Artists in Residence

Shahar Binyamini

Artist in Residence 2018/2019

Israeli performer and choreographer Shahar Biniamini was born in 1988 in Lod, Israel. He danced in the Batsheva Dance Company from 2007-2013. Today, as an independent choreographer and artist, he creates choreographic works for theaters and companies such as Frontier Danceland Company in Singapore, Norrdans Dance Company in Sweden, Batsheva Dance Company in Israel, and Saarbrucken Theater and Gauthier Dance Company in Germany.  
As a teacher of Gaga, Shahar continues to serve as artistic director of the Gaga Intensive courses in Tel Aviv and has previously directed the intensives in Italy and Los Angeles as well as workshops in Japan.
In 2013, together with Professor Atan Gross from the Weizmann institute in Israel, Shahar established a research group of dancers and scientists who are based in the Weizmann institute and explore the connection between science and movement.


The Festspielhaus is a venue which creates and presents international productions. Its special status as neither a festival nor a repertory house allows it to offer artists time and space, a home for their artistic activities and to create a place for encounters between artists, the city, the audience and local communities.  

Brigitte Fürle

Artist in Residence 2017/2018

Silke Grabinger

Silke Grabinger alias B-Girl Silk has won numerous international awards for her work in the field of contemporary performance. In her original works the founder of SILK Cie. and SILK Fluegge combines urban contemporary dance with both the performative and visual arts.
The artist, dancer and choreographer Silke Grabinger, who was born in Upper Austria, is Artist in Residence for the 2017/2018 season. She will spend several weeks at the Festspielhaus, working together with her company SILK Fluegge and young people from St. Pölten on her new piece ‘Disastrous’ which will be performed on 24th May 2018.

A B-Girl from Cirque du Soleil with two companies of her own
Silke Grabinger’s works and concepts combine urban contemporary dance with both the performative and visual arts. She focuses principally on social phenomena, artistic paradigms and the function/position of the audience.  Her multimedia artworks have been seen in exhibitions in the USA, Canada and Europe and have won her numerous awards.  Silke Grabinger began her career in 1997 ‘b-girl SILK’, taking part in a series of international competitions. From 2006 to 2008 she was a dance soloist and aerialist in the Cirque du Soleil / The Beatles collaboration ‘LOVE’, working together with Dave St-Pierre, Margie Gillis, Daniel Ezralow and others.  In 2008 she created her first solo dance piece ‘[SLIK]’, that was awarded the Tanztage 2009 Prize by Linz09 and the Posthof and toured Europe and Africa with great success.  In 2009 Silke Grabinger completed her studies with raum&designstrategien, won the BMUKK’s Austrian Starting Scholarship for the Performing Arts and was also awarded the Austrian State Prize for Design for a group exhibition.
She performed the leading role in the 2010 Linzer Klangwolke in a production by Lawine Torren that was seen by 70,000 people. Two years later she created her second dance company in parallel to SILK Cie., SILK Fluegge – thus laying the foundation stone for dance and performance productions for young audiences. SILK Fluegge has been awarded the ‘STELLA 15’ Award for the most outstanding production for young people, the ‘State of Upper Austria’s 2013 Prize Recognizing Stage Arts’ and the ‘Prize Recognizing the Intercultural Integration of Children and Young People’ in 2015 and 2016.

Disastrous - Young people paint a picture of the future
Society at a standstill, protests, chaos, a change of direction – in her newly-created work ‘Disastrous’ Silke Grabinger takes a natural disaster as the starting point for an imaginary journey: performers from SILK Fluegge join forces with young people from the St. Pölten area to create images of a potential future – a future that lies in their own hands, just waiting to be freed from the pressures of society and filled with life.

Artist in Residence 2016/2017

Israel Galván, son of the flamenco dancers José Galván and Eugenia de los Reyes, was regarded as a flamenco wonder while still a teenager and is now the icon of contemporary flamenco.  He deconstructs and extends this typically Spanish style of dance with elements of his own, puts them back together and develops them into his own unique style – majestic, supple and succinct. For this bailaor, flamenco is much more than tradition. It is a way of life, a form of existence that Galván celebrates in his new work and invites familiar companions and guests to a brilliant natural fiesta of glances, words, songs, greetings, dances and farces. In his new creation, which will receive its world premiere at the Festspielhaus as part of a working residency nine dancing voices and singing bodies meet and abandon themselves in high notes to the immeasurable energies of their coming together.

Israel Galván is continually searching for true freedom and fearlessly trying new things. The artist has long since broken with the typical flamenco role of the solo dancer and he no longer choreographs only for himself, but also for other flamenco stars, whom he has invited to join him in this new creation. A recent guest at the Festspielhaus with Akram Khan and the enthusiastically received ‘TOROBAKA’, in his so-called “flamenco puro” choreography, Israel Galván brings together new techniques and sequences of movement from dance theatre and contemporary dance. For this bailaor, flamenco is much more than tradition. It is a way of life, a form of existence that Galván celebrates in his new work and invites familiar companions and guests to a brilliant natural fiesta of glances, words, songs, greetings, dances and farces.

Artists in Residence 2015/2016

Richard Siegal As the founder and artistic director of The Bakery Richard Siegal specializes in interdisciplinary work, increasingly collaborating with architects such as François Roche, designers such as Konstantin Grcic and composers like Lorenzo Bianchi Hoesch. The former Forsythe dancer has already worked as a choreographer for numerous venues and festivals including the Festival d’Automne, Centre Pompidou, Ballett Frankfurt, Bavarian State Ballet, Danspace/NYC and the Théâtre National de Chaillot. With The Bakery Richard Siegal created a platform in 2005 that enabled artists from different disciplines to enter into a process of creative exchange and realize their ideas together. The dancer and choreographer  (‘Black Swan’, ‘UNITXT’, ‘If/Then For Strings’) has already received several awards for his innovative projects including the New York Dance and Performance Bessie Award, the German Theatre Prize DER FAUST and the Munich Dance Prize 2013. At Festspielhaus St. Pölten Richard Siegal presented what was then his latest piece, ‘Model’, a work commissioned for the opening weekend of the Ruhrtriennale 2015 with dancers from the Bavarian State Ballet.

Yuanyuan Wang Her spectacular choreography for the opening ceremony of the 2008 Olympic Games Opening in Peking first attracted international attention to Yuanyuan Wang, the Artistic Director and co-founder of the Beijing Dance Theater. Having trained at the Beijing Dance Academy, she was appointed Resident Choreographer of the Chinese National Ballet in 1998 and was invited to be a guest choreographer at New York City Ballet five years later. Yuanyuan Wang has created numerous works for Chinese directors and was the first choreographer in Chinese history to win the highest award in international competitions on four separate occasions. Her works are now presented around the globe in countries including the USA, Russia, Japan, Germany and Australia.

In her choreography for the Beijing Dance Theater Yuanyuan Wang unites classical ballet with contemporary dance, complementing these with additional elements from Chinese culture. The choreographer made her first guest appearance at Festspielhaus St. Pölten during the 2015/2016 season, presenting a three-part evening after her working residency which included a world premiere with Austrian musicians.

Hussein Khaddour Born in Homs, Syria, Hussein Khaddour now lives and works in Damascus. He began breakdancing in the streets of his native city when he was 12 years old. In 2008 he moved to Damascus, joined the Sima Dance Company and was trained in ballet and modern dance. In 2012 he became a member of the Higher Institute of Dramatic Arts Dance Department. His 2013 dance film ‘Point Zero’ aroused international attention. Based on Patrick Süskind’s novel ‘The Pigeon’ his most recent work received its world premiere in March 2015 at Damascus Opera House. In 2014 he founded the Vitamin Dance Project together with Nour Barakeh, a workshop programme for children in the area around Damascus which is now, with support from the Festspielhaus, being continued as ‘Vitamin Dance for Syria’. The young Syrian most recently worked in the Festspielhaus’s rehearsal rooms with Gloria Benedikt on their joint piece ‘InDignity’, that was recently presented at the European Forum in Alpbach.

Artists in Residence 2014/2015

Josette Baïz

Willi Dorner

Hofesh Shechter

Artists in Residence 2013/2014

The choreographer and composer Hofesh Shechter is internationally regarded as one of the most exciting artists with his inimitable spatial stage language of high energy physicality and explosive rock music. Trained in Jewish folk dancing, contemporary dance, percussion and piano and formerly a dancer with the Batsheva Dance Company – such is the artistic career of this Jerusalem-born multi-talent now resident in Britain. He presented his first piece in 2003 with ‘Fragments’, followed by ‘Cult’ (2004) ‘Uprising’ (2006) and ‘In your rooms’ (2007). Since his 2010 production ‘Political Mother’ (also shown at the Festspielhaus) which was presented in a spectacular rock concert version with 24 live musicians in Montpellier, London and in 2012 at spielzeit’europa | Berliner Festspiele, the choreographer, musician and performer was able to conquer both the international dance world and a young rock concert audience.  As Artist in Residence Hofesh Shechter presented an exlusive preview of his latest work ‘Sun’ after extensive rehearsals at the Festspielhaus with the company he founded in 2008 in September, which will receive its premiere in German-speaking territories in St. Pölten in December.

Lemi Ponifasio became known in 2006 at the New Crowned Hope festival curated by Peter Sellars for Vienna. With his MAU company he is now a regular guest at festivals around the world and appears at the Festspielhaus for the first time as Artist in Residence.  Ponifasio founded MAU in Auckland in 1995 in Auckland as a company of dancers from New Zealand, Samoa and the Kiribati Islands.  “MAU” is a Samoan word meaning “revelation of truth” or “change through revolution”. Lemi Ponifasio investigates urgent social themes with his unique theatrical language in which the audience is intrigued by new experiences of space, time and movement. He recently presented ‘Birds With Skymirrors’, a reflection on the destruction brought about by climate change, ‘Tempest: Without A Body’, about the increasing illegal use of state powers following 9/11, ‘Le Savali: Berlin’ about present day Berlina and a young generation seeking to belong. In 2012 he made his debut as an opera director with Carl Orff’s ‘Prometheus’ for the Ruhrtriennale.



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