of the festival 14 years ago we have wanted to show the public that modern dance and performance is nothing to be afraid of, that it is not risky or incomprehensible, that modern art is not uncommincative, quite the opposite,” he adds. This year the programme is entirely international which poses many challenges in terms of the organization of the forum:

“We expect artists to come from Germany, France, Finland, Romania, there will even be a show from USA. We believe that “live” is the way to communicate with performing arts. That is why the message we want to convey with our motto – “Getting loser” – is that it is important to keep our distance but that ways must be found to get closer to live art.”


This year for the first time the festival is producing a show – on opening day. Choreographer Paula Rosolen, Germany will be arriving for the premiere. She is going to work with 20 Bulgarian performers of different ages and varying experience on creating a tribute to Merce Cunningham. 2019 was the centennial birth anniversary of the dance legend.


The festival programme features 15 events, among them shows, meetings with artists, discussions and a premiere of the third issue of the only annual dance magazine in Bulgaria. It will present the ways in which politics penetrate the arts, and how the body reacts to the various kinds of political action and protests, Willy Prager explains. The upcoming dance festival in Sofia is not competitive, and the events are very much suited to an international audience, as they are non-verbal, and if there is any text at all it is in English, Prager said.


Photos: antistaticfestival.org and private library

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