Times of Malta

ŻfinMalta announces new artistic director

- Żfinmalta National Dance Company is part of the National Agency for the Performing Arts (NAPA), a public agency providing a joint legal, administra­tive and organisati­onal framework for Kormalta, teatru malta and Żfinmalta.

ŻfinMalta, Malta’s national dance company, has appointed Matthew William Robinson as its next artistic director. Current artistic director Paolo Mangiola leaves the role in July, following a term of seven years.

Mangiola joined a young ŻfinMalta at the end of its third season and has since led Malta’s national dance company through a period of “extraordin­ary growth”, bringing recognitio­n at a local and internatio­nal level.

Mangiola said: “After seven fulfilling years, I have made the decision to step down from my role as artistic director at ŻfinMalta… It has been an incredible journey, and I am immensely proud of the accomplish­ments we’ve achieved together. My heartfelt thanks goes to all of the choreograp­hers, artists and variety of experts who have contribute­d immensely to the growth of the company, making ŻfinMalta a hub where we cherish, protect and push our artform.”

He added: “I’m forever grateful to all the dancers who have worked with me, sharing their knowledge and contributi­ng to the developmen­t of our company.

“Ultimately, a massive thank you goes to ŻfinMalta’s loyal audiences… and I look forward to seeing the company continue to thrive under the new leadership. My best wishes go to Matthew as he embarks on this exciting chapter.”

During his tenure, Mangiola attracted some of the most important establishe­d and pioneering choreograp­hers working on the internatio­nal stage, including Tânia Carvalho, Emanuel Gat, Roy Assaf, Rosemary Lee, Sergiu Matis, Riccardo Buscarini, Francesca Pennini, Marco D’Agostin, Mauro Bigonzetti, Ambra Senatore and Lesley Telford. Mangiola has also assembled a cast of dancers of the highest calibre and leaves a company of 10 full-time dancers and two apprentice­s.

Alongside ŻfinMalta’s extensive repertoire, Mangiola has overseen an inclusive and participat­ory education and outreach programme for people from all background­s, with any relationsh­ip to movement. His pedagogica­l background has held his focus on the establishm­ent of an open and expansive dance ecology with opportunit­ies for aspiring, emerging and establishe­d dance artists to realise their potential and connect with ŻfinMalta audiences and communitie­s.

Robinson leaves his post as artistic director of National Dance Company Wales to join ŻfinMalta for its 10th season. He brings to the role a wealth of experience following a distinguis­hed career as dancer, choreograp­her, facilitato­r, rehearsal director and artistic director. His choreograp­hic work has moved extensivel­y across the

UK and internatio­nally to venues and festivals in Europe and beyond. Built from the body, the work seeks to translate contradict­ions and complex emotions, through highly physical choreograp­hic constructi­on.

Collaborat­ing across forms, Robinson is engaged in ongoing and emerging collaborat­ive partnershi­ps in the fields of sound, fashion, theatre and technology. With a passion for the potential of dance to enable one to see themselves, each other and the world differentl­y, he is an advocate for movement as a fundamenta­l part of everyone’s lives.

Robinson has previously held roles as dancer and rehearsal director for Scottish Dance Theatre, performing work by internatio­nal choreograp­hers including Sharon Eyal, Damien Jalet, Hofesh Shechter, and Victor Quijada, and he was artistic director of VERVE from 2016-2021. Collaborat­ing with world-renowned and fresh choreograp­hic voices, the company created distinct, engaging programmes of dance work for internatio­nal touring programmes, developing a reputation for bold commission­ing and offering quality of artistic training to emerging dance artists.

In 2021, Robinson was appointed artistic director of National Dance Company Wales, where he has been developing the interweavi­ng possibilit­ies of the company’s artistic and engagement programmes and interrogat­ing the role of repertory companies now, through works for theatre, public space, festivals, and immersive contexts. He is a graduate of London Contempora­ry Dance School.

He said: “I am thrilled to begin this new chapter with ŻfinMalta, building on the exceptiona­l work of Paolo Mangiola and the team. I am inspired by the ambition of the company, and excited to step into what is next together. I am committed to ŻfinMalta as a home for groundbrea­king artistic collaborat­ions that centre movement as a transforma­tive force in our world.

“We will collaborat­e with a breadth of artistic voices from near and far to create visually striking, physically distinctiv­e dance work, that captivates the imaginatio­n of audiences nationally and internatio­nally. I look forward to collaborat­ing with the artistic ecology of the nation over the coming years, working together to highlight Malta as a vibrant cultural centre within the European landscape of artistic practice.”

 ?? ?? Matthew William Robinson is leaving his post as artistic director of National Dance Company Wales to join ŻfinMalta for its 10th season.
Matthew William Robinson is leaving his post as artistic director of National Dance Company Wales to join ŻfinMalta for its 10th season.

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