Artistic Director and Chief Executive, Sadler’s Wells - UK
Alistair Spalding has been Artistic Director and Chief Executive of Sadler’s Wells since 2004. Since 2005, Spalding has driven the commissioning, producing and co-producing of over 170 shows, many of them involving Sadler’s Wells’ 16 Associate Artists, three Resident Companies and four Associate Companies – the most exciting talents working in dance today. Spalding holds honorary doctorates from Middlesex University (2012), the University of Hertfordshire (2014) and the University of Roehampton (2015).In January 2019, the International Society for the Performing Arts (ISPA) honoured him with the International Citation of Merit award, “for unique lifetime achievement that has enriched the international performing arts”.
Head of External Relations – Akram Khan Company
Spending her early years in Algeria, Céline studied in France and holds a Master’s degree in French Literature and French as a Foreign Language, and a Postgraduate Diploma in Mediation between Education and Culture. In 2011 Céline decided to take a one-year sabbatical to settle in London and focus on international production and arts management. During this year, she worked with Crying Out Loud, a pioneering producer in visual theatre, and with the international London-based festival, Dance Umbrella. She joined Akram Khan Company in April 2012 where she is now Head of External Relations. She is particularly interested in developing new connections and creative collaborations in various forms between artists from the Middle East region and the wider world.
Cyrene Gannoun Director of Al-Hamra Theatre - Tunisia
Cyrine Gannoun is a graduate of the Sorbonne Nouvelle Paris III in the Performing Arts Program. She is a cultural activist both in Tunisia and internationally. She works with international institutions such as Cultural Resource (Almawred Al Thaqafy) on changing cultural policies in Tunis and the Arab world, supporting larger government and corporate involvement in the arts. Cyrine held several professional positions in recent years including: Advisor to the Minister of Culture in Tunisia (2014-2015), General Coordinator of the International Festival of Carthage (2012-present), Associate Director of Journee Théâtrales de Carthage –JTC (2012-present). Currently she is the president and founder of Eclosiond’Artistes, an incubator association that supports young Arab and African talents. She also serves as independent consultant and project manager for the Ministry of Culture. Cyrine won the Women Entrepreneur of the Year 2018 Culture Sector Trophy, a brand event organized by the Magazine " le Manager ".
Director - National Academy of Dance - Italy
Enrica Palmieri is a choreographer and dancer from Rome (Italy). In 1979 she moved to New York City to study dance and composition at The Alwin Nikolais and Murray Louis Dance Theatre Lab. Since 1986, she is involved in a research work on the body as a place of matter and density in relation to space, on the different textures of motion and space, on the time as a motorbase of energy. Graduated in Cultural Anthropology at the University of Rome La Sapienza, she started a reasearch on the music and dance tradition of the Cape Verd Islands, she also travels through Syria, Jordania and Iraq, Jerusalem and the Occupied Territories. She writes articles about the representation of the existence in the Occupied Territories for the weekly magazine La Nuova Rinascita. Since 1990, she has been teaching at the Accademia Nazionale di Danza in Rome where she has also been working in projects of research on anthropology of dance. She was member of the Academic Council from 2005 till 2012. From 2007 till 2012 she represented the National Dance Academy of Rome in the National Council for High Formation in Arts, Music and Dance (CNAM) at the Ministry of University and Research (MIUR). Since 2017 she is the Director of the Accademia Nazionale di Danza.
Khadija El Bennaoui
Director - Art Moves Africa: the Mobility Fund of Artists & Cultural Operators within Africa - Belgium
Khadija El Bennaoui is a cultural practitioner and consultant with more than fifteen years of experience in the arts and culture sectors of the Global South. As a consultant, Khadija has contributed her expertise in cultural cooperation, grant-making, cultural policy research and program design to missions led by EUNIC, the Ford Foundation, the European Cultural Foundation, Mimeta, Med Culture, UNESCO and more. She played a key role in the development of the Young Arab Theatre Fund (now Mophradat), convening and managing four major symposia for members of independent arts and culture spaces in the Arab world. She holds a B.A. in Arabic Studies from Ibnou Zohr University, a B.A. in Cultural Management from Hassan II University and a European Diploma in Cultural Management from the Marcel Hicter Foundation.
Choreographer - Morocco
Khalid Bengharib is a performer, choreographer and pedagogue from the medina of Casablanca in Morocco. He worked with emerging artists such as Colette Milner, Regine Chopinot, Christine Gerard and Didier Deschamps. He is involved in very atypical projects, for example one about war in Bosnia with artist Fabienne Abramovich.
He gave workshops and master classes in different cities such as Paris, Lyon, Turin, Nagoya, Cairo, London, Vienna, Casablanca, Rabat, Brussels, Antwerp and many more.
Parallel to this he was part of the realization of three short experimental films -3Suites#06 that were shown in different festivals, e.g. L’Ecran de St Denis, Les courts de Clermont Ferrand and Film Festivals in Tanger, Azrou, Brussels and Zurich
Movement Research - USA
As the Director of International Initiatives at Movement Research, Marýa directs the GPS/Global Practice Sharing program, managing program activities as well as the regional network of partners throughout the Eastern/Central European region. From 2007-2014, she worked in the Programming Department at New York Live Arts (formerly Dance Theater Workshop/DTW) as the International Project Director of the Suitcase Fund program, where she created a cultural exchange program between contemporary dance artists in Africa and the U.S. under her leadership. The three-year pilot program supported cultural exchange projects in nine countries in Africa and the Middle East (Senegal, Burkina Faso, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Zimbabwe, and Madagascar as well as Lebanon and Palestine).
Marýa also works as an Independent Performing Arts Producer, Manager, and Curator developing and supporting projects primarily with Black artists and other artists of color. Marýa is also a dancer/performer based in NYC since 1997 and received a NY Dance & Performance “Bessie” Award for Outstanding Performance with Skeleton Architecture in 2017.
Artistic Director - AR2D "Association Les Rencontres de la Danse
After studying dance in France, she has been pursuing since 1997 a creative work strongly imbued by the environment and the Moroccan context where she lives. She produced several choreographic pieces like "Kelma ... a cry to the mother", or “Folkah!” in 2018. Her desire to link with other artistic forms led her to collaborate on many participatory projects, such as “L’Aaroussa” in the framework of Marseille Provence 2013, "Carambolage", a project mixing dance and literature or “The roof of the world” with the visual artist Hassan Darsi.
In addition to her creative work, in 2011 she built a place in Casablanca, Darja. A space dedicated to creation, artist residencies and training.
Artistic Director Dance Base | National Centre for Dance - Scotland
Morag Deyes MBE is Artistic Director of Dance Base, Scotland's National Centre for Dance in Edinburgh, since 1994. After training in Edinburgh in ballet, tap, flamenco, jazz and contemporary, she went on to dance professionally, and taught and choreographed work around the world. Morag was Artistic Director of the Bath Fringe Festival from 1990-1994.
She has directed the hugely successful Dance Base shows Off Kilter, the Holyrood Palace Garden Party Celebrations for Dance Base (patron HRH Prince Charles) and programmed the Urban Dance stages for Edinburgh’s Hogmanay celebrations in 2004-06. She is Scottish representative on UK National Dance Network (NDN). She received an MBE for Services to Dance in Scotland in the HRH Queen Elizabeth’s New Years Honours List 2007 and the prestigious Spirit of the (Edinburgh) Fringe Award 2009. Recent projects at Dance Base are NordDance, a showcase and exchange programme between Scotland and all Scandinavian countries, artistic mentoring in India, with Drishtikon Foundation in New Delhi and various other independent choreographers within Europe/UK and later in 2018 also Taiwan.
Natasja van’t Westende
Artistic Director - Dancing on the Edge Festival – Netherland
Natasja van ’t Westendeis the artistic and managing director of Dancing on the Edge, an Amsterdam based organization that presents and promotes contemporary (performing) arts from (or collaborations with) the Middle East and North Africa. Since 2007, Dancing on the Edge presents a biennial, multi-city, multidisciplinary festival. Natasja is also director of West-End-Art and works as arts manager, programmer/curator, researcher, concept developer, adviser and fundraiser in the field of performing (and visual) arts with a main focus on internationalization, innovation, and cross-disciplinarity.
Choreographer - Tunisia
After a professional career as a ballet dancer in Italy, USA and France, Nawel Skandrani is back to her native country in 1988. In 1992, she was tasked by the Ministry of Culture to create the Tunisian National Ballet, an institution which she was leading until 1996. Since 1997, Nawel has been undertaking a career as choreographer and independent teacher, signing a dozen of creations such as "Searching for the ever centre", “The kids next door”, "Fellow bodies" , "Shooting stars die in silence", "The leaf of the Olive tree", « [email protected] », “100%Water!”, « Recapitulatio » and « Re-Existence ».
Director International Dance Theatres Festival - Poland
Ryszard Kalinowski is a dancer, choreographer, teacher and curator. He holds a MA degree in Pedagogy of the Dance and Theatre Faculty in Lublin. From 1992 until 1993 he studied pantomime and acting in the theatre of Halina Studniarz (Lublin). From 1993 – 2001 he danced in the Contemporary Dance Group of Lublin University of Technology under direction of Hanna Strzemiecka. Since 2001, he is a dancer and choreographer of the Lublin Dance Theatre and since 2006 the director of the company. Furthermore, he co-curated and coordinated the International Dance Theatres Festival in Lublin in 2018, the Dance Congress in Warsaw (2011) and the “Tour d'Europe des Choregraphes” (Leonardo da Vinci Programme 2009-2011), to only mention a few. Ryszard received the Team Award of the Mayor of the City of Lublin for Lublin Dance Theatre for organizing the International Dance Theatres Festival (2016, 2017), as well as an award for the choreography of “Bellissimo” at Das Beste Deutsche Tanzsolo in Leipzig in 2005 and was selected as one of the finalists of Internationaler Wettbewerb für Choreographen in Hanover (2006).
Choreographer – Artistice Director Company Anania & On Marche Festival – Morocco
Taoufiq Izzediou is a choreographer, an instructor and the art director of Cie Anania and On Marche festival. Born in Marrakech, he studied architecture and practiced boxing and theatre before discovering his passion for contemporary dance at the beginning of the 90s. Alongside his professional dancer career, especially in the National choreographic Center of Tours, Taoufiq Izzediou created his first choreography in 2000. After the success of the group play Fina Kenti in 2003, he founded the first contemporary dance company in Morocco, Anania. He got a State degree of contemporary dance in France in 2007. Since then, navigating between France and Morocco, he creates works exploring the tensions between tradition and modernity and liberating the bodies. After Cœur sans corps, Clandestins CSC, Déserts désirs, Aataba, Aaléef, he creates Rev’Illusion in 2013, his tenth work, currently on tour. Taoufiq Izzediou’s choreographies have been hosted in Africa, Middle-East, Europe, Latin America and North America.
Nedjma Hadj Benchelabi
Performing Arts Curator/Producer & Dramaturge – Algeria/Belgium
Born in Algiers and operating from Brussels, Nedjma Hadj Benchelabi is a curator, and dramaturge. She performed as member of the theatre company Dito’Dito Brussels and worked as member of the artistic team of the Brussels City Theatre, KVS. Till 2013, she was programmer at the European Cultural Centre, Les Halles where she contributed to a program on Contemporary Literature and Performing arts of the Arab world. In 2013, she was associate curator of 'Daba Maroc’ the artistic contemporary Moroccan season in Belgium. From 2014 onwards, she is associate curator of “On Marche”, the International Contemporary Dance Festival of Marrakech. She was involved as guest curator in 'Casablanca-Energie noire’, associate curator in the 'Arab Art Focus’ at Downtown Contemporary Arts Festival (D-CAF, Cairo), for the Arab Art Focus at Edinburgh Fringe Festival (2017) and Avignon Off (2018). And was the curator of recent Tashweesh festival in Brussels and Cairo in autumn 2018.
She is actively involved in projects involving young artists: dramaturgy of performances, research and documenting, curatorship and publications. She is regularly contributing for her specific expertise for public debates and discussions, in Europe and the Mena region.
Dance Critic - UK
Nicholas Minns studied architecture at Cambridge before training as a dancer at the Rambert School of Ballet and with Roger Tully in London. He subsequently performed with Les Grands Ballets Canadiens in Montreal for nine seasons, staying in Canada for a further twenty years. Returning to England, he continues his dance studies, teaches ballet, works as a dancer in a variety of projects and writes about dance on his blog at writingaboutdance.com.
Director - Teatro Theatre – Tunisia
Zeyneb Farhat is a Tunisian consultant and organizer of national and international cultural events as well as a theater clerk and cultural journalist. She is a founding member of FanaNet, a euro-Mediterranean networking platform for female artists, the DBM – Dancing in the Mediterranean Basin, member of the Tunisian Democratic Women Association, the Tunisian League of Human Rights and President of the Tunisian Coalition of Cultural Diversity. Furthermore, she founded the ZANOOBYA Association of Art and creativity for sustainable development in October 2014. Since 2017, Zeyneb leads the Free Syndicate of dramatic independent spaces. She holds a university diploma from the Journalism and Information Sciences College in Tunis and is currently registered for a post-graduate dissertation at the IPSI in Tunis.