180° Circle

Issue 1 I May 2022

Welcome to 180° Circle!

Within our brand new magazine we will share with you the stories of the (former and present) participants of 180° as well as hand-picked exciting news about the festival. In this pilot issue we look back to the very first edition of the festival that took place from 7th to 9th August 2014. Back in the day, we brought to the city of Sofia three events, including chamber music, contemporary dance, theater and digital arts. 

Eight years later we sat with Sara Bizzoca, one of the first participants of the festival, and the co-founder and former artistic director of 180° Elitsa Bogdanova, and asked them a few questions.

Happy reading!

Meet

Sara Bizzoca

Introduce yourself and your artistic path so far?

My artistic career started as a dancer after training in Germany, but in recent years I have also dealt with choreography, organization / management and teaching. I discovered an interest in taking care of other aspects beyond being on stage. At the moment, I am also studying pedagogy at the National Academy of Dance in Rome.

What provoked you to take part in the first edition of the festival in 2014?

What inspired me to embark on this adventure is the trust in Alexandar Hadjiev as an artist, his willingness to experiment and create something unique where all the participants discussed and opened up to new collaborations.

Did you manage to get out of your comfort zone?Tell us a specific situation?

The challenge in the first edition was the fact that no one knew what the result really would have been. Secondly, how the public would have welcomed our work.

Photo credit: Sara Bizzoca
Photo credit: Sara Bizzoca

Share with us a situation from 180 Degrees that you will never forget?

What I will never forget is the experience of а workshop and it’s final presentation, involving a community of Romani-Bulgarian children. From an artistic point of view, we had to capture their interest, and from a human point of view, it was a reality unknown to me till that moment. This experience was a reminder of the channel of art as a pure form of communication.

Describe 180° in 180 characters?(if it’s possible)

I think 180º is really what is written in the description of the festival: an innovative laboratory where artists, without worrying about the “final product”, focus on the process. This makes 180º a unique container of its kind. We artists are always busy making sure that what we do works, receiving feedback, but 180° is an opportunity to start from scratch and go back to asking the right questions.

What is art for?

Art is many things: to express, communicate, play, a channel for the author’s ego, to be busy with the creative material, in my case, movement. It saves your life, otherwise we will go crazy.

Tell us more about your next project/what’s coming up/what are you working on now?

At the moment I’m working on several projects: a video-film production with a colleague of mine which will be ready in June. A new choreographic work – a trio, still work in progress that will be presented first within the Accademia University of Rome and then within the Festival “Movimento Urbano” Barletta. A new production inside the Civitavecchia prison with the Koreoproject Company directed by Giorgia Maddamma.

Where and when can we see you?

The specific dates are still to be announced, but the trio could be seen in June and then in September 2022 in Barletta in the festival organized by me “Movimento Urbano”.

The Video-film production will be presented at the Premio Roma in July 2022 and the new production in the Civitavecchia prison will be presented in October 2022.

Sara at the 1st Edition of 180° in 2014. Photo: Simon Kleinknecht

About Sara: Sara dancer, choreographer and teacher graduated from Folkwang University of Arts in Essen, Germany in 2009. Since 2010 Sara has been a member of “Koreoproject”, a dance company born in 2005 in Lecce, Italy, under the artistic direction of Giorgia Maddamma. It promotes new productions of contemporary dance, and organizes dance educational programs in Italy such as Summer Campus Uni-Tanz Lecce in collaboration with Folkwang University of Arts Essen and City of Lecce. In recent years, Sara has been focusing on her choreography and in the organization of the “Movimento Urbano”, a festival in collaboration with the Municipality of Barletta. She is currently studying at the MA in contemporary dance pedagogy at the National Dance Academy of Rome.

Meet

Elitsa Bogdanova

Introduce yourself and your artistic path so far?

My journey as a viola player started at the National Music School “L. Pipkov” where I started studying at the age of fourteen. I was offered to play the bassoon, but I wasn’t too keen on that idea and so I picked the viola, without actually knowing what it was. I continued my viola studies in London (2007-2013) and since then I have been living and working there.

You are one of the creators of 180°, what inspired you to embark on this adventure?

Alexandar Hadjiev and I have been good friends since our music school days. He then went to study in Germany and I moved to England. One of the main reasons we created 180° was to see more of each other and also because we enjoyed exchanging musical and artistic ideas. Perhaps the main characteristic of our two instruments, viola and bassoon, is the fact that we are very sociable types and our musical careers offer a large variety of opportunities to work on projects in various formations, with a number of different musicians (and other artists). We felt inspired to use our joint musical experiences and contacts, in order to create something new and different in Bulgaria. .

Elitsa at the 1st Edition of 180° in 2014. Photo: Simon Kleinknecht
Photo credit: Elitsa Bogdanova

What challenges did you face in the first edition of the festival?

For me the first year of the festival was extremely fun, mostly because there were no limits to our imagination and no fixed expectations. One of the things we found trickiest was the fact that we were running a festival in Bulgaria from Germany and England :). This was mostly a challenge when it came to logistics, but the rest was easily done over the internet.

Share with us a 180° situation you’ll never forget?

I will never forget the event named “Checkmate”, in the second year of the festival, where we got to enjoy the stark contrast between the gentle performance of a Dall’Abaco etude, played by cellist George Ross’, right before Stefan Hadjiev’s explosive take on a George Crumb piece for cello and electronics!

Describe 180° in 180 characters?(if it’s possible)

180° is an open platform without any limits, for people who enjoy art, who love having fun whenever and wherever they can, and who are not afraid to experiment with new people, sounds, movements, lights and pictures.

Tell us more about your next project/what’s coming up/what are you working on now?

Currently I spend most of my time working with my string quartet. During the pandemic we started a new online concert series called Barnstorming! At the moment we are in the process of planning more of those concerts, but this time live, in different barns around the UK. Here is a trailer

Where and when can we see you?

This year we are planning summer concerts in Bulgaria with Consone Quartet and the incredible Bulgarian soprano Ina Kancheva.

Elitsa at the 1st Edition of 180° in 2014. Photo: Simon Kleinknecht

About Elitsa: Elitsa Bogdanova completed her music studies at the National Music School in Sofia and later at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, where she developed a keen interest for historical performance. Elitsa performs regularly with chamber music groups and orchestras, as well as period instrument ensembles. She is a member of the award-winning Consone Quartet, who are currently BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artists. Aside from her role as principal viola of La Serenissima, Elitsa has led the viola sections of Academy of Ancient Music, La Nuova Musica, Florilegium, United Strings of Europe, 12 Ensemble, the London Contemporary Orchestra and others. She has also worked with the Aurora Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, London Handel Orchestra, London Sinfonietta and many others. As a session musician, Elitsa has recorded for various TV programmes, pop artists, advertisements and films, including ‘Suspiria’ by Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke, ‘Midsommer’ by Bobby Krlic and Armando Iannucci’s David Copperfield.

Moments from 180° 2014:

Photos: Simon Kleinknecht

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