Opening address by the Ksenija Hribar Award Committe 2019

The artists who lived through the crisis after 2008, which decimated the Slovenian cultural scene – and especially contemporary dance – deserve an award without reservations simply for their persistence. Surviving and working under such conditions is a political gesture by itself. The contemporary dance scene is burdened by its peripherality and, one could say, a certain erasure due to the fact that it is simply not in tune with the hectic present. But, on the other hand, its persistence is a sign that cannot be overlooked. Its vigilance and reflection on how it actually feels to be together in our collective body is what the society needs today, perhaps more than ever. And that is why it always bounces back from the ground. In its existence, it makes up its own survival strategies which can set in motion the production imagination.

This year’s Committee has thoroughly examined the last two‑year period, which shows persistent and intensely internalized development of various authorial poetics in this territory. despite limited resources.

The Committee decided on this year’s Award for Lifetime Achievement which was won deservedly by Sinja Ožbolt. She represents a bridge between the present and the vital part of our past, that is, the period when Ksenija and her colleagues founded Dance Theatre Ljubljana, giving this field of art the centrality and autonomy.

We also selected 9 award winners from different fields to make a statement that the contemporary dance scene is a community which brings together its visible part, but also its less visible parts, its underground, which ensures the running of the theatre machine. Everything from what is being developed on stage to reflexive sensory systems.

This year’s award winners are some of the many resilient protagonists who point to the specific nature of the Slovenian territory. They are marked by ingenuity and creativity which enable the majority of them to survive at all. This allows for excellent artistic practices, benefiting from the transitions of survival between different roles and the ability to spread the creativity to other areas, and vice versa, to introduce back different areas into art. Regardless of their age, the award winners have long been present on our scene, and all of them combine a wide range of knowledge and skills into their work. And somehow, it seems that this represents something running in the opposite direction from the tendencies of today’s society, whose specialization cripples and narrow down our view of the world.