Tuesday, 20 July 2021

Spectacular Start to 10th Anniversary Šibenik Dance Festival

July 20, 2021 – The streets of Šibenik are overflowing with life this July. On town squares, streets and in parks, different events appeal to every generation and demographic. On Monday 19th, the opening of the Supertoon animation festival sees families gather to watch feature-length cartoons in the Old Town streets. Above their heads, in St. Michael's Fortress, a much more startling evening's entertainment is taking place. It's the opening of the 10th anniversary Šibenik Dance Festival.

'Burning Water' by renowned Greek choreographer Andonis Foniadakis is not always easy to watch. Commissioned specifically for the ballet company of Croatian National Theatre Ivan pl. Zajc in Rijeka, the dancers have had a year to perfect it since its Capital of Culture premiere.

REreIMG_9266.jpgA spectacular backdrop of Šibenik, the Adriatic and sunset greet attendees at the opening of the 10th annual Šibenik Dance Festival © Marc Rowlands.

The audience takes their seats at sunset. But, as the performance begins, everything is enveloped in black. Minimally lit, androgynous dancers arrive on stage in a most unorthodox manner, their bodies twisted and contorted beyond regular, recognisable movement.


“That is the signature style of Andonis Foniadakis,” says Šibenik Dance Festival director Zorana Mihelčić. “Everybody knows it because he's so well established; very nervous, interrupted movements. I personally love his work and right now he's one of the most frequently requested choreographers in the world.”


Having helmed Šibenik Dance Festival from its start to this, its 10th anniversary, Mihelčić is more than satisfied with its progress. And, so she should be. In the seats on opening night, German, English, Slovenian, Croatian, and at least one Scandinavian language are heard. On the stage, an international touring ballet troupe and world-renowned choreographer. This is a far cry from the festival's beginnings.

Evolution of Šibenik Dance Festival

“We started Šibenik Dance Festival 10 years ago as a small review of dance studios and awarded dancers. But not, professionals,” says Mihelčić. “At that time, it was held in the square just in front of Šibenik cathedral. It grew steadily each year until 2014 when the first of our fortresses was renovated. Within a month of St. Michael's opening, we secured permission to hold our opening night there. That really put us on the map and we've been there ever since.”

“We now have two programmes running simultaneously; we kept the amateur and student dancers programme, which was our foundation. But, now we have professional, international dance companies as a major part of each event.”

relabby1.jpgIlijana's dancers, part of the student / fringe programme of Šibenik Dance Festival © Mladen Božičković

Continuing throughout this week, Šibenik Dance Festival manages to entertain everyone currently in Šibenik. Committed fans of contemporary dance and art will visit more spectacular venues like Barone Fortress. On Wednesday 21st, a visit there by Zoltán Fodor's Inversedance – an incredibly well-respected dance company from Budapest. They arrive with a new performance 'You and the World'. Its premiere was just one month ago. The next night, Thursday 22 July, jazz and hip hop dancing, again at Fortress Barone and the Association of Ballet Artists of Serbia.

In Arsen Art House, conceptual and contemporary pieces by Rita Gobi from Hungary and regional star Isidora Stanišić on Tuesday 20th. The festival concludes in the same venue on Friday 23 with a conceptual piece called 'Body Shots'. It's a co-production between Germany's CocoonDance Company and Zagreb Dance Center.

Research-BODY-SHOTS-CocoonDance-Zagreb-Dance-Center-ZPC-photo-by-Neven-Petrović_1st_10.jpg Body Shots by CocoonDance / Zagreb Dance Center © Neven Petrović.

Although, for many visitors, the highlight of Šibenik Dance Festival is still the public performance on the city streets by youngsters and amateur dancers.

“This year, it's a really exciting mixture, accessible to everyone,” says Zorana Mihelčić, clearly excited about the performances to come. “20 minutes of great tap dancers from Dubrovnik, then 10 to 15 minutes of very young students from the ballet school in Split. After that, contemporary dancers from Požega, also salsa, hip hop fusion, classical and contemporary ballet. It will be great.”

re20210720_031136.jpgAs shown above, final applause for the 2021 festival opening night. Festival director Zorana Mihelčić can be seen in the bottom right-hand corner. 

The free public performance of youngsters and amateurs at the 10th anniversary of Šibenik Dance Festival takes place at Poljana square, just in front of Šibenik National Theatre on Wednesday 21 and Thursday 22 July between the hours of 19.00 and 22.00.

All photos © Šibenik Dance Festival unless otherwise accredited.

Friday, 20 March 2020

Morning Poetry, Fairy Tales, Ballet: HNK Ivan pl. Zajc Rijeka Launches Online Program

March 20, 2020 - HNK Ivan pl. Zajc Rijeka reacts to the coronavirus crisis with an online program. 

The Croatian National Theatre in Rijeka won’t let the corona crisis take them down, and instead has reacted with an online program including morning poetry, ballet, and fairy tales at bedtime.

HNK Ivan pl. Zajc Rijeka writes in full:

"In the circumstances of the crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the Rijeka Theater decided to act responsibly and in solidarity with its audience, citizens of Rijeka and the wider community, especially those most vulnerable, either because of their age or because they are on the front line of defense against the COVID-19.

As is well known, the theater is unimaginable without the public gathering of a large number of people, and in essence, theater is social contact and collective experience of a theater act, which is why we had to cancel our programs among the first.

Also, due to the specificity of the theater work, some of our ensembles cannot continue their regular and usual work, because their action and creation involve gathering more people(orchestra, choir) and physical contact (ballet ensemble).

Nevertheless, we decided, until all the work in public institutions was banned, to reorganize and harness all our creativity so that we could continue to work and act responsibly and in solidarity. Therefore, we announce that we are creating a program called “Zajc with You" that will be available through Youtube and social networks.

From Friday, March 20, as long as we are allowed to work, "Zajc" begins with its online program of the following content and schedule:

1. Morning selfie poetry

At 8 am every morning, one actor in Croatian or Italian drama will read poetry for you. One song every morning!

2. Aria at noon

Every day at noon, the soloist of our opera ensemble will perform one aria with personal dedication.

3. “Zajc with you" - fairy tales for bedtime

Actors of Croatian and Italian Drama will tell your children a bedtime story at 8 pm every night.

4. Ballet insomnia

In the evening, at 10 pm, the program “Zajc with you" will be concluded with a short dance video: ballet practice, solo, choreographic fragments ...

Of course, during our online presence, all non-at-risk Theater employees work from home or in the Theater building, respecting all security measures, and are preparing a program to start as soon as we are allowed to open our doors to our audience. All employees are ready to extend the duration of this and start the new theater season early, all in order to realize all of the planned program this year. "Zajc" is a theater that has always been and will be here because of the citizens of Rijeka. Because a city without Theater is like a city without identity. A city without a theater is not really a city.

All information about canceled performances that were on sale can be obtained at the box office (tel. 051 / 337-114, e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.). For most programs, we already offer replacement dates in May, June and July, and if the offered replacement terms do not match or do not exist, you can earn a refund for tickets purchased by April 14 at the box office.

Box office hours: Monday to Friday 9 am - 3 pm, and Saturday 9 am - 1 pm."

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